As one of the most twisted, brilliant shows to come along in a while Baccano! has been pretty successful for FUNimation. Joining the ranks of other more recent titles such as Claymore and Darker than Black, Baccano! is definitely one of the more unique and stylish titles we've seen in quite some time. This 16 episode show by Aniplex made some waves in Japan and it's only fitting that it receives similar critical praise here in the States. It's a complex series that will endear itself to fans of original storylines, fast pacing, interesting characters, and insane action.
After watching four volumes of this show I think it's fair to say that the plot will make your head spin. I've said before how this is a show that you simply cannot comprehend with one sitting, and even after the ending I still feel that way. It's one of the more complex series to come along in quite some time and this is due to the vast amount of characters and multiple timelines which weave all of their stories together. While this does leave you with a headache as you attempt to piece it all together, I must say that it's bloody brilliant. The show maintains such a powerful energy and the manner with which everything is handled will keep you glued to your seat again and again. If you haven't watched this show then you're definitely missing out.
If you're coming to this review for the fourth volume of Baccano! I'm going to presume that you already know the basics of the plot, who the characters are, and generally have some sort of idea about what's going on. If not, then you'll probably want to head back to the review of the first volume to see what the premise of this show is all about. Let's just say you don't usually see anime set in Prohibition-Era America, let alone ones about immortals.
The fourth installment picks up with one episode of the show's timeline being kept intact. As a whole there were 16 episodes to the series, but in all fairness only 13 made it to the airwaves in Japan. The remaining three were included on the DVD release and as such they don't necessarily flow together as well as the rest of the series did. Even so, they're still captivating and every bit as intriguing as the episodes that came before them. Just expect for a little bit of confusion in parts. Then again if you're watching this show you're probably used to that.
The first episode here more of less wraps everything up so I don't really want to go into details as far as what happens. All I'll say is that there's a proposal between two main characters, there's a lot more fighting, more stuff dealing with the immortality recipe, and the show even jumps ahead to the year 2001 in order to show us something fun. It's a fitting episode that brings about a somewhat satisfying conclusion to the story surrounding the Flying Pussyfoot.
The three DVD only episodes fit themselves somewhere within the timeline of the show and help flesh out some of the less explained plotlines. One common thread throughout the episodes is the development of Graham Specter, who didn't really get an awful lot of attention during the main storyline. The episodes go through some of his history as well as what was going on with him during the show. As is the case with the rest of Baccano! his storyline intertwines with everyone else's. There's also a fair amount of after the fact content with a look at how some characters made out and whatnot. There's some other stuff here, but I'll leave that as a little treat for you fans. All you really need to know is that episodes 14, 15, and 16 are basically an epilogue and more or less provide a second ending for the series.
From the hectic beginning to its chaotic end Baccano! was one of the most unique shows I have ever watched. The storyline was captivating and kept you guessing as the tale jumped between three different timelines and weaved a story about immortals, gangsters, thieves, and alchemists together. Throughout all 16 episodes there was definitely a lot going on, but it was quite engaging and simply demanded to be watched multiple times. If you haven't checked this show out yet, then by all means give it a shot. You'll be glad you did and this will most assuredly be one of the most memorable shows you've seen in a while.
Baccano!'s fourth volume is presented on DVD with an anamorphic widescreen transfer. The quality is pretty good, but it's definitely not the best we've seen from FUNimation. There is a bit of noise in the transfer and it's definitely a little too grainy at times. Some interlacing is also an issue that crops up and is noticeable from time to time. Other than these flaws the rest of the show looks good. Character designs are attractive, the animation is decent, and the show benefits from an all around solid production.
The show's audio is presented with Japanese 2.0 stereo and English 5.1 surround. Both tracks perform admirably with regards to the technical quality, though obviously the 5.1 has a slight edge in that department. The music is more engrossing, the sound effects have a bit more presence, and all around the light sense of immersion helps the series. The dub quality for both is good as well, and in all honesty I didn't really have a preference. The English cast does ham it up a little more with some accents and whatnot, but for the most part the actors don't cross too many lines.
Some more clean animations and trailers are available on the fourth installment of Baccano!. Another audio commentary is available as well and it's on par with the ones that were available on the prior installments. The crew brings a great amount of energy to the commentary and there's plenty of entertainment value.
Baccano! was a fascinating and unique show that I won't soon forget. The plot is so complex, yet simple at the same time. The manner with which the events of 1930, 1931, and 1932 come together is chaotic and matches the tone of the show perfectly. Sure it requires multiple viewings to catch every bit of detail, but it's an investment of time that seems well worth it. I'm pleased to report that even the show's conclusion maintained the same level of quality I came to expect.
If you're looking for a show that marches to the beat of a different drummer, this is it. Baccano! stands out from every other series on the market and because of that you can consider it a strong recommendation.