Baccano!, The Complete Series – DVD Review

Review by: Eduardo Zacarias

Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $49.98 US
Running Time: 400 minutes
Genre: Action
Rating: TV MA
Release Date: Available Now

A tale of gangsters, thieves, killers, terrorists and immortals.

Since we found out about this series, Baccano! has become something of a favorite around this office and we did follow the series from the first excellent episode to the very last surprising episode. So it didn’t come as a surprise that this series gets The Complete Series treatment with all 16 episodes packed on three DVDs and if you missed out on it the first time around then this is the set you really have to own.

Baccano! takes placed in 1930s America, New York City to be specific as Prohibition has taken a hold of the country. A man and a little girl are looking into a story that is both rare an unbelievable because this is a story that isn’t told from beginning to end. In fact, this story flashes forward and back in time as we learn the secret behind most of the characters’ unusual predicaments.

We meet a group of gangsters led by the savagely brutal Ladd Russo who boards the Flying Pussyfoot – a train that runs from Chicago to New York City – as well as a mysterious group clad in black that jump aboard as well as they follow a frightened woman and her little daughter. At the same time, in the city of New York, a young kid named Firo Prochainezo swears his loyalty to the biggest crime family in the city called the Gammora. He has entered the crime family in a most dangerous time when families such as the Gandors are at war. Then there’s Dallas who has turned up missing and possibly dead but his sister won’t stop until she finds out the truth.

On top of that there’s the girl named Ennis who is on the run under the orders of a mysterious older man who holds a crate filled with what everyone thinks is liquor bottles. She holds part of the secret that makes Firo and his fellow Gammora brother, Maizo Avaro who has a secret of his own. You see, when we first really get to know these two men they get gunned down and a few minutes later they just stand up with nothing on them. Could this have something to do with the liquor bottles Ennis’ “master” manages to lose?

Meanwhile, the Flying Pussyfoot begins its journey to New York City with the collection of killers and cultists as well as one of the most intriguing and hilarious pair of characters you will not forget anytime soon. You see, Isaac and Miria aren’t your average thieves … they’re a loony cosplaying couple that steal to most unusual items. On board are also a collection of other thieves led by a young man with a Mike Tyson-like tattoo on his face (inventively named Jacuzzi Splot) and his childhood friend named Nice who loves making bombs. Oh, there’s also a monster on board known as the Rail Tracer who jumps on a train and slaughters passengers.

As the murderous Ladd Russo clashes with the men in black and Jacuzzi’s crew is caught in the middle, a battle for survival takes place aboard the Flying Pussyfoot. There’s blood aplenty as a fight erupts and even more gore when the Rail Tracer shows itself. Jacuzzi meets Isaac and Miria as well as a mysterious little boy named Czeslaw. There are fights aplenty but what really sets this series apart – aside from the colorful cast – are the flashbacks that reveal the secret behind why certain people just can’t die or even get old.

The supernatural twist leads to a story that takes place aboard the Avenna Avis in 1711 where a group of alchemists attempt to summon the Dark Lord in an effort to gain a certain elixir. Of course, there’s a horrible price to be paid and some members of the group are willing to pay for it. Those who aren’t willing to pay the price, however, become a target.

Baccano! inventively weaves the story in its own unique manner and fills it with plenty of action, supernatural elements and an almost old-fashioned noir feel that gives this series its own flavor worth savoring. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, adding humor in the form of Isaac and Miria as well as Jacuzzi’s quirky personality that makes the ensemble of characters all the more fun to follow.

The Complete Series of Baccano! is exactly what you need if you have been searching for a series that isn’t afraid of being different. Baccano is a thrill ride that just gets more interesting as this story progresses and backs up just enough to reveal a hardboiled classic with Tommy guns, gangsters and an interesting supernatural twist. Get onboard, this train ride will not disappoint.

DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: A+
A number of strangers board a train called the Flying Pussyfoot that is one for one dark and violent ride as various different forces collide aboard the train haunted by a vicious monster known as the Rail Tracer. Meanwhile, in flashbacks, we learn about the various characters and their ties to a missing man, a pair of loveable thieves and an alchemist’s ancient potion of immortality.

VIDEO QUALITY: A
This is some of the best animation we’ve seen and you’ll love all the action sequences and amazing visual effects this series throws at you. The series goes back and forth in time and in different settings that make this series quite unique.

AUDIO QUALITY: A
There’s nothing wrong with the original Japanese voices but if you want to get a more authentic feel to the dialogue you cannot go wrong with the amazing English dub cast. The music is also true to the era and it makes the action sequences shine.

EXTRAS: A
All four audio commentary tracks are available in this 3-disc set but it’s the new contest released specifically for this box set that is sure to please fans. There’s a short Japanese promotional video but the Baccano! Propaganda Program is filled with Japanese cast interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and even research footage the crew took to New York City. Add some trailers and the clean opening and closing theme songs and we have ourselves something good to look forward to in the end.

OVERALL: A+
Baccano! is a straight up violent and brilliantly original story with a shot of supernatural goodness to make this one hell of a train ride. Filled with a variety of interesting characters, there’s seldom a dull moment in this series that packs plenty of surprises and action to make this Complete Series set just what you need.

Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment.

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