Archive for the 'baccano!' Category

Year-End Anime Awards for 2007

It’s that time of year again.

The air is cold, the night is swift, and Dick Clark is still alive and no one knows why.

Yes, it is the end of 2007, and that means we get the end of the year “best of” awards ceremony. Criteria: the show must have started its broadcast in 2007. So, everything from winter season to fall season is fair game. So here we go!

Best Drama About Drama: Hitohira

Refreshingly original characters, a slight hint of yuri, and some real emotional power drives this series. I kind of glossed over it, and then heard about it from a friend of mine, and then watched it, expecting it to be some kind of mild schoolhouse comedy. Instead I got an incredible and moving drama. It came from nowhere and socked me with both cute and poignancy. How many of your average moe shows get that done, tell me?

Best Space Opera That Was Based on Seventies Manga: Terra e…

A rather inauspicious start led into a flurry of emotions and an actually epic plot, something its contemporary Heroic Age could have only wished it was. Not only that, the anime actually improves on the original manga, making it much more affecting.

Best Show With Immortal Gangsters: Baccano!

I’ve already said my piece about this show, of course, but to review: incredible characterization and a very tightly scripted plot turned this show into one of the real winners of 2007. The whole series would have flopped, in my opinion, had it been 26 episodes, due to the slow pacing that would have been brought on it.

Best Comedy About Little…Things That No One Knows What They Are: Potemayo

The 4koma nature of the manga this was adapted from led to a totally nonsensical anime. And it was good that way. It’s been a while since an anime comedy made me laugh as consistently as Potemayo did, and doing it all without making references is a plus.

Best Show About Drills: Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann

I don’t think I actually have to talk about this one much. I was relatively unimpressed by the first episode for some reason (hype got to me, I think–I kind of expected it to be a hilarious episode, and not an episode of burning passion for some reason) but I quickly warmed up to the series and ended up loving it all the way through. It was, indeed, manly as all get out. And well-paced past a certain point, too.

Best Romantic Drama Wherein There are Numerous Visual Tricks Because Shinbo is Crazy: ef – a tale of memories

I just wrote a post on this since it just ended, so it’s still fresh in my mind, but it’s definitely one of the top-tier series this year. See previous posts on the topic for reminders on why it’s listed here.

Honorable Mentions

“Honorable Mentions”, in this case, usually means “this show is really good but I haven’t actually finished it yet”.

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
Minami-ke

We got not one, not two, but three rather clever comedies this year, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei being the funniest Shinbo Akiyuki show to date, and Minami-ke being….Minami-ke. All three of them are worthy of note, but I just haven’t finished these two. For shame.

Hidamari Sketch

Notable simply because it marked a point where Shinbo stopped being Pani Poni Dash Shinbo and became the Shinbo I can actually find amusing and interesting to watch. I was apathetic before this show; now I’m as much of a Shinbo whore as the next person. So, uh, yeah.

Lucky Star

I actually did finish this, and it was really fun to watch, and I will be buying the upcoming DVDs, so I can’t really explain why it’s down here. Notable, however, for turning a relatively mediocre manga into a huge otaku phenonmenon. Amazing what Kyoto Animation can do, isn’t it?

CLANNAD

Again, you probably know my stance on this show. The relationship dynamics between Tomoya and Nagisa are great, and the one arc I’ve seen so far has been pretty good. And I hear the Kotomi arc is great.

Moyashimon

Yes, let’s make a show about bacteria! And it will be the greatest thing ever!

Mobile Suit Gundam 00

Nothing’s changed since I last watched an episode. It’s still going strong. 30th anniversaries are wonderful things.

Sketchbook ~full color’s~

The other slice of life show about artists. It’s not as viusally clever as Hidamari Sketch is, but it’s a lot more relaxing and funny, thanks to Team Aria.

Dennou Coil

I still can’t figure out why I’m watching this so slowly. I think I’m trying to preserve the awesome as long as possible. Yeah, that’s it.

Darker than BLACK

I’m still only partway through this, but it’s been fairly good thus far. I don’t think it’ll make it into the top-tier up there, but I like the way every arc is focused around character development over action. It could just as easily have been an straightforward action show, but, instead, it’s a pretty nifty study in character.

Ghost Hound

It’s finally shaped itself up to be a good, creepy show. Even if it’s not allegedly as bizarre as Serial Experiments: Lain, I still like it.

I think that’s everything. As you can see, this year has been quite bountiful with the goods.

Stupid Commotion is a GOOD Thing. Really.

I promised myself I wasn’t going to write about Baccano! unless I’d seen the whole thing, and, well, since episode 13 came out today, and I was in need of something to do, I decided to marathon from 9 to 13 today.

Turned out to be a really good idea.

I had a feeling Baccano! was going to be good the instant I figured out it was about 1930s America. Of course, then I was more concerned with things like “Holy crap, we’re going to have SPEAKEASIES! In ANIME! And GANGSTERS! PROPER ones, too!” That was before I learned how much style the show had–it practically oozes it from every frame. The first episode made zero sense and teased us all with Wakamoto Norio voice, but after that episode the show started in earnest and got awesome fast.

The big strength of the show is the characterization. The ensemble cast, especially in the Flying Pussyfoot sequence, were wonderfully done–from little things like Ladd Russo’s jittery feet, eager for a kill, to the significance of Jacuzzi Splot crying all the time, to the utter cluelessness of Isaac and Miria (they’re STILL clueless at the very end. It’s amazing), most of the major characters were incredibly likeable. And the villains, the ones you love to hate: Szilard Quates and Rail Tracer. The major characters in every arc were beautifully characterized.

Part of this strength is the fact that the Baccano! light novels were written by an actual author who won an actual prize for his writing (Narita Ryougo and the Dengeki Novel Prize for the first Baccano! novel). The exceptional care a good novelist takes on his work is clear even in the anime adaptation–one can see it not only in the characters, but in the plotting and pacing aspects too.

As for the actual ending, the last episode was brilliant. We got to see Jacuzzi kick ass. We got to see the untimely demise of Szilard Quates. We got ISAAC AND MIRIA IN 2001! And the whole thing was beautifully orchestrated and directed, leaving a strong emotional impact on the viewer. I haven’t decided if Baccano! deserves the coveted* 10/10 rating yet or not, but it’s got a 9 right now, so that’s not much worse. And that’s not bad for a show I didn’t think I’d like as much as I do–I typically don’t go for “action shows”–for instance, I didn’t watch Black Lagoon, despite hearing about how great that was, but I’d certainly watch it in a crowded room; shows like that are meant to be enjoyed with friends, I think. Baccano! probably qualifies as an “action show”, but, man, if only every action show was as well-done as it is.

*coveted used loosely, I always think I pass out 10s like it’s candy at Halloween.

I look forward immensely to its licensing, and I certainly hope it gets a run on American TV. I think more people would appreciate it that way.


NOTICE SHAMELESSLY STOLEN FROM G.K. CHESTERTON

I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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