Baccano! (バッカーノ！ Bakkāno!?, Italian din) (Italian pronunciation: [bakkaˈno]) is a Japanese light novel series written by Ryohgo Narita and illustrated by Katsumi Enami. The series, often told from multiple points of view, is mostly set within a fictional United States during various time periods, most notably the Prohibition-era. It focuses on various people, including alchemists, thieves, thugs, Mafiosi and Camorristi, who are unconnected to one another. After an immortality elixir is recreated in 1930 Manhattan, the characters begin to cross paths, setting off events that spiral further and further out of control. The first novel, The Rolling Bootlegs, was originally entered into ASCII Media Works' ninth Dengeki Novel Prize in 2002, placing third to win the Gold Prize. The novel was released in February 2003 under ASCII Media Works' Dengeki Bunko imprint, and as of April 20, 2010, fifteen novels have been released.
The novels were adapted into a sixteen episode anime series directed by Takahiro Omori and produced by Brain's Base and Aniplex. The first thirteen episodes were aired on WOWOW from July 26, 2007 to November 1, 2007; the final three were released direct-to-DVD. Eight DVD compilations were released from October 24, 2007 to May 28, 2008. An English language release was licensed by Funimation Entertainment on July 21, 2008, and four DVD compilations were released from January 27, 2009 to June 16, 2009, and a complete collection boxset was released December 27, 2009. The series was also adapted into a two-volume manga, published in MediaWorks' Dengeki Comic Gao! magazine from December 27, 2006 to February 27, 2008. An additional novel was released with the first drama CD and two gaiden novels were released in parts with DVDs of the anime adaption. An adventure game for the Nintendo DS and two drama CDs were also created for the series.
Aboard the ship Advenna Avis in 1711, a group of alchemists summon a demon in the hopes of gaining eternal life. The demon gives them an elixir of immortality and the method of ending their existence, by "devouring" one another, and grants the summoner Maiza Avaro the formula of the elixir. Maiza and most of the alchemists decide that no one else must become immortal; only Szilard Quates opposes. The next night, the alchemists begin to disappear, devoured by Szilard. Realizing the threat posed by staying together, they scatter across the globe.
In New York City during November 1930, Szilard succeeds in recreating the elixir, only to have it stolen by young thug Dallas Genoard. The elixir continually moves around the city because of Dallas, the three mafiosi Gandor brothers, the two eccentric thieves Isaac Dian and Miria Harvent and Firo Prochainezo and his Camorra family, the Martillo, all of whom do not realize what it is. Szilard makes Dallas an incomplete immortal (meaning he still ages) to retrieve the elixir. However, the Gandor and Firo Prochainezo and his Camorra family, the Martillo, and Isaac and Miria accidentally consume the elixir. Firo falls in love with Szilard's homunculus Ennis. After she betrays Szilard by telling Firo how to devour Szilard, Firo uses the knowledge he absorbed from Szilard to save her from death. The Gandor cement Dallas to a barrel at the bottom of the Hudson River to punish him for killing Gandor members.
In late 1931, the Gandor fight the Runorata family for control of the same area. In an attempt to resolve the situation, Luck Gandor asks his adoptive brother Claire Stanfield, the legendary assassin, to travel to New York. Claire agrees to and boards the transcontinental train the Flying Pussyfoot, on which he works as a conductor. The train is hijacked by the Russo and Lemure gangs, and a battle ensues between the two gangs. Meanwhile, Jacuzzi Splot, Nice Holystone and their gang attempt to protect the passengers and fight the hijackers, while Claire assumes the identity of the Rail Tracer, a monster that eats train passengers, and slaughters much of the Russo and the Lemure. The last remaining members of the Lemure are eventually defeated by Jacuzzi's gang. The train arrives in early 1932. Meanwhile, Eve Genoard searches for Dallas, putting her at odds with Luck, who is still angry over the deaths Dallas caused, and she is caught up in the turf war. Luck secretly tells Eve where Dallas is, and with Claire's help, the turf war ends.
In 1933, Dallas is finally pulled out of the river, but shortly after, he is abducted by the Lamia, a group working for Huey Laforet. Meanwhile, Jacuzzi's operations begin to encroach on Gandor and Martillo turf. Representatives from both groups converge on Eve's home, where his gang is staying. At the same time, the Lamia arrive to enlist Jacuzzi's help; they have kidnapped Dallas to prove that immortality is possible, and convince Jacuzzi to join them. Elsewhere in New York, Mist Wall, the largest branch office of the military equipment researcher and developer Nebula, is bombed as according to Huey's plans.
The next year on Alcatraz Island, Ladd Russo, imprisoned for the slaughter aboard the Flying Pussyfoot, Firo, incarcerated for hiding a witness of the Mist Wall bombing, and Isaac, found guilty of various thefts, become friendly with one another and meet Huey, who was charged with treason and conspiracy years ago. Meanwhile, Christopher Shouldered, Huey's homunculus, and Graham Specter, Ladd Russo's loyal follower, cause trouble in Chicago. After, Jacuzzi and his gang return to Chicago while Ladd attempts to kill Huey.
Ryohgo Narita wanted to write a story set during the Prohibition and chose a light novel as the medium because not many of them had that setting. He believed that this choice would better attract the interest of the ASCII Media Works judges. After Narita saw The Untouchables, he spent about ten days working with inspirations and created Baccano! "out of [his] useless calculations." While writing the first novel The Rolling Bootlegs, he consulted many books while writing and mixed fictional elements with historical situations to create a unique plot flow. The story he originally planned was about an ancient magician who was revived during the Prohibition and began to terrorize New York City. A group of mafiosi then violently oppose the magician. However, the story became very different from the original concept. Narita never wrote a detailed outline for the novel and is relieved by that fact because it allowed the characters to "move on their own." The original stages of the series included more supernatural elements. Maiza Avaro was a hypnotist; Ennis was a succubus; Szilard was a magician. In addition, every member of the Camorra, except for Firo, did not survive. Despite the great differences between the characters' initial concepts and the result, Narita is "glad" that these ideas were not used in the finished novel.
Narita did not begin work on a second novel during the six months after the publication of The Rolling Bootlegs because his chief editor asked him to write nothing until after he graduated from university. After his graduation, he was offered to publish his next book in August, and he submitted his manuscripts in late April, a bit behind original deadlines. He had written over 400 pages, making the price over ¥700, which is a high price for a novel written by a newcomer. This worried Narita because it was unlikely anyone would buy the novel. As a result, he and his chief editor decided that the novel would be released in two parts. However, Narita was still anxious about publishing such a long novel. To motivate himself to write more, he would often refer back to the dialogue he had written for Ladd Russo. As with the first novel, the plot changed because of the characters' "movements", most notably Claire Stanfield. Narita noted that all of the Lemure and Russo, with the exception of a character named Neider, were originally planned to die, but Claire's presence in the novel left that concept "in ruins". In addition, Chane Laforet, who was not well liked by the author, was also supposed to die, but as time passed, Narita became attached to her and changed her fate.
While creating the anime series, art director Ito Satoshi and other staff members scouted Manhattan and surrounding neighborhoods to accurately portray the area. They visited the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, Chinatown, Little Italy, Grand Central Terminal and various locations in Brooklyn and along the East River, many of which provide the backdrop for the events in Baccano!. The staff also visited the Steamtown National Historic Site to create accurate steam locomotives.
Tyler Walker, the ADR director of the English dub of the series, held auditions for six days, during which about 140 people came for the eighteen main roles. Walker states that this is probably the longest casting process Funimation has held. He comments that because there are a lot of characters and most of them are older men, a character type he does not work with often, choosing voice actors and familiarizing them with their characters was difficult. He asked many directors and actors for recommendations and mainly aimed to cast newcomers, as he felt Baccano! provided him a chance to discover newer talent. Walker wished to find actors who could provide the dialect and accents of the various time periods and locations, especially when casting for the characters with heavy European accents.
To prepare to write the script, Walker watched various movies featuring gangsters. He attempted to take what he could from the The Untouchables, especially Robert DeNiro's portrayal of Al Capone. Walker watched movies created and set in the 1930s, including but not limited to The Public Enemy, Little Caesar, Once Upon a Time in America, Miller's Crossing and various movies starring James Cagney, because he believed they would give him a truer feel on how people of the era sounded and talked. He wanted to capture the lingo and rhythm. Because Baccano! is a "stylized gangster flick" and because of the nature of anime, he made the dialogue more flowery and lingo-ridden than it would have been in reality.
The Baccano! light novels are written by Ryohgo Narita and illustrated by Katsumi Enami. Originally, Narita entered the first novel into ASCII Media Works' ninth Dengeki Novel Prize in 2002 and the novel won the Gold Prize, placing third. The first novel was released in February 2003 under ASCII Media Works' Dengeki Bunko imprint, and as of April 10, 2010, fifteen novels have been released. In addition, one novel accompanied the first drama CD, released on March 31, 2006, and two gaiden novels were released in parts with DVDs of the anime adaption, released from October 24, 2007 to May 28, 2008.
Daewon C.I. licensed the Korean-language release of the series in South Korea and releases the novels under their Newtype Novels imprint. A Chinese-language release in Taiwan and Hong Kong is published by the Taiwan branch of Kadokawa Media under their Fantastic Novels imprint.
The series has been adapted into two drama CDs. The first, titled 1931 Local Chapter ・ Express Chapter (鈍行編・特急編 Donkōhen ・ Tokkyūhen?) The Grand Punk Railroad, was released March 31, 2006 by MediaWorks. Named after the second and third light novels, the CD retells the events occurring aboard the Flying Pussyfoot train.
The second CD, Firo Prochainezo witnesses the 53rd death of Pietro Gonzalez (フィーロ・プロシェンツォ、ピエトロ・ゴンザレスの五十三回目の死を目撃す Firo Puroshentso, Pietoro Gonzaresu no gojūsankaime no shi o mokugeki su?), was released by Movic on October 24, 2007. It follows Firo and Luck as they chase two men to a small village in Mexico and attempt to retrieve money stolen from the Martillo and Gandor families.
A 16-episode anime series directed by Takahiro Omori and produced by Brain's Base and Aniplex was adapted from the light novels. The episodes describe the events spanning from 1930 to 1932 in a non-linear fashion, including the recreation of the immortality elixir, the hijacking of the Flying Pussyfoot, Eve's hunt for her brother and the gang war between the Gandor and the Runorata. The first thirteen episodes aired in Japan from July 26, 2007 to November 1, 2007 on WOWOW, a Japanese pay-per-view station, and the final three were released direct-to-DVD. Eight DVD compilations were released by Aniplex, each containing two episodes, with the first released on October 24, 2007 and the eighth on May 28, 2008. On July 21, 2008, Funimation Entertainment announced that it has licensed Baccano! for a North American release. Four DVD compilations were released, with the first on January 27, 2009 and the fourth on June 16, 2009. A complete collection boxset was released December 27, 2009. The entire English-dubbed series was streamed through Hulu during October 2009, and Funimation streamed English-subtitled and English-dubbed episodes through their website. In Australia and New Zealand, the series is licensed by Madman Entertainment, who released the series over four DVDs between June 24, 2009 and October 21, 2009. A boxset was released on March 17, 2010. Baccano! is licensed in the United Kingdom by Manga Entertainment. The series is aired in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia on Animax Asia.
The series' original soundtrack was released as Spiral Melodies on October 24, 2007 by Aniplex. Two singles, "Gun's & Roses" by Paradise Lunch and "Calling" by Kaori Oda, were released on August 22, 2007. "Gun's and Roses" contained the opening theme, a vocal version of the opening, two songs and karaoke versions of the three tracks. The "Calling" single included the ending theme, another track and the karaoke versions of the two.
A manga adaption titled Baccano! 1931 The Grand Punk Railroad was written by Narita and illustrated by Ginyū Shijin. It was published in MediaWorks' Dengeki Comic Gao! magazine from December 27, 2006 to February 27, 2008 and was collected in two volumes released July 27, 2007 and April 26, 2008. The chapters center around the hijacking of the Flying Pussyfoot train. The Chinese-language release is published by the Taiwan branch of Kadokawa Media.
On February 28, 2008, MediaWorks released an adventure game, simply titled Baccano!, for the Nintendo DS. Based on the two Grand Punk Railroad light novels, the game recounts the events aboard the Flying Pussyfoot train from multiple perspectives. The player's goal is to help the passengers arrive safely in New York City by selecting the correct choices. The game can conclude with one of about fifty scenarios, depending on the player's decisions.
On February 20, 2009, ASCII MediaWorks released an art book titled Baccano! Katsumi Enami Artbook (エナミカツミ画集バッカーノ！ Katsumi Enami Gashū Bakkāno!?). The book not only featured illustrations drawn by Enami, but also included a story titled Boy Czeslaw, Fellows of the Forest (of Buildings) (チェスワフぼうやと、（ビルの）森の仲間達 Chesuwafu Bōya to, (Biru no) Mori no Nakamatachi?).
The anime adaptation of Baccano has received universal critical acclaim. Theron Martin of Anime News Network gave the anime an overall 'A-' rating, with a full 'A' rating for the story, describing it as, "Sometimes humorous, occasionally brutal, and nearly always fun, the complex plotting and voluminous casting, combined with strong dubbing, animation, and musical score, make this a must-see series for fans of American mobster stories," and concluding that "this could be one of the year's best series." Davey C. Jones of Active Anime praised the anime, stating that, "Like Pulp Fiction changed the way we saw movies, Baccano will be the story that will change the way we see anime," concluding that "this all over the map anime is one unique and crazy ride from start to its never ending finale" and that "Baccano offers something truly unique in anime."
Daryl Surat and Mike Toole of Anime World Order Podcast consider Baccano! to be their "pick for best series of 2007 (or 2009 depending on how you want to count it)." Bryce Coulter of Mania Entertainment gave the complete series a 'B' rating, stating that it is "a drastic and welcome departure from your typical anime formula and that’s what makes it so intriguing," and concluding that it has a "little bit of comedy, drama, action, and romance all swirled up into one giant ruckus of fun!"
- Narita, Ryohgo (February 2003). "Afterword". The Rolling Bootlegs (in Japanese). illus. Enami, Katsumi. Dengeki Bunko. pp. 312–315. ISBN 978-4-8402-2278-5.
- Narita, Ryohgo (September 2003). "Afterword". 1931 Local Chapter The Grand Punk Railroad (in Japanese). illus. Enami, Katsumi. Dengeki Bunko. pp. 330–333. ISBN 978-4-8402-2459-8.
- Narita, Ryohgo (August 2003). "Afterword". 1931 Express Chapter The Grand Punk Railroad (in Japanese). illus. Enami, Katsumi. Dengeki Bunko. pp. 226–269. ISBN 978-4-8402-2436-9.
- "Official Baccano! site - ニューヨークは広かった･･････ロケハンレポート (New York is Wide……Location Scouting Report)". baccano.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved 2009-09-23.
- "Official Baccano! site - ニューヨークは広かった･･････ロケハンレポート その2 (New York is Wide……Location Scouting Report 2)". baccano.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved 2009-09-23.
- (m4a) Anime Today Talks Baccano! With FUNimation ADR Director Tyler Walker. [Podcast]. The Right Stuf International. December 5, 2008. http://www.rightstuf.com/rssite/animeToday/play/?podcast=081. Retrieved September 30, 2009.
- "第９回 電撃ゲーム３大賞" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. Retrieved October 14, 2009.
- "バッカーノ!―The Rolling Bootlegs (電撃文庫): 成田 良悟: 本" (in Japanese). Amazon.com. Retrieved October 14, 2009.
- "バッカーノ!1931 臨時急行編―Another Junk Railroad (電撃文庫): 成田 良悟: 本". Amazon.com. Retrieved October 14, 2009.
- "Official Baccano! site - Release Book". baccano.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved October 14, 2009.
- "『バッカーノ！ 1931 鈍行編・特急編 The Grand Punk Railroad 』ドラマCD " (in Japanese). MediaWorks. Archived from the original on May 10, 2006. Retrieved October 14, 2009.
- "ドラマCD バッカーノ! 1931 The Grand Punk Railroad 鈍行編・特急編". suruga-ya.jp (in Japanese). Archived from the original on October 23, 2009. Retrieved October 23, 2009.
- "Official Baccano! site - Release DVD". baccano.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved October 14, 2009.
- "바카노! 1 The Rolling Bootlegs" (in Korean). Daewon C.I. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
- "BACCANO！ 大騷動！The Rolling Bootlegs" (in Chinese). Kadokawa Media. Retrieved February 27, 2010. Text " 成田良悟" ignored (help)
- "Official Baccano! site - Media CD". baccano.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved December 22, 2009.
- "Official Baccano! site - Staff&Cast". baccano.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved September 14, 2009.
- "FUNimation Raises a 'Ruckus'". ICv2.com. July 21, 2008. Retrieved September 20, 2009.
- Beveridge, Chris (July 21, 2008). "FUNimation Acquires Baccano". Mania Entertainment. Retrieved September 14, 2009.
- "The Official English Baccano! Web Site". Funimation Entertainment. Retrieved September 15, 2009. Click the "Releases" tab located to the right of the Baccano! logo.
- Rojas, Justin (October 1, 2009). "Baccano Hits Hulu!". Funimation Entertainment. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
- Rojas, Justin (August 10, 2009). "More Streaming Madness!!". Funimation Entertainment. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
- Rojas, Justin (February 24, 2010). "New Streaming Videos". Funimation Entertainment. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
- "Baccano! Vol. 1". Madman Entertainment. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
- "Baccano! Vol. 4". Madman Entertainment. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
- "Baccano! Collection". Madman Entertainment. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
- "Durarara!!, Vampire Knight, Eden of the East, More Licensed in U.K.". Anime News Network. May 29, 2010. Retrieved May 31, 2010.
- "Baccano!". Animax Asia. Archived from the original on February 26, 2010. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
- "Baccano! 大騷動!" (in Chinese). Animax Asia. Archived from the original on March 9, 2010. Retrieved March 9, 2010.
- "Baccano! Original Sountrack Spiral Melodies" (in Japanese). Sony Music Entertainment Japan. Retrieved December 22, 2009.
- "Paradise Lunch Gun's & Roses" (in Japanese). Sony Music Entertainment Japan. Retrieved December 22, 2009.
- "織田 かおり (Oda Kaori) Calling" (in Japanese). Sony Music Entertainment Japan. Retrieved December 22, 2009.
- "バッカーノ！ 1931 The Grand Punk Railroad（1）" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. Retrieved December 23, 2009.
- "Inukami, Honoka, Baccano 1931 Manga to End in Japan". Anime News Network. January 25, 2008. Retrieved December 23, 2009.
- "最新雑誌情報 【2006年12月発売】 (Latest Magazine Information December 2006 Releases)" (in Japanese). MediaWorks. Archived from the original on December 30, 2006. Retrieved December 23, 2009.
- "バッカーノ！ 1931 The Grand Punk Railroad（2）" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. Retrieved December 23, 2009.
- "BACCANO！大騷動！ 1931 The Grand Punk Railroad 01" (in Chinese). Kadokawa Media. Retrieved March 14, 2010.
- "ニンテンドーDSソフト DS電撃文庫ADV「バッカーノ！」" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. Retrieved December 22, 2009.
- "Introduction イントロダクション" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. Retrieved December 22, 2009.
- "System ゲームシステム" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. Retrieved December 22, 2009.
- "エナミカツミ画集 バッカーノ！" [Baccano! Katsumi Enami Artbook] (in Japanese). ASCII MediaWorks. Retrieved March 24, 2010.
- "Dengeki Bunko Magazine Artbook Archives" (in Japanese). ASCII MediaWorks. Retrieved March 24, 2010.
- Theron Martin (January 30, 2009). "Review: Baccano! + Artbox: DVD 1". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 15, 2010.
- Davey C. Jones (February 21, 2009). "BACCANO! VOL. 1". Active Anime. Retrieved April 15, 2010.
- Davey C. Jones (June 14, 2009). "BACCANO! VOL. 4 (ADVANCE REVIEW)". Active Anime. Retrieved April 15, 2010.
- Daryl Surat & Mike Toole. "Review: Baccano!". Anime World Order Podcast. Retrieved April 15, 2010.
- Bryce Coulter (March 19, 2010). "Baccano! Complete Series". Mania Entertainment. Retrieved April 15, 2010.
- Official website (Japanese)
- Official WOWOW Baccano! website (Japanese)
- Official Funimation Baccano! website
- Baccano! (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia