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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Complete Collection


Starring (voice): Masaya Onosaka, Sayaka Aoki, Akemi Kanda and Atsushi Imaruoka
Manga Entertainment
RRP: £39.99
Certificate: 18
Available 11 October 2010

In 1711, aboard the ship Advenna Avis, a group of alchemists discover the elixir of immortality from a demon. Almost immediately the group disagree as to who else should be given the gift and they start to disappear, killed by one of their own, Szilard. Szilard finally resurfaces in 1930s America during the prohibition, where the loss of the elixir brings him into contact with the warring mafia factions...

Baccano!: The Complete Collection (2007 - 16 episodes) is unusual for an anime series due to its setting. The story started as a light novel written by Ryohgo Narita and illustrated by Katsumi Enami. The concept was adapted for a game, a manga and this anime which is directed by Takahiro Omori. Due to its adult themes and violence the show has an 18 certificate and rightly so as this is one of the few shows to produce something designed purely for adults, with a complex plot, a wide emotional range and an unapologetically violent visual style.

It’s difficult to give a flavour of the show's story. The preamble, about the elixir of life, is almost inconsequential as the story, in its depth and complexity, owes more to The Godfather than it does other anime shows. The exploration of the turf war on the streets of New York, between the Mafia gangs, make for some compelling viewing, where the inability of some of the characters to die brings a more disturbing overtone to the proceedings.

The main action in the show takes place between 1930 and 1933, in an alternative version of our world. Although the producers haven’t gone too mad with diverging the story from historical fact, it does mean that they are not slaves to historical fact.

The four disc DVD set does come with a fair range of extras, including full length commentaries on episodes 4, 7, 9 and 15 as well as textless opening and closing sequences. All discs have a faultless picture, which is a little soft, but it’s difficult to know if this was a style choice or part of the conversion process. Audio on all the discs is either an English 5.1 or Japanese 2.0 track, with optional subtitles. Either track does the show justice, but given its subject matter the English audio track sounded the more natural.

There is a level of inventiveness to the show which is a breath of fresh air, in anime terms. With nearly twenty mains characters this is a show which will demand your attention, but if you’re willing to spend some time on concentrating on what is happening, the show has rewards for the attentive audience.


Charles Packer

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