Tag: best anime series

Baccano!: Volume Four

Much like the ending of the story-within-the-story, the fourth volume of “Baccano!” will probably be viewed as a letdown by some, but although it’s not quite as action-packed as the volumes that preceded it, the final batch of episodes does an excellent job of tying up all the loose ends – past, present and future. In the past, we see the demise of Szilard at the hands of Firo, who’s instructed by Ennis of the necessary steps to “eating” a soul, and in the future (2001, to be precise), we discover along with Isaac and Miria that they’ve been immortals all along. Most of the action takes place in the present, however, with the surviving members of the Flying Pussyfoot incident trying to move on with their lives. But when Chane is kidnapped by Graham Specter (a new character introduced via flashback as Ladd’s protégé), Jacuzzi sets off to rescue her, only to be interrupted by Claire, who’s hoping to convince Chane to marry him. The conclusion is about as satisfying as one could hope for from such a multi-layered series, but it still feels like something is missing. Whether or not that affects the overall experience will depend on the person, but if you liked the first three volumes, there’s no reason you won’t enjoy this quiet sendoff.

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Baccano!: Volume Three

The third volume of “Baccano!” is decidedly less plot-heavy than the two that came before it, but what it lacks in exposition, it more than makes up for with a relentless supply of bloody, bloody violence. Though the series has certainly featured its share of bullets, knives and soul-sucking immortals in the past, Volume Three goes into overdrive as the Flying Pussyfoot literally transforms into death on wheels. The bloodbath isn’t just the work of the Rail Tracer, either, but he does figure heavily into the story this time around due in part to the fact that he’s finally properly introduced. As it turns out, the Rail Tracer isn’t much of a demon at all (at least, not in the traditional sense), but rather Claire Stanfield (now going by the name Vino), who’s adopted the persona of the Rail Tracer for his own amusement. Meanwhile, Ladd gets into a fight with Chane on top of the Flying Pussyfoot; Rachel (the mysterious woman seen on the outside of the train in Volume Two) is revealed to be working as a spy for the Daily Days; and Czeslaw is killed several times, only to be revived by the powers of the elixir. This might just be the craziest batch of episodes yet, but with tensions at an all-time high and plenty of questions still left unanswered, the fourth and final volume should easily trump that.

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Baccano!: Volume Two

The second volume of “Baccano!” certainly isn’t as good as the first, but that’s to be expected considering the episodes included mostly serve as build-up for the events to come. In fact, while the series strives on the unconventionality of its storytelling, Episode Seven is actually quite traditional – a flashback that takes place in 1711 when the elixir of immortality was discovered on the Advenna Avis. It’s here that the audience learns how the elixir first came into the possession of humans, as well as the many rules that come with becoming an immortal. Perhaps the most important of these is that whenever someone who has drank the elixir finally wishes to die, only a fellow immortal has the power to “devour” him – which is a nice way of saying sucking his soul. We also get our first look at the Rail Tracer in action, Firo is welcomed into the Camorras after a ceremony involving a knife fight with Maiza, and Jacuzzi steps up to take control of the Flying Pussyfoot, despite his habit of breaking down and crying. Those that were confused by the first few episodes will probably be able to make better sense of Volume Two (though you still won’t be able to put a face to every name) and it’s a worthy reward for having the tenacity to stick around. “Baccano!” isn’t for everyone, but just because it’s smarter than the average anime doesn’t mean the average fan won’t enjoy it.

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Baccano!: Volume One

Anime has become so saturated with ninjas, vampires, mechs and schoolgirls that when a truly unique series like “Baccano!” comes along, it’s hard not to stand up and take notice. A gangster-inspired crime drama with traces of the supernatural, “Baccano!” isn’t just the most original anime I’ve ever seen, but it’s also the most fearless. How fearless, you might ask? Well, for starters, there are no less than 18 different main characters (and several more supporting ones), none of which could be considered the lead protagonist. Furthermore, the story jumps back and forth between each character’s individual stories (which take place over the course of the early 1930s) as they weave in and out of the other characters’ lives.

Baccano 1

If you’re not confused yet, you will be as the show opens with a girl named Carol and the vice president of the Daily Days newspaper breaking the fourth wall as they discuss what character they should be focusing on in order to tell the best version of their tale. The story in question has something to do with a bloody mob war taking place in New York City, a mysterious elixir of immortality, and a train crash involving a serial killer, a fanatical cult, a group of gangsters, and a pair of thieves. That’s just a slice of what’s really happening, of course, but it’s all the viewer is told during the first four episodes. Some people might be intimidated by the show’s brazen approach to storytelling, but you’d be wrong not to give “Baccano!” a chance. After all, shows this good only come around once in a lifetime.

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Dragon Ball Z: Season Seven

The seventh season of “Dragon Ball Z” is a bit of an odd duck compared to the rest of the series, as the lack of a major villain makes it seem like nothing happens. In fact, some have even compared it to the mini-arc of filler episodes better known as the Garlic Jr. Saga, but whereas those episodes did little to further the story, Season Seven serves as the buildup to the big finale. It’s also a nice break from the exhausting Cell Games, and it makes some great strides in the development of the Z Fighters along the way. For starters, Gohan has finally become a teenager, and when he’s not getting into trouble with classmate Videl (AKA Mr. Satan’s daughter), he’s moonlighting as the superhero called Great Saiyaman. Goku, meanwhile, takes part in an Other World Tournament for the chance to train with the Grand Kai, and when he finally returns to Earth to fight in the upcoming World Martial Arts Tournament, he discovers that he also has a new son named Goten. Though it may seem a bit counterproductive to age Gohan and then create a brand new character who’s just like him, this time around, they’ve given the little tyke someone to play with (young Trunks), making them both that much less annoying from the get-go. Plus, with two tournaments worth of fighting and the hilarious return of Mr. Satan, how could anyone call Season Seven filler? It might not be as epic as past sagas, but you better believe it’s just as good.

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