Funimation announced on July 21, 2008, that it had acquired a license to dub and then stream the anime, a license which expired on February 8, 2016. Baccano! was also dubbed in French by Miroslav PILON and distributed by Black Box. In all, the series' home video releases had distribution licenses across five countries.
The first thirteen episodes technically adapt the first four light novels of the series, and the three DVD specials are linked to the first Baccano! gaiden novel. Altogether, the sixteen episodes adapt less than a fifth of the ongoing story.
The first talk of adapting Baccano! into an anime began in 2005, when Aniplex producer Shuko Yokoyama met with Baccano! editor Atsushi Wada and expressed a passionate interest in turning the light novels into an anime.
Aniplex held a focus panel for their already announced anime adaptation of Baccano! at the Tokyo Anime Fair (TAF) on March 23, 2007. Though a broadcast network had yet to be determined, the broadcast was expected to air that July. The panel members were: Baccano! author Ryohgo Narita; confirmed director Takahiro Omori; Suzuki, one of Narita's Dengeki Bunko editors; and Aniplex Chairman Masuo Ueda.
Screenwriter Noboru Takagi credits Takahiro Omori with the decision to adapt four novels simultaneously, alleging that he had been inspired by 21 Grams—a 2003 film whose original linear narrative was recomposed during the editing stage. Meanwhile, Takagi's greatest influence while writing was Intolerance, a 1916 silent film which tells four parallel stories from four different periods concurrently and ties them all together at its end.
Rather than attempting to write a confused scenario from the beginning, Takagi decided to write the script directly and make adjustments along the way. It would take over a year for his script to be firmly developed up as a consequence, since he had to constantly revise previous episodes throughout the writing process. Omori has acknowledged that the unorthodox making of Baccano! must have required completely unfamiliar tasks from Brain's Base—a relatively small studio at the time of the anime's production—but he also believes that larger studio may not have allowed previous episodes to be altered when future episodes were already underway.
Location and Art
In an interview, Omori recalls that he had started work on the anime adaptation by 2005. For the sake of accuracy and atmosphere, he later took five days off between recording sessions of Hell Girl's second season in November 2006 to do location scouting in New York alongside Yokoyama, Brain's Base producer Yumi Sato, Art Director Akira Ito, and a Japanese guide. Many of the locations in the anime are based on real places the team visited; the Coraggioso, for instance, is inspired by the historic Chumley's speakeasy.
Ito, who had been recommended for the art director position by Sato, read the original novel prior to location scouting, and during scouting took over a thousand reference photographs alongside Omori (he collected pamphlets and bought old photo collections). Afterwards, he drew five image boards using high contrast and paid attention to color use–not only were color schemes different than those in Japan, he and Omori had determined that the anime should have various colors rather than be monotone 'despite the era'.
Following the image boards, Ito created over one hundred-and-sixty art settings: from the Coraggioso, the Alveare (the most spatially difficult to draw, so he was particular about making sure there were no contradictions), to the detailed settings of the Flying Pussyfoot (specifically the first-class and second-class cabins, the conductor's room, and the dining car). Omori asked him to redo them repeatedly, to "raise the ceiling and make it gorgeous," so he collected references on train cabins and western-style furniture materials in his research. For the actual art, they created "separate textures and pasted them on." He has remarked that he had plenty of creative ideas toward the organizations' offices, including having a bottle of alcohol hidden behind a frame and a hidden escape route at the Gandors' office.
Ito also contributed to the anime's art boards, choosing the shots he wanted to personally draw. As he was especially keen to draw establishing shots (e.g. 'the first shot after a scene changes' or a shot that gives the audience an immediate understanding of what kind of location they're in), his workload was significant. He was also careful to differentiate 1930 from 1931 and 1932 by making 1930's weather sunny and the latter cloudy and rainy.
Baccano!'s general background art was (with the exception of Episode 07, which Studio Homare worked on) delegated to the Korean background art company Studio Orange during the period where the anime industry was transitioning from hand-drawn to digital art. With Ito still drawing by hand and the Korean staff already painting digitally, he specifically requested that they recreate the hand-drawn texture of the artboards with their digital paintbrushes; for scenes he felt warranted it, he had them draw in the traditional way. Ito personally adjusted the staff's art as needed, paying special attention to color usage.
Through the above methods, Ito was able to recreate the organic, rough textures that Omori desired for the show; however, the Flying Pussyfoot interior had textures (first hand-drawn and scanned) digitally pasted onto the walls, paintings, and vases.
For the 1930s colors, Ito referenced The Sting and Once Upon a Time in America when coloring the organizations' offices. The red-walled hideout of Szilard Quates' followers was based on The Godfather. The only color he deliberately eschewed was blue, as he had relied on it for art in previous works and promised he would not do the same for Baccano!. As a result, the 2001 scene's blue tones and art give it a distinctly different atmosphere from the 1930s scenes.
Ito worked exclusively on Baccano! throughout all eighteen months of production, a total immersion into a single project which he credits as helping him to 'come out of his own shell.'
Aniplex & Brain's Base: According to Yokoyama, Baccano!'s lack of a singular main character meant that the casting process was an even one that had no particular consideration for a leading role. Half of the cast had been decided by the time of Baccano!'s first audio play (originally broadcast in 2005; released in disc format 2006), and the only two roles that were auditioned were Ennis and Miria Harvent. For the rest of the cast, the staff seemed to have particular images in mind: in the case of Ladd Russo, his voice actor Keiji Fujiwara was suggested because he dubbed the character Sawyer on Lost–an American television drama that Baccano!'s staff was hooked on at the time.
Funimation: Funimation's casting process for Baccano! remains one of the studio's longest to date, with an estimated one hundred and thirty-five voice actors auditioning for the eighteen main roles over the course of six days. The challenge Baccano! posed was not just that its main cast was large, but that it required a variety of period and non-American accents and involved older adult men—none of which was common to the anime voice acting industry.
ADR director Tyler Walker tackled the challenge that was Baccano! in two main ways: he asked voice actors to directly recommend their colleagues (such as R Bruce Elliott, who recommended several of his fellow theater actors for roles and went on to voice Szilard Quates); and he actively considered newcomers, as he felt the anime was a good opportunity to discover fresh talent. Among these newcomers were Joel McDonald and Bryan Massey, who found their breakout roles in Jacuzzi Splot and Ladd Russo.
For full staff, see Anime News Network.
- Director: Takahiro Omori
- Series Composition/Screenplay: Noboru Takagi
- Character Design: Takahiro Kishida
- Music: Makoto Yoshimori
- Art Director: Akira Ito
- Colorist: Ritsuko Utagawa
- Cinematographer: Yoshihiro Sekiya
- Sound Director: Yoshikazu Iwanami
- CG producer: Norikazu Kambayashi
- Editor: Kazuhiko Seki
- Producers: Carly Hunter; Justin Cook
- ADR Director: Tyler Walker
- ADR Engineer: Kory Charlot
- Translation: Steven J. Simmons
- Eric Vale (E01)
- Leah Clark (E02-E03)
- Chuck Huber (E04-E16)
Main Article: Baccano! Original Soundtrack - Spiral Melodies
List of Episodes & OVAs
- The Vice President Doesn't Say Anything about the Possibility of Him Being the Main Character
- Setting the Old Woman's Qualms Aside, the Flying Pussyfoot Departs
- Randy and Pecho Are Busy Getting Ready for the Party
- Ladd Russo Enjoys Talking A Lot and Slaughtering A Lot
- Jacuzzi Splot Cries, Gets Scared and Musters Reckless Valor
- The Rail Tracer Covertly, Repeatedly Slaughters Inside the Coaches
- Everything Starts Aboard the Advenna Avis
- Isaac and Miria Unintentionally Spread Happiness Around Them
- Claire Stanfield Faithfully Carries Out the Mission
- Czeslaw Meyer is Forced to Rework His Tremble-Before-the-Specter-of-Immortals Strategy
- Chane Laforet Remains Silent in the Face of Two Mysterious People
- Firo and the Three Gandor Brothers Are Felled by Assassins' Bullets
- Both the Immortals and Those Who Aren't Sing the Praises of Life Equally
- Graham Specter's Love and Peace (OVA)
- The Delinquents That Arrive at the High-Class Neighborhood Are the Same as Always (OVA)
- Carol Realizes That the Story Cannot Have an Ending (OVA)
- www.baccano.jp (official Japanese site)
- Interviews are from the Blu-Ray Collector's Edition booklet.
- Anime! Anime! (ANN English Summary)
- Dengeki Online
- Character designer Takahiro Kishida had been a fan of Ito's work from Elfen Lied, which meant that Sato's recommendation was decided quickly. Kishida himself, along with Noboru Takagi, had previously worked with Omori on the 2004 anime Koi Kaze.
- Image boards establish the overall tone of the art, including: colors and overall colors: shadowing; and fineness of detail. For Baccano!'s image boards, Ito mainly drew New York cityscapes.
- Art boards are background art pieces, with key shots often picked from them directly (and other background art based on them). Decisions of texture, color, and detail are discussed between director and art director. When they are used in the actual filming, they are called filming boards.
- As stated by ADR Director Tyler Walker in the dub commentary for Baccano! Episode 07.