[Historical Seinen Summer 2017] Like Baccano!? Watch This!

Otaku who love mysteries and historical anime, please stand up! The anime also gets extra points if it throws some supernatural elements as well, right? This and more was in Baccano!, a little piece of art released in 2007. From the production, to the historical elements, to the music, the intriguing story, the unusual storytelling and charismatic characters, everything was on point.

However, time goes by so quickly! We are a decade apart. Which other interesting and recent anime can we watch if we are fans of Baccano!? Don’t worry, because we got you covered! Let’s take that transcontinental train to find out!

About Baccano!

  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: Jul 27 to Nov 2, 2007

Welcome to the United States of the 1950’s! A young journalist under the name of Carol is revising some old documents with her boss Gustav St. Germain. They end up discussing the curious events they lived 20 years earlier, discussing where everything started and who was the main protagonist. While they remember the various characters that were involved in the mystery, the past recovers its life, transporting us to the outrageous 30’s! A time full of forbidden alcohol, of the mafias that profited from it… of life, death and the daily fight for survival.

Liked Baccano!? Watch Katsugeki Touken Ranbu!

  • Episodes: 9
  • Aired: Jul 2017 – present
  • Read More

It’s the year 1863. It’s the end of the shogunate period, so there is chaos in Japan. Every soldier is trying to decide where their loyalties will lay from now on. To add to the trouble, a faction from the future has come to alter the course of history! So, who do we call in such times? The legendary powers of the gods, of course! Nothing better than swords imbued with spirits to confront the enemies, as Kunihiro Horikawa and Kanesada Izuminokami know well. They won’t be alone, as other powerful warriors will join their quest to keep the course of history!

Three Major Similarities Between Baccano! and Katsugeki Touken Ranbu

1. Civil war like societies.

There are anime stories that develop in tranquility, talking about the most normal and happy days… Well, prepare yourself, because that is not the case in Baccano! or Katsugeki Touken Ranbu. When countries don’t go to war with other countries but rather, they have too many internal problems, they implode. And with internal problems we are talking about disagreements that scale all the way up to a violence that reaches civil society. Conspiration, uncertainty and a bit of bloodshed everyday is what we see in both animes… which is only the background for more adventurous stories ahead! All of that in a game of survival just makes the adrenaline pump harder after all.

2. A mysterious cargo and the chase for it.

In Baccano!, the story gets a boost when our characters are traveling on the transcontinental train. Some of them know there is an elixir of immortality on board, while others mistake it for alcohol (a common contraband good in those times). Needless to say, everyone wants the two innocent looking bottles :p As for Katsugeki Touken Ranbu, The Time Retrograde Army have a mysterious cargo under their charge that will help them achieve their mission of changing history. Thus, our heroes Kunihiro and Kanesada have to target them before it’s too late. As you can see, both animes are a fast race against time, which ultimately becomes a matter of the protagonists survival.

3. Complex stories that are not revealed immediately.

Particularly in Baccano!, it is evident from the beginning that we have an unusual storytelling style. We start from the future (hence we know a few characters survive the bloody ordeal), and although most of the action is in 1931, we jump back and forth often. At first, it is not clear who among the main characters knows who and which side are they on, but a complete picture eventually emerges. In Katsugeki, the main objective also is revealed in the beginning (stop the Time Retrograde Army), but as main characters are introduced, the story starts to get complicated. It is also tricky to see where things will go because the anime is still running. However, we can’t be 100% sure of who is friend or foe, just like in Baccano! 😉


Liked Baccano!? Watch Princess Principal!

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Jul 2007 – present
  • Read More

In an imagined world similar to XXth century England, two factions fight for the control of a material called Cavorite, and ultimately, of the country. After the London Revolution, a wall has separated the capital in two. In this scenario, we follow the adventures of five spies who work for the Commonwealth of Albion in the Kingdom of Albion’s territory. The twist is that such spies also attend an all-female school for the elite: Queen’s Mayfair! So, how is the double life of girls who live between tea parties, french lessons, chasings and fighting? You have to watch Princess Principal to find out 😉

Three Major Similarities Baccano! & Princess Principal

1. Historical anime style

Although Princess Principal doesn’t specify an exact time frame (it would be useless anyway, as it is an imagined world), we get clues that it is a historical anime all over the place. For starters, they use names of real places in England (London, for example). Yes, the short skirts and pants our heroines wear scream that this is a steampunk show, but other clothes, the food, the paper in the walls and above all, the living quarters of the poor indicate that Princess Principal is based on Victorian England. If we fast forward a few years, we don’t have any difficulty in watching Baccano!, as in this case, the only detail that is out of history is the magic and the evil creatures. However, even this has some sort of scientific explanation, which is the case for the Carvorite in Princess Principal. Which brings us to the following point...

2. Factions seeking powers that don't exist in our world

The advantage of adding a layer of fantasy in our historical based animes is that they get so interesting! And well, this also makes them a little less predictable. In the case of Baccano!, we get more danger because we don’t only have to be careful about guns or the enemy faction, but also about immortals. As for Princess Principal, our spies count with peculiar abilities that don’t necessarily fit into the magical girl category. I mean, a mechanical voice and a device that lets you defy gravity are not precisely magical, right? And the best part of all is that in both stories, everyone is seeking the control of these unusual powerful objects: the elixir of immortality and the cavorite. That can only call trouble! :p

3. Girls play a central role.

Scenarios of civil war usually are the perfect background to introduce resilient female characters. Yes, we understand it is mainly a men world by looking at whom directs the organizations in both animes. However, we have several women in the playfield. In the case of Baccano!, one of the most charismatic protagonists is the thief Miria, who could be an equivalent to the eccentric and resourceful Ange or to the oddball Princess from Princess Principal. We also have Ennis and Chane in Baccano!, fighting women with a troubling past who somehow resemble Ange and Chise from Princess Principal. And well, we have other strong guardian-like characters like Adele and Dorothy too, although we get a deeper look at Dorothy’s background. All in all, the balance between male and female powers in these animes is masterful because everyone plays by their strengths.

Final Thoughts

We hope you have enjoyed our brief summary of animes like Baccano! It looks like we have some interesting options to enjoy this summer, don’t you think the same? All that old western flavor, the adventure and the danger are waiting! Will you give a chance to our recommendations? Tell us why yes or no in the comments above! Don’t be shy, comment away! See you soon 🙂

Sakura_Moonprincess

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Author: Sakura_Moonprincess

Writing about anime by Moonlight. Swift as a coursing river, with all the force of a great typhoon, with all the strength of a raging fire, mysterious as the dark side of the Moon.

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