Tag Archives: John Burgmeier

Baccano!: You Just Have to Watch it.

I’m going to say as little as I possibly can about this show while trying to talk about this show and how interesting it was for me. Also, in this review, I’m going to attempt to talk about characters in such a vague way that I don’t reveal anything about the plot and just encourage you to watch the show. Impossible task? Challenge accepted.

This is an anime set in the Prohibition Era of America in the early 1900’s. There is an element of magic and mystery that intertwines itself in this show so that you have to accept what’s possible with the impossible. There are gangsters, and, orignally, magicians (of  a sort). The characters range from the mentally unstable to the kind and thoughtful. With inspiration from the film, The Untouchables, the gangster and his New York accent come to life in the world of the speakeasies.

There are a lot of characters...

When you first begin to watch this show, you may become frustrated. A lot of characters and events are thrown at you all at once. Told from so many perspectives, it can become overwhelming in the first couple of episodes. But have patience. In a nonlinear plotline that comes together in pieces, this show was ingeniously crafted to have the characters drive the story until the plot becomes clear. Just remember when watching that the Flying Pussyfoot (really don’t like the name though) is the central event of the series. Things occurring on the train, for the most part, are happening in the real time (I think…) while all other events of the early 1930s are flashbacks, or maybe even flashforwards. Still not entirely sure. It’s a show worth watching through more than once.

 

What's going on?

With all the gangster families, it can become hard to determine just exactly who is who and who did what and who is wanted for what purpose. With all the accents and the strange character names, (Jacuzzi Splot. Enough said.) with three different gangster mafioso families going on at once (the Gandors, the Genoards, and the Martillos) including Jacuzzi’s gang and the Russo family, toss in Isaac and Miria, and you have a lot of chaos all at once. Nothing is as it seems and nothing seems to make much sense in the Baccano! world. It’s all about the ending payoff.

A few noteworthy voice actors in the dubbed version to speak of. You have to start with Isaac Dian and Miria Harvent. J. Michael Tatum and Caitlin Glass

Isaac and Miria. Best.

really branch their talents to their extremes with two ridiculous thieves with no care in the world and no idea what’s going on. John Burgmeier puts on an English accent as a character I can’t reveal (sorry). And R. Bruce Elliott places a mean old Russian bastard who is actually a terribly villainous magician. Joel McDonald in a surprisingly heartfelt performance gets his Brooklyn on as Jacuzzi and Nice, his eye-patched love interest and crime partner is nicely done by Colleen Clinkenbeard. Throw in a Frenchman in jail and you have the wide ranging and seductive talents of Eric Vale.  Throw in Todd Haberkorn and his always likeable goofy characters and you have a Baccano! cast.

I love this man so much.

But, I could never forget the big standout in the show. In a very underrated voice actor comes one of the best performances of his career. Ladd Russo, a highly skilled and highly delusional killer is voiced by Bryan Massey. His questioning and highly energetic character from My Bride is a Mermaid, Shark, returns as another kind of inhuman being. Ladd is vulgar, he is brutal, and he is one of the most likeable and sinister characters in the series. Any guy who can walk into a room and say, “I like you! F%*k you!” deserves respect.

Let's get to pokin'.

And for the rest, AKA the amazing plot, you have to watch it for yourself. In the same vein of shows as Durarara! (interesting, both are marked with exclamation points…) comes a character driven show with a great payoff. Watch it for the characters and voice acting. Watch it for the interesting non-linear plot. Watch it just to watch it. It’s well worth a shot. You just might find what you’re looking for in a show in this 16 episode anime, Baccano!

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Fruits Basket: The Zodiac for Girls… and Guys

I’d seen an episode of this a while and at the time I didn’t think much of it. I thought, “Okay, this shows quite… interesting. People hug each other and turn into animals. Okay…” Little did I know I just needed to give this show a bit of a chance and it would all be good.

Fruits Basket is a show about a little orphan girl, Tohru Honda (Laura Bailey) who stumbles upon a house belonging to Yuki Sohma (Eric Vale) and his two cousins, Shigure (John Burgmeier) and Kyo (Jerry Jewell). Little does Tohru know that Yuki and the rest of the Sohma family have members who transform into the 13 animals of the Chinese Zodiac when hugged by the opposite sex or put under stress. An odd plot device, I know, but for this, it works out marvelously.

The basic plot of the show deals with Tohru living with and helping the 3 Sohmas with their daily life. She encounters several of the other Zodiac members along the way, and the end of this anime (never to be continued, it deals with only the first 8 manga) leaves us heart-wrenched and begging for more.  I won’t divulge any more than that when it comes to the plot, but it’s worth a shot for a watching.

I know what you’re thinking. At first this anime sounds a bit gay. True. It is a Shojo manga. (For my audience, a Shojo manga is an manga/anime geared towards girls 10-18.) But when I watch anime, I go in with an open and interested mind. And this one was just fine. This anime has great humor, a reserved, cute, yet melancholy feel and art style that mixes the humor and warm feelings with a bit of sadness. Not a lot happens in the way of action or violence, but it’s the characters and their stories that fuel this anime, and that always works well.

Besides this, there are some great voice actors that appear in this. The second I saw the list, I thought, “Yes. Not gonna watch this subbed.” We have Chistopher Sabat who does a hilariously good job. (I’m not gonna say who plays what, it would give away the fun of discovering which characters are what animals and such.) As I mentioned before, Eric Vale (my favorite, TRUNKS) is fantastic along with a good opposite to him, Jerry Jewell, the always pissed off character actor. One of my favorites in this anime is John Burgmeier, he was fantastic as Shigure and became my favorite character almost instantly. His voice really added a great warmness quality to the character with that bit of outlandish perversion. There’s Kent Williams, who always does a great job. (I mean come on, Eri’s Butler in School Rumble?) Aaron Dismuke also makes a great appearance in his pre-puberty days and Mike McFarland has a great episode that kept me laughing the whole time. (I’ll just say cross-dressing apologizer.)

The songs were great, the plots of every episode were endearing, and the comedy was fantastic. This glimpse into the life of animals and relationships is really a worthwhile watch. 7.5 out of 10.