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/2010-12-16 18:04:14

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Episode Two: Part 1.618: Latter-Half Saints

Ladd Russo.

Does that name strike fear in your heart? Because it should; either that, or it sounds like a vaguely contemptuous way to refer to a Russian boy. I'll stick with the former, though, because it goes well with the first glimpse we get of his face. Yes, my friends, meet Ladd "Imma tear your face off" Russo, derangeteur  *

extraordinaire, the only Baccano! character whose name I'd heard before starting this liveblog. He's mean, he's green, and he will (regulators have informed my staff that I am not allowed to say these words on the air).

Mr. Russo starts off by taking note of the black-suited orchestra behind him, the ones who in our last installment were busy guarding their valuable musical instruments. He and his gang, for their part, are all dressed in white, a contrast he remarks on to the only female in his group in the most loving manner possible for an apparent asylum escapee. The woman responds in a rather mute fashion, which makes more sense once you realize her name is Lua—you see, you need to give her some "print" statements if you want her to produce any output*slap*

...ow, right, sorry, personal computers won't be invented for another forty years.  *

Let's carry on, then...

One of Ladd's posse notes that the wife and daughter of a certain Senator Beriam are riding first class, which of course means that they're ripe for terrorizing. Ladd responds by promising to "take care of the passengers," in his own special way that couldn't possibly be entirely the opposite of what the literal meaning implies. Surely his declaration that he'll "mash them" just means that he'll make some nicely-prepared potatoes for the travelers, right? And Lua's increasing look of concern has absolutely no meaning whatsoever. Even the conductor's uniform that another white-suited man has acquired was found in a completely nonviolent manner, I'm sure of it.

This at least seems to be how Miriaac are perceiving the whole affair, because somehow they believe after all of this that Ladd and company are conducting a wedding ceremony on the train. Isaac remarks that this is a perfect setting for a train robbery, to which Miria rebuts that this is the getaway train for the robbery from four minutes ago. Isaac stands in awkward shock for about five seconds, probably thinking "I knew I should have written all of this down," before shaking it off with a thumbs-up and declaring, "It's all part of the robbery!" Yeah, sure, whatever.

Finally, after much ado, the Flying Pussyfoot leaves the station, though without poor conductor Tony, who seems to be literally drifting through a sewer somewhere. The mess his decaying body causes at the water treatment plant is covered in the work comedy sequel to Baccano!, entitled Honey, I Shrunk the Kids by Dumping a Random Train Conductor's Body into the Water and Accidentally Stunting Their Growth as a Consequence.

Following is a short scene with the aforementioned Senator Beriam, in which we learn three things: (1) he's responsible for getting a possibly dangerous "thing" on board the train; (2) he considers any adverse consequences visited upon his wife and daughter by an accident involving the "thing" to be fate; and (3) he's so convinced that it's fate that he won't ask for the train to be stopped so that his family can disembark.

Sounds like a perfect family values candidate for 2012.

Back on the Pussyfoot, rumor has it that this "thing" is, in fact, a bomb prototype. Looks like we caught the TSA with their pants down on this one. Told you those "enhanced screening procedures" were ineffective. Jacuzzi Splot, one of the motley bunch I mentioned in passing in the last update and 2007's title holder for "least believable Western name in an anime series", is not taking this news well, especially since he's tasked with stealing it. His partner in crime, Nice Holystone, attempts to reassure him that everything will in fact be okay, though hearing this from someone with scars up and down her body and a missing right eye is perhaps not as comforting as she might imagine.

Following is a rather surreal turn of events where Nice tries to get the timid Jacuzzi to talk to Isaac and Miria, seated opposite them at the train bar eating incomprehensible amounts of Chinese food, and who apparently strike Nice as being movie stars. Isaac, for his part, thinks Jacuzzi is a movie star, and that the scar on his face is a tattoo. Several helpings of poorly-constructed logic later, the four of them at the bar seem to be getting along fairly well, until a young boy and girl running around the train run into Jacuzzi and nearly cause him to choke on what I guess I'm supposed to believe is a large chunk of meat. For some reason, Jacuzzi apologizes to the children for being in the way, and for being so prone to choking, and oh, why don't you just apologize to them for existing already?

The girl, by the way, is Mary Beriam, daughter of Nataly Beriam, who quickly swoops in to secure her child and apologize to Jacuzzi; the boy is Czeslaw Meyer, whose name needs a slash through that "l" that I am too non-Polish to provide. Readers may recognize him as the one I keep calling "ought-to-be-headless." He's on his way to visit family in New York, apparently.

Isaac and Miria continue on with their trail of silliness by introducing the story of the Rail Tracer, a monster who eats trains in the dead of night, vanishing its passengers one by one from back to front. Simply telling its story on a train summons it and dooms the passengers (yeah, nice going, guys). This silliness is differentiated from their usual silliness in that someone else believes it as well, namely a young red-haired conductor whose name I don't remember being given to us yet. He's at the back of the train with a senior colleague, who interrupts the story for a moment to send a secret signal using one of the train's rear lights. The intended recipient stands up and declares to a tuxedo-filled room its mantra: that they are the Lemures, self-described ghosts blessed with vitality who dedicate themselves to the pursuit of the eternal life that some Sir Huey Laforet once found. Senior Conductor Man also mentions the Lemures, by which one supposes that he is in league with the tuxedo fellows. Omitted from the proceedings, presumably, is the obligatory Donning of the Tin-Foil Hats.

Meanwhile, back up front, Jacuzzi isn't looking so warm and relaxed, and rushes to the back of a train in a panicked rush to hear from Junior Conductor Man (an acquaintance of the barkeep, you see) about how to fight off the Rail Tracer. While doing so, he bumps into (and profusely apologizes to) Ladd Russo, who seems to recognize him for some reason. Well, at least he doesn't tear the poor boy's arms off. Simultaneously, Czeslaw-of-the-slashed-L ponders for a moment why he introduced himself with his real name, and supposes that this train might have other Immortals on it. Oh, hey, now there's a word we haven't heard in a while, by which I mean one episode.

Oh, yeah, Rail Tracer. Senior Conductor Man isn't finished with his story, but it all ends up being an excessively convoluted way of saying that Dear Leader Sir Huey has been arrested and that the train's passengers are being taken hostage in order to secure his release. Man, what was with all the ghost stuff? He reveals that all those who have heard the story of the Rail Tracer die; there is no way to survive, mainly because they get shot in the face. With a gun. Hey, look, Senior Conductor Man has a gun. This gun doesn't shoot regular bullets, though — apparently the shells cause the ending credits to come up. What an unusual ability!

And in the preview for episode 3, we are duly informed that this cliffhanger will in fact not be resolved then. Instead, some guys named Randy and Pezzo are busy throwing a party. One supposes that they need to work on their timing.

As usual, the next update will be held hostage until this one gets enough comments to serve as a bargaining chip for its release. Um, I mean, thanks for reading, and I hope you look forward to the next one. Yeah. Ignore the knife in my other hand.


Dec 16th 2010 at 7:14:21 PM
Official spelling of that name is Pecho, not Pezzo.
Dec 16th 2010 at 10:10:06 PM
Pezzo makes more sense, though. I also vaguely remember seeing another spelling floating around somewhere, but I don't remember it.
Dec 17th 2010 at 3:30:22 AM
The red-headed conductor is of no importance whatsoever. Dude doesn't even gets his name in the opening credits ! He's just there to control everyone's ticket and provide some color.

The plot for this series really sounds like the setup for a joke : cultists trying to take a senator's family hostages, Ladd Russo and his totally-non-threatening crew, Jacuzzi & Nice trying to steal a bomb from the cargo, two really dumb thieves, whatever Czeslaw is up to, whatever the mysterious woman in fatigues is up to, and maybe this Rail Tracer boogieman, all meet in a train. Mayhem ensues.
Dec 17th 2010 at 3:40:55 AM
Mayhem ensues is a pretty accurate description indeed. One thing, though, I'm pretty certain Jacuzzi's scar actually is a tattoo, but they've gone and hid the details in an episode I haven't seen yet. How inconsiderate of them D:
Dec 17th 2010 at 3:18:50 PM
Well, it's clear that there are a lot of dangerous and/or crazy people aboard this train. No wonder that things tunred out as bad as they did in episode 1, huh?

By the way, why the reference to the Golden Ratio?
Dec 17th 2010 at 7:39:45 PM
This isn't spoiling much, so I'll just say that Jacuzzi's scar is indeed a tattoo; he got it after Nice lost her eye so that she wouldn't feel so bad about having a scarred face.

Also going to keep track of this Live Blog now because it is awesome; even though you really should be watching the English dub because it is spectacular. Err, in an audio-like-sense. Auscultacular? Anyway.
Dec 18th 2010 at 2:14:40 AM
/, I love you and I love your liveblog. I feel like I've said this in all the comments so far. I shall say it again! But not this time. That'd be dreadfully repetitious. I can also say that this liveblog is making me want to watch the show, but where's the fun in that?
Dec 19th 2010 at 11:00:34 PM
The fun of watching a really good show?

Example of: