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/2011-02-20 14:42:12

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Episode 4: Another Rail Bites the Rust

Hey, it's another update! I did promise one before the heat death of the universe, did I not? And I do try to keep my promises. Anyway, if I still have any readers left who haven't decomposed into dust, let us once again travel back to 1931, where aboard the Flying Pussyfoot, we are greeted by gunshots and a happily deranged happyranged Ladd Russo, who is much enjoying the chaos in the dining car. A machine gun! Yes, Ladd, it's a machine gun! Ignore the figure of a frightened Nick running past you in the hallway, yelling that nobody said it was going to be like this.

Because "Ladd Russo Enjoys Talking a Lot and Killing a Lot," and he'll be damned if some pussyfoot wannabe train robber with a knife is gonna dampen his fun.

(See what I did there? No? Okay.)

Chicago, 10 hours ago. A boss type angrily confronts two of his subordinates about their failure to properly transport the money that Miriaac made off with. Apparently, some guy named Sidalis is dead too, turned into headpaste mash by Jacuzzi Splot. I didn't think you had it in you!

Enter Ladd Russo, who proceeds to demonstrate what he plans to do to Jacuzzi and company by killing both of the henchmen in short order. Uncle Bossman isn't impressed, and calls him a senseless assassin. This, Ladd can only agree with; after all, it's what makes him reliable. He goes on to say that he's planning on hijacking the Pussyfoot and crashing it straight into the middle of Manhattan... except not. He'll just create a hostage situation under that pretense and kill off half of the passengers, counting on a handsome ransom if he agrees to stop the murder and let the rest go.

Handsome Ransom, by the way, really ought to be the name of a band.

Uncle Bossman asks for a few hands to throw Ladd out of his office. He instead gets Ladd's band of accomplices, all dressed in white. It makes the blood stand out, he says. After a short exchange of philosophies, in which Ladd waves an unloaded gun in the boss's face while expounding on how much he loves to kill people who feel safe in their positions, Ladd laughingly admits that he won't kill him, because he owes Uncle Bossman a debt. Aw, how sweet. Possibly mixed with the coppery taste of the blood he's got on his face.

Oh, and we also find out Lua is Ladd's fiancée, but who couldn't have guessed that?

Meanwhile, back in ten hours later, the Adepts of Sir Huey Laforet (which, if that isn't their real name, ought to be) shoot Ladd's sole dining car henchman dead, though not before losing one of their own. VGC decides that this is the perfect time to start crawling along the outside of the train. Really, I'd consider doing that even without her car-clinging skills, because Ladd has made his entrance.

Unfortunately, nobody else possesses my plot knowledge, and so of course messy deaths ensue. After making use of his patented Talk-A-Lot-To-Avoid-Getting-Shot-At-Somehow(tm) ability, he quickly dispatches one of the two Adepts with the other's gun, and then proceeds to box the second one to death with gleeful abandon. While reciting the names of American boxers. You can really tell it's the 1930s, because Ladd considers boxing a quintessential American sport.

After some more punching and mashing, the tuxedo-clad Adept bloodily recites his last creed that the followers of Huey Laforet shall triumph, at which point Ladd takes out his eyes. I don't know if you noticed, Ladd, but voices tend to come out of people's throats, and we already know you can choke... whatever, you still managed to shut him up. By the way, Mrs. Senator Beriam, you'll be glad to know that you are now the second in line for being brutally murdered, after all the Adepts. Aren't you so reassured?

Czeslaw Meyer, for his part, makes an evil grin while tucked away in Mrs. Beriam's arms, and mutters to himself that he can use these people. I'm sure he's just recruiting for a traveling circus troupe. A very bloody traveling circus troupe.

After the eyecatch, we return to Eve Genoard, who is predictably despondent after not being able to find any news of Dallas, and the crew at the Daily Days, who have predictably withheld information about his location. Come on, you weren't really expecting these information sleuths to be quite so clueless, were you? If you did, I have a large building in Fort Meade I'd like to sell you.

A little less predictably, the Daily Days people are hiding information even from each other. Bruno lets slip something about Dallas being alive, which surprises Nicholas, who apparently thought the Gandors had done him in. "Wait, does this have something to do with the people who don't die?"

Well, isn't that an especially subtle way to remind us.

Another title card brings us back to 1930. In case you need a reminder of what's going on in this part of the story, it occurs between 1929 and 1931. Hope that helps.

Firo and Mr. Maiza once again bump into Miriaac outside the hat shop, but this time we follow the latter pair on their way inside. The shop owner has resumed reading his newspaper, which is clearly a copy of... the International Herald Tribune and Asahi Shimbun, apparently from 70-some years in the future. Really, animators, you couldn't find an old scan of the New York Times to use instead?

Isaac tells Miria to stand out as little as possible; of course, the pair then proceed to do exactly the opposite, trying out a bunch of ridiculous hats in succession. Miria remarks that none of them seem particularly suited for a robbery, so they decide to put the hats back quietly and leave the store.

Just kidding. They buy them all, and then ineffectually threaten the owner with a beating if he reports them to the police. Somehow, the old man's slow counting of bills ends up intimidating Miriaac more than their threats scare him, and they run out of the store in panic. Not before the old man frightens them into taking their change, though. I look forward to seeing this strategy at my local supermarket. "HEY, YOU! CUSTOMER-PERSON! TAKE THOSE COINS FROM THE CHANGE MACHINE OR I'LL STARE AT YOU MENACINGLY!"

Later, Isaac and Miria make comparisons of the riches they'll make from their robberies to those of Arab kings, while spinning around hand-in-hand on the street. I hate to break it to you guys, but now's a bad time to make those comparisons. Also, I'm getting really dizzy...

And then they get hit by a car.

Back on the Pussyfoot, the Adepts remark that they have no clue who these people in white are. Chane, dressed in a striking black dress thing, goes out into the hallway without a word, without objection from the hilariously-named boss Mr. Goose. She apparently only has a day to live as it stands. Mm, okay.

Motion blur cut to the people inside the car that just hit Miriaac, who, by the way, are apparently unscathed enough to stand up and start yelling something about "cowardice". Driver Ennis apologizes to her passenger, the bearded man labeled "Szilard Quates" in the opening credits, saying that they just kind of ran out into the road. With anyone else, this would be a stupid excuse, but I can totally believe it here. Quates remarks that he doesn't understand young people any more than he did 200 years ago. Yeah, well, you're only 21 once. Just like you're only 121 once. And 221 once. Basically, quit being ageist.

Oh, right, the writers nearly forgot (motion blur cut back to the Pussyfoot): Ladd orders his guys to go after the Adepts. Not that we really needed to be reminded of this.

"We can meet up again whenever. I'll tweet you if anything happens. #railwayholdup"

Right, back to Ennis and Quates, who enter a secret chamber somewhere near Grando (sic) Central Terminal. I can't decide whether this is Engrish or someone trying to keep the producers from getting sued. Master Quates hasn't been around for twenty years, but he doesn't think it's been that long. Apparently his appearance hasn't changed since then, either. Well, that makes sense. When you're old, you're old. He asks for Barnes and Stagen, but Stagen's dead. Okay, no big deal, because Barnes seems to have finished the Cure-All Elixir all by himself. What'd we need Stagen for, anyway? Quates asks Ennis to pick up Barnes in her car. Unless he's touched the elixir, in which case, kill him. Also unless he's failed to preserve the medicine, in which case, kill him.

Hm... I think it'd be faster if you told her when to keep Barnes alive. Wait, actually, if he's touched the elixir, wouldn't killing him be kind of...

And we flash forward to the scenes of Barnes being beaten in the alley by some toughs, Ennis watching the warehouse go up in flames, Ennis bumping into Firo Prochainpolymer, and Ennis running away with a button missing on her suit jacket. Just in case you forgot what happened.

Oh, right, one more train scene! There's a dark, ghostly something with bloody hands and red eyes jumping from window to window. Too bad Nice Holystone has tunnel vision.

Stay tuned for the next episode, where "Jacuzzi Splot Cries and Is Scared Yet Shows Reckless Courage." There's another ending pun, which Ayu tries to explain in a four-line translation note on a black screen for a couple of seconds after the preview is over. Ah, fansubs.

Thanks for reading. Comments go below kk.


Feb 20th 2011 at 3:34:19 PM
Yay, Rail Tracer at the end, finally!
Feb 21st 2011 at 3:57:32 PM
It lives!

Rail Tracer is quite popular with fans of the show - it seems you don't get enough blood-drenched urban legends of death and slaughter appearing in anime nowadays.

Example of: