"The Vice President Doesn't Say Anything about the Possibility of Him Being the Main Character" is the first episode of the 2007 Baccano! anime.
Funimation Blurb Edit
- First Version
Here’s what’s what: They weigh the pros and cons of jumping to conclusions where considering a caper with almost twenty lead characters that spans centuries. He takes a bullet to the head. A sharp looking young man loses a few fingers for a few seconds. She takes a dip. They don’t need luck to survive an attempted hit on their lives. A turf war is raging. Even with a bloody stump, he would still like to kill the love of his life. He’s got a big mouth and a bad habit of killing men with a certain surname. There’s still one left. They believe a cover-up is called for when corpses start stacking up along the tracks. Friends new, old, and immortal wait at the station. A journey that will soon begin is completed.
- Later Version
Here's all you need to know: A turf war is raging. He takes a bullet to the head. She takes a dip. He's got a bloody stump. He loses some fingers for a second. Friends new, old, and immortal wait at the train station.
Full SummaryEditA girl called Carol kneels on a table, surrounded by open books, newspaper clippings, and miscellaneous papers. She is joined by Gustav St. Germain, Vice President of the Daily Days, and apologizes for the mess after he rebukes her for it.
When Gustav asks what she was up to, Carol explains that she has been looking for more information about the 'story', admitting that she cannot stop thinking about the strange events that began in November 1930. Gustav folds a newspaper page and asks if she remembers a previous conversation they had held during a train journey.
The anime flashes back to the train, where Carol admires a rainbow through her seat window. Across from her, Gustav waxes philosophical over how mankind generally perceives rainbows with wonder and delight rather than thinking them harbingers of disasters. He wonders why this is the case, and asks if Carol had ever wondered similarly.
Carol admits that she has not, arguing that their job as reporters is to report on events that have already taken place, not to wonder about them. Gustav gives her three hundred and ninteen points, pointing out that as people they should never stop thinking. Furthermore, to only go so far as to ascertain whether information or true is false would make a mockery of their profession. Carol complains that thinking about something does not change its validity, to which Gustav disagrees.In the present, Gustav concludes that what they report is "merely the precursor to a conclusion," and asks Carol why she chose 1930 out of all the dates on their timeline as 'the beginning'. When she struggles for a response, Gustav berates her for not having the answers despite her position as his assistant, but offers to help her find said answers nonetheless.
Gustav proceeds to highlight the events aboard the Advena Avis and the covered-up tragedy of the Flying Pussyfoot as possible starting points, though he comments that multiple other instances on the timeline could serve just as well. When he repeats his question, Carol this time has a ready answer: she wanted to make the story easier to understand, so she chose the time when the story was first brought to their attention.Carol's answer earns her one hundred and fifty-six points, and while Gustav compliments her idea as "good" he notes that it is more important to focus on the 'characters' than the timeline. He then presents several individual as 'main character' candidates, as seen in a series of clips: Isaac Dian with his ear freshly cut while Miria Harvent cries out in horror; Ladd Russo shooting the child Czeslaw Meyer aboard the Flying Pussyfoot; and Luck Gandor (described by Gustav as "The Gandor Family's brilliant young capo") gunned down in a hail of bullets.
Carol picks up a photograph of a young man and suggests that he could be the main character instead. The scene cuts to the young man - Firo Prochainezo - on a Little Italy street, right as he acknowledges a panhandler begging for money. At Carol's pronouncement that Firo is without a doubt "main character-ish", Gustav raises an eyebrow.
Feeling generous on account of his good mood, Firo opens his visibly flush wallet and gives the beggar two dollars before continuing on his way. The beggar reaches into his bag, claiming that he wants to thank Firo with some flowers - only to pull out a knife instead, rushing him a moment later. Back in the present, Carol blushes and insists that Firo must be a good candidate.
Firo catches the knife with his right hand, earning himself a deep gouge in his middle finger and the loss of his ring and little fingers completely. The beggar laughs, and then freezes at the sight of Firo's blood flowing off his knife and back into Firo's open wounds, which seal as the fingers reattach themselves.With his right hand healed, Firo ignores the beggar's cries of "monster" and his flailing of the knife; Firo introduces himself as "Firo Prochainezo of the Martillo Family before punching the beggar in the face.
Gustav laughs and says that he sees what Carol means by "main character-ish," though he adds that there are as many sides to the same story as there are people. His words trigger a montage of black-and-white scenes invoking the zeitgeist of 1930s-era America, including: Prohibition Enforcement agents dumping and smashing barrels of alcohol; Hollywoodland and jazz bands; the homeless; unemployed men seeking jobs; and lines of men at soup kitchens, all interspersed with color shots of casinos and mobsters gunning down various establishments.The montage gives way to a large mansion, where Gustavo Bagetta orders a large group of gun-toting men to destroy all who dare to infringe upon their world - Martillos, Gandors, he does not care who they are so long as they are wiped off the face of the Earth.
In the Coraggioso, Luck informs Berga Gandor that he is presently having Tick Jefferson 'interrogate' someone. Seconds later, a Gandor member opens the door to their office and informs Don Keith Gandor that their establishments have come under fire once again – the victims this time being a gambling parlor, speakeasy, and ticket window, none of them suffered casualties. Berga surges to his feet and roars at the nerve of the Runorata Family, vowing to deliver them their comeuppance. When their subordinate says that they caught one of the perpetrators in the act, he leaves the office and violently assaults the perpetrator off-screen.
Carol asks if Gustav is implying that everything started with the mafia conflicts, to which Gustav asks her to consider 'something'. The scene returns to Gustavo, who is far less confident now that he is addressing his boss – one Don Bartolo Runorata. Nervous, Gustavo reports that his men have gunned down Luck Gandor and that he has received intelligence on a new bomb prototype. He suggests that once they obtain the explosives, dealing with the Gandors and the Martillos will be child's play.
Bartolo would rather Gustavo focus on another matter, and he takes out a photo of Dallas Genoard. Elsewhere, a girl called Eve Genoard holds up a different photograph - one of herself and a younger Dallas - and wonders where Dallas has gone.
Having recalled this exchange, Gustav looks out a window and suggests that it would not "be too strange" if he and Carol turn out to be the characters who begin the tale. Carol is intrigued.
Back in 1931, Gustavo identifies Dallas as the second son of the Genoard Family. Bartolo coldly recalls that Gustavo killed Dallas' father Raymond and older brother Jeffrey without permission, revealing that Dallas has contacted the Runoratas to accuse Gustavo of murdering his relatives. Alarmed, Gustavo protests that no proof of their murders should exist - he even paid off the court to ensure the crime would go unpunished.
The fact remains that Dallas somehow fingered Gustavo as the culprit, and Bartolo orders Gustavo to prioritize finding Dallas over his quarrel with the Gandors. He expresses no preference over whether Dallas is found dead or alive. After Bartolo leaves the room, Gustavo relays the orders to the gun-toting men assembled outside the office window. Listening to Gustavo's crude speech through the door, Bartolo calls Gustavo a "wretched bastard" under his breath.
Meanwhile at the Coraggioso, the Runorata captive is shocked when Luck and Keith join Berga outside the office; Luck should be 'dead'. Luck ignores him and calls for Tick, a cheerful-looking man with bloodstained scissors who cracks open a nearby door upon hearing his name. When Luck asks if he can fit another person into his busy schedule, Tick concedes that he can; however, as he has yet to clean the present man's blood, grease, and urine off his scissors yet, 'it' will hurt much more than normal.
Tick's current torture victim is visible behind him, bloody and slumped against the equally bloodstained back wall. Horrified by the sight of the man and Tick's scissors, the perpetrator frantically promises to tell the Gandors anything so long as they keep Tick away from him. Unamused, Luck demands the name of the individual who ordered him killed.
The scene flashes back to Luck reading a complete collection of Edgar Allen Poe's complete works in a small bookshop. When Firo greets him from the front entrance and asks what he is reading, he obliges by reading off a verse of Edgar Allen Poe's poem "Spirits of the Dead." Firo applauds the performance, but Luck admits that he used to be afraid of the poem before a certain incident that took place one year prior - when he lost all reason to be afraid of death. At Firo's lack of understanding, Luck asks him to forget everything he just said.
Firo says that strange men have started hanging around Martillo turf, and Luck guesses that they might have some connection to the Runoratas. He warns Firo to stay out of the feud after Firo offers his assistance, explaining that "Vino" will be assisting the Gandors instead. Surprised and delighted, Firo asks if "Claire" really is going to show up, and Luck confirms that Claire will be arriving in New York on the Flying Pussyfoot tomorrow morning.
It turns out that Isaac and Miria are traveling on the same train – according to Firo – as well as an old friend of Maiza's. Luck's suggestion that they go to the station and pick up their friends together is cut short when a car screeches to a halt outside the bookshop and several men open fire on the store. Firo and Luck are gunned down, collapsing in a flurry of bullet-ridden books.
Elsewhere and elsewhen, a sizable police force carries out an investigation by the railroad tracks under light snowfall. An officer pulls a sheet off one of the corpses lying alongside the tracks, and agents Edward Noah and Bill Sullivan grimace at the body's horribly mangled condition. The officer confirms that the state of the corpses is an unmistakable sign that they were once passengers aboard the Flying Pussyfoot. He estimates the corpses discovered so far number in the 'teens, though he adds that the trail of corpses continues for miles.
The officer asks the agents what happened, but they call the case 'classified' and enter their vehicle. Once inside, Bill says to Edward that the passenger list in Chicago has confirmed the presence of immortals aboard the train. Edward inquires as to the safety of a certain lady, and Bill replies that that their orders are to investigate her safety next. As he wonders if an incident this large can really be covered up, another officer approaches his window and reports that they have found survivors amongst the bodies. Bill is stunned.
Back in the bookshop, the tommy-toters finally cease fire. The shop owner gets to his knees, surveying the incredible damage to his shop – and Luck sitting up, alive and whole. Shocked, he exclaims that he saw Luck shot dead with his own two eyes.
The scene cuts to a spearwoman in the lobby of a manor, with a katana-wielding woman and others on standby in the background. The spearwoman hefts her spear and says that there should be "no problems" as Isaac cries out in pain, hand clapped to his ear. He lowers his hand a moment later; astonished, he says that the wound no longer hurts. Miria observes that the cut has disappeared completely, thinking it some sort of magic trick.
In a darkened freight hold, blood flows off the room's walls and floor and returns to Czeslaw Meyer's corpse. Czes sits up, head fully intact, and mutters, "What a useless thug."
The scene returns to the bookshop at the exact moment the tommy-toters cease fire. Blood retracts from the bookshelves just as Czes' blood did from the walls, and Firo bursts through the wrecked entrance and takes out one of the assailants moments before the automobile drives away.
Inside the shop, Luck ignores the shopkeeper's questions and calls out Firo's name. Firo – his suit as bullet-ridden as Luck's – appears in the doorway once more, throwing the man he attacked (the man whom Tick was originally torturing) onto the floor of the bookshop. Luck tells the shopkeeper that he will pay for the damages to the shop, and the shopkeeper hastily promises to keep silent about the incident. Satisfied, Luck looks down at the captured man and says that he cannot ignore the man's crimes.
A Red Shadow reads a message that has been carved into the roof of a moving train, aided by the light of the rising sun. The message's writer has pledged to wait for the figure in Manhattan, and the Shadow vows to search for the writer in turn before hopping off the side of the train.
At Grand Central Station, Firo occupies a table with Maiza and Ennis while the Gandor brothers sit at a table nearby, with the tea on their tables suggesting that they have been there for a while. Firo remarks that he has heard that the Flying Pussyfoot is a one-of-a-kind train, and is only all the more eager to see it when Luck dismisses it as 'ostentatious'. Ennis glumly informs him that the train's passenger cars have apparently been switched out for flatcars due to some sort of breakdown, which Maiza verifies and follows with a reminder that the steam engine will have been switched out for a modern electric one as well (due to procedure as opposed to an accident).
Recovering from his disappointment, Firo inquires into the character of Maiza's 'old friend'; Maiza describes his friend as introverted, someone who carries the weight of the world on his shoulders and thus appears 'fragile' as a result. Luck presumes that his friend must be the type who would not 'last long' if he were a 'normal person', and Berga chimes in that Claire is the same way for a opposite reason: he is cheerful, but too stubborn.
A crowd of armed policemen encircle Ladd and Lua Klein, a white-clad couple sitting in the snow next to the railroad tracks. Where Lua's bridal-style dress is pristine and tears streak her face, Ladd's suit is splattered with gore and blood leaks from a corner of his mouth. He asks the men if they plan on watching him bleed out or actually taking him into custody, warning them that he is in a foul mood, but the men are too cowed to move.
Wiping away Lua's tears, Ladd croons that he would have killed her sooner if he had only known things were going to turn out 'like this'. He says that he will kill her now if she likes; when she hesitates, he raises his arm into the air and demands to know if she does not want to be killed by him after all. All the policemen recoil in horror: the flesh of Ladd's left forearm is completely gone, leaving his ulna and radius fully exposed.The Flying Pussyfoot finally pulls into the station, and its passengers parade past Firo and company in varying stages of distress. Included among them are an injured woman in coveralls, a giant, a scarred woman, and an injured youth whom the scarred woman is supporting.
Elsewhere, a group of people are fishing cargo out of a river. One of them spots and calls out to a woman clinging to one of the floating crates, and she raises her head from where it was buried in her arms.While the Gandor brothers look on, Isaac and Miria reunite with Firo, Ennis, and Maiza in jovial fashion – their delight a sharp contrast to the other passengers' somber demeanor. Firo remarks that Isaac and Miria look 'like hell' and wonders what happened on the train. Behind them, Czes steps off the train and stares at Maiza with sinister intent; Maiza, upon spotting him, offers him a warm smile.
Isaac & Miria puzzle over where the place ‘Aside’ could be, after misinterpreting the title of the next episode: "Setting the Old Woman’s Qualms Aside, the Flying Pussyfoot Departs."
Differences between the Anime & Novels Edit
Click "Expand" for differences regarding the 1930 timeline.
In the anime, the scene with Firo and the beggar clearly takes place after Firo becomes immortal. However, their encounter actually takes place before Firo becomes immortal in The Rolling Bootlegs. Consequently, Firo avoids the knife entirely instead of having his fingers cut off. He also punches the beggar with a fist full of bloody coins and drops them onto the man's face and into his mouth. The anime also cuts out the entire scene succeeding their encounter, in which Edward arrives and reveals that the police were using Firo to catch the beggar in the act of murdering someone.
Click "Expand" for differences regarding the 1931 timeline.
The bookshop scene is quite different: Luck is alone when he is targeted in the bookshop (Firo is not present), and he dies by having his throat slit rather than through machine-gun fire. Firo's attitude toward the Runorata-Gandor feud also differs greatly: in the anime, he makes it clear that he will be happy to help Luck if needed; in the novels, he warns Berga that he must not drag the Martillos into the feud.
Isaac and Miria re-enter the train to fetch Czes in the novels, but Czes steps off the train on his own accord in the anime.
Fred and Who are supposed to follow the woman in coveralls off the train, but they are cut from the anime. Fred serves as the novels' red herring for Maiza's "old friend," similar to how the woman serves as a red herring for Claire, but the anime does away with having a red herring for Czes entirely by implying the connection at the end of Episode One.
Bill and Edward's discussion in the anime is a little truncated; Bill asks Edward to recite the characters of immortals in the novel, and notes that Donald Brown is currently investigating whether or not the immortals on the train had a hand in the massacre.
Jack makes a cameo as one of the delinquents retrieving the cargo from the river, but in the novels he plays a much more substantial role as one of the delinquents accompanying Jacuzzi on the Flying Pussyfoot.
While it is later pointed out in Episode 04 that Bartolo's assertion that Dallas contacted the Family must be a lie, it ought to be noted that Bartolo does not lie at all in the novels; the Runoratas are not actually hunting for Dallas like they are in the anime, so Bartolo has no reason to claim such a falsehood.
- "Still, Carol... Depending upon which of these interesting characters you focus, the same incident will behave like the surface of an ocean, changeless yet ever-changing. In other words, there may be but one event that has many stories as there are people to tell them." - Gustav St. Germain (English dub).
- "I used to be so scared of this poem I couldn't stand it. But now...it doesn't seem to bother me. Not since what happened a year ago." - Luck Gandor (English dub).