- "I'm going to kill you, have a beautiful laugh, then dance until I go mad."
- —Ladd Russo
Ladd Russo (ラッド・ルッソ Raddo Russo) is a violent hitman from the Russo Family. He is iconic for his blood lust and obsession with killing anyone who thinks they're safe from death.
Ladd has silver-blond hair (darker blonde in the anime) and blue eyes. He is usually associated with white formal attire -- his choice of color for his escapade aboard The Flying Pussyfoot, since bloodstains look pretty against white cloth. Thanks to Claire Stanfield (Felix Walken) aboard the train, Ladd's left arm is mutilated -- he loses his ring finger completely (and possibly a few others) and the flesh from his left hand all the way up to his elbow. He ends up having a metal prosthetic bolted to his arm bones. While it is as strong as his other arm, it breaks rather easily.
In the 2006 manga (which detailed the events of 1931), Ladd (drawn by Ginyuū Shijin) is drawn as younger than his 25 years of age.
Ladd can be described as having two distinct sides to his personality. One seems to be a hate-driven man bent on killing anyone that he feels are "too safe", and another more loving personality that is far more humane than one would expect from a hitman. To elaborate on the former, Ladd is a sadist; more elaborately, an extremely driven and excited sadist. He enjoys inflicting pain on others, finding the blood stimulating and refreshing to spill. His main entertainment in life is to kill. He's very intelligent, but can sometimes get too excited. Violent tendencies aside, Ladd is also seen as arrogant and rather cocky, brimming with confidence. When he questions whether a victim is scared, he merely grins, claiming that they should be, because they encountered him. His hyperactive personality can also be seen through his combat style. He's exceptionally skilled in hand-to-hand combat, especially boxing, and is also good with firearms. When in a fight, his punches are continuous and energetic, reflecting his excitable and hyperactive nature. They do, however, really hurt, and he can do some serious damage with his fists. While he acts extremely reckless at times, his body certainly has the strength of a serious fighter.
Ladd hates people who are "too safe", such as Rail Tracer, who stated that the whole world might be merely one of his dreams, Czeslaw Meyer, who, being an immortal, had no fear of death, and Huey Laforet, who is immortal as well and operates behind the scenes, away from danger. Ladd likes people who fight fearlessly, knowing they might die, (i.e. Chane Laforet) and "bastards that only he can kill" (i.e. Graham Specter).
Ladd's most notable trait is that his preference for killing, often defined as a sort of hatred, is towards people who do not fear death, almost seeing himself as a divine reminder that anyone can die. However, towards Isaac and Firo, he did not show this hatred, because Isaac was too stupid to know the fear of death (in his own words, Isaac was beyond oblivious to fear anything), and that while Firo was immortal, he was still aware and afraid of death.
Ladd also gets offended when people say they like his face. Especially in a bunch of different languages.Towards his more humane side, however, he can also show a softer side when concerning Lua, his lover and fiancée. He is truly in love with her, and this shows through his small yet affectionate gestures, such as gently cupping her chin with his hand. However, he vows that he will kill her one day, and that she will die by his hands and his hands alone.
Ladd also has a brotherly relationship with Graham Specter. Despite his personal reputation, exuberance, and killing intent, he can actually admit that simply killing itself is not a sign of strength or weakness. While at first he told the Rail Tracer that mercy towards a stranger was stupid, he seems to have been influenced by his encounter with the monster and sees mercy in a better light during his time in jail.
Going along with this "hatred" of his, Ladd himself has a lack of safety, and when he feels safe, he becomes threatened, as he did to his Uncle Placido Russo, despite claiming to love him. When he was faced with the Rail Tracer, he showed a rare moment of fear and retreated from Chane Laforet, showing that he is not without some sense of caution.
Ever since his defeat at the hands of the Rail Tracer, Ladd has mellowed out considerably. He has become more humble and is not as hate-driven as he once was, though that is not to say that it is not still there. There is simply less hatred in him than there was before. He now holds a grudge against Vino, being amongst the top of his list to kill, second only to Huey Laforet, but only because Huey was in the same prison as Ladd.
Ladd is not above being overly too dangerous, able to form bonds of unlikely friendship with people such as Isaac Dian and Firo Prochainezo . Ladd shows an uncharacteristic respect for Firo in the later storylines due to his fear of death despite his immortality, showing Ladd's twisted sense of acceptance.
Little is known about Ladd's past, except that Who one of the White Suits that accompany him on the Flying Pussyfoot was a childhood friend of his, and that his former fiancée (Leila) was killed during their elopement at an earlier age, it changed the young man into the Ladd that we all see in the current storylines. Having been a part of the Russo Family since birth, he'd been trained as an assassin, learning how to fight, defend and kill. It is unknown how he came to be this way; however, it is known that he did not have a very stable nor loving relationship with his uncle, Placido Russo, who was also the family boss. This can be seen when Ladd taunts him with a lupara, jokingly threatening to kill him. He returns to his uncle later, however, fulfilling his seemingly empty threat, killing him without mercy because he felt too safe near him.
His love for acts of violence truly shows in the glee he exhibits while fighting or killing. He is exceptionally skilled in hand-to-hand combat—particularly boxing—and the use of firearms. He also has an abnormal level of durability and stamina due to his tendency to shrug off injuries and continue fighting. Ladd is deeply in love with his fiancée, Lua Klein, although he expresses it through a passionate promise to kill her someday.
Other than Lua, he does not seem to have any other person important to him. He does, however, see certain people, such as Graham Specter, as a challenge and a worthy opponent. He also thinks of Graham as somewhat of a brother, as they once fought against each other. He sees him as someone worth being associated with.
He is one of the shaking forces present during the Flying Pussyfoot incident and is responsible for several of the deaths that took place on it, though when arrested, he pleads self-defense. He is jailed in Alcatraz regardless. Although his sentence in Alcatraz is also due to his interest in Huey Laforet, as he vows to kill him after knowing that he is the father of Chane Laforet, who he dubbed a worthy enemy after exchanging blows atop the Flying Pussyfoot.
1931: The Grand Punk Railroad Edit
Ladd first appears with his gang of White Suits and fiancée, Lua, in Placido Russo's office. They promptly claim they will rob a train and crash it to Grand Central station if they do not get their ransom. Placido lashes out against Ladd not to associate the massacre with the Russo family but Ladd tells him he's quitting, bringing his fiance with him and the others so they can ruin many lives under their white suits. He takes Placido's wedding suit and leaves to get dressed.
Upon arriving at the station, he vows to massacre every last one of them with joy. His gang also accepts this with high enthusiasm and they board the train. Isaac and Miria assume they are wedding guests.
Ladd participates in the gruesome incidents of the Flying Pussyfoot, meeting a mysterious grey magician, before conducting his killing spree on board the train to fight against Lemures who drop the name Huey Laforet , infuriating him further.
He later clashes with Jacuzzi Splot's gang, warning him that they will settle their matters after they go search for their comrade who masqueraded as a conductor.
When they arrive at the back of the train, they find the corpse of two conductors and Ladd is ecstatic with finding out who killed their comrade and vows to inflict murderous vengeance against their antagonist. He tells Lua to go hide somewhere while his gang goes on another killing spree against the Lemures.
Ladd's gang and the Lemures' battles are depicted on varying accounts on the two books, both with successes and failures. Along the way they meet a mysterious boy who asked them to kill all the passengers in the first class cabin and plans to split the money they'll get from this along with the bombs the boy had been hiding. Ladd, infuriated with the boy's seemingly condescending attitude and confidence he will not be killed, shoots his head clean off, rejecting the offer.
He later tells his friends, among them being Who, that they will continue to kill the Lemures and finally kill off the passengers since no ransom will be given. He later goes on top of the train after one of his friends tells him that someone is waiting for him, he finds Chane Laforet and the two duel amidst the speedy winds of the train's speed. They later separate after Chane flees the battle, Ladd in hot pursuit.
Later, Ladd loses Chane, but overhears from her allies that they plan to betray her to get the secret of immortality from Huey. Ladd drops down from his hiding place and interrogates them before killing them. Ladd meets with Lua and Who and tells the grey magician to help his wounded friend while telling Lua that he will settle matters once and for all, before searching for Chane.
He later confronts Chane again at the top of the speeding train and reveals he knows all about her and her father, mocking Huey's immortality and plotting to kill him endlessly, infuriating Chane and causing her to emotionally lash out at Ladd via her attacks. Their fight is interupted by a red monster, later revealed to be Claire Stanfield. The two exchange words of their philosophies amidst their duel and Ladd vows to kill this new man, Claire sees Lua joining their fight atop the train and tells Ladd that he will throw himself off the train.
Claire ties Lua around a noose against a post, forcing Ladd to save his fiance and jump off the train. It turns out the noose was fake, he swears revenge against Claire as they are flung out of the train. He uses his wounded arm to break their fall by punching a water tank with his strength, losing his arm and fatally bleeding.
The police later arrives to fetch the two of them, Ladd reveals the severity of his broken arm and is promptly arrested despite his claims that the massacres onboard the train were an act of self-defense. Lua is separated from him but they vow to meet each other again, Ladd is subsequently taken to prison and is told that he will stand trial for the murders and be imprisoned elsewhere. Ladd asks the officer where Huey Laforet is kept, and they advise him that he is in Alcatraz. Ladd says nothing else and smiles, ending his involvement with the immortals until later. Despite this, the Russo family's troubles will still continue on in 1934.
1933 - The Slash
He gets an offhanded mention from Ronnie that he will be transfering to Alcatraz soon to fulfill his desire to kill Huey Laforet to spite Chane. Huey welcomes this.
1934 - Alice in Jails Edit
An old correctional officer recalls the time he was working in a prison before when Ladd finally was transfered to Alcatraz, he noted the young killer's placid attitude and coopreation despite the cruelty the officer inflicted to the prisoners. Ladd creeped the officer out, and asked how would one be able to get a transfer to Alcatraz. The officer tells Ladd so, prompting Ladd to revert back to his extremely violent tendencies.
One day, Gustavo arrives after being jailed for the drug incident of 1932, causes a ruckus in the prison. Ladd mocks the large gangster and summons a fight with 10 men or more who were loyal to Gustavo. The officer recounts how the fight ended in a near blood bath while Ladd gleefully ate his lunch amidst a pile of unconscious bloodied prisoners. Ladd was shortly sent to solitary confinement after threatening the old officer that he should never feel like he'll never die because death comes unexpectedly. Subsequently Ladd was transfered to Alcatraz along with Al Capone and other gangsters but the correctional officer resigns his post to hide.
He narrates how he dreads the day Ladd is released from Alcatraz, getting the gut wrenching feeling that the mobster is still coming for him. The officer breaks down in fear, ending the chapter.
<To Be Continued>
Ladd is a trained hitman and formidable fighter. While on the Flying Pussyfoot, Ladd was capable of doing the most damage to the Black Suits (aka the Lemures) than any other hijacker, second only to the Rail Tracer. As he was the Leader of the White Suits, it is assumed that he was the most deadly and powerful fighter, notable as this group was made up of highly experienced assassins and hitmen. Ladd's prefers to kill using his gun, a Lupara he has named Blasty, using bullets in an orthodox, but deadly and effective manner, usually aiming for vital parts of the body and blasting them with deadly accuracy, showing remarkable marksmanship on Ladd's part. He uses his fists to savagely disfigure one's face; however, he noted that he needed to work on his right hook. It appears that by 1934, he has improved, as he was able to defeat the Runorata Gustavo in only one clear hit and snap a table like a pencil using only his right hand. Also, he was fully able to go toe-to-toe with Chane Laforet, the Lemures' strongest fighter, using a combination of his melee combat and marksmanship skills, showing that Ladd can combine the two. In the anime opening, Ladd was shown throwing darts with great accuracy. However, after he lost his left hand to the Rail Tracer, he suffered a significant loss to his capabilities and had to resort to getting a lot stronger with what he had left, additionally his new prosthetic has been stated to be one attached to his bones which means he could get killed if he use it to hit something with too much strength.
While the scenes showing it were removed in the anime adaptation, Ladd is also an extremely brilliant manipulator and is extremely good at reading people and piecing together information. All of his schemes are extremely well planned out acts to lull opponents into underestimating him or fear him so much they begin making mistakes. Only Czeslaw and the Rail Tracer genuinely disgusted him enough that he completely lost it and went berserk on them.
Ladd is infamous in the underground world, more specifically, his enjoyment to kill. According to Placido Russo, Homicidal Nutcases are wary of Ladd, further elaborating on his abilities. He also stated, when Ladd left the organization, that other mafia put more pressure on the Russo's when informed of Ladd's departure, and most of the Russo family's people felt incredible respect for the assassin as when he left, most people from the mafia left, stating that they had nothing else to do.
While not usually shown, Ladd is an expert improviser and is very quick to react to unplanned occurrences. When hurdling off of a train at deadly speed, he used his own arm to punch into a tower to save himself and Lua Klein from death.
As a member of the Russo family, he has access to all of the family's sources of income and influence. Indeed, with his incarceration, the family fell into disarray and suffered greatly without the fear that Ladd struck into their enemies. As the leader of the White Suits, he was in charge of the hijacking, and expertly coordinated all the unexpected occurrences to his own advantage. With his leadership, he made sure that his men suffered far less causalities than the Black Suits while doing considerable damage to them as well. Though he did not take into account the Rail Tracer, he was one of the few who even theorized that there was another faction on the train when Goose was the only other person to do so. Also, he had a large amount of influence over Graham Specter's gang, as Graham was his underling. It is unknown if Graham was Ladd's only underling, but Graham may be all he needs, as Graham is a powerful individual in his own right.
Lua Klein - Ladd is in love with Lua, and is one of the easiest and most complex relationships of Ladd's connections to the characters in Baccano!. Frequently, Ladd proclaims that after he has killed everyone in the world, he will kill her last, and that he will be the only one to kill her. This is a sign of affection between them.
Graham Specter - Ladd has a more rival-like relationship with Graham. After defeating him, he decided to let him live, as Graham fought well and accepted his death by a man better than him. Graham is now a close underling of Ladd and admires him as the greatest, treating him like a sacred king.
Firo Prochainezo - The mobster and Ladd form a very unlikely friendship, Ladd knew of Firo's immortality but due to Firo's constant fears of death, respects him enough to not want to subject him to constant deaths.
Isaac Dian - Isaac befriended Ladd, the mobster thinks that the Isaac is too dumb to threaten and can't tell if death is ever close at all. Despite this, Ladd finds him funny and maintains a healthy friendship throughout their incarceration.
Huey Laforet - Ladd despises Huey for him thinking he is invincible, which gets on Ladd's buttons. Ever since the Lemures mentioned Huey's invincibility and no fear of death, Ladd has been plotting to get closer to Huey to subject him to eternal pain and death that Huey would wish for death.
Chane Laforet - Due to Chane's love and loyalty to her father, she and Ladd are at each other's throats and will no doubt fight to the death when they meet again. Ladd's desire to kill Huey is to spite Chane.
Claire Stanfield - Ladd and Claire fought onboard the Flying Pussyfoot, their differing ideologies clashed heavily and now that Claire is to wed Chane, Ladd swears his vengeance upon the couple.
- Ladd was probably born in late December of 1906, given that he tells Czes on The Flying Pussyfoot that he's 'just turned 25' in the anime (original Japanese sub).
- His prisoner ID in Alcatraz was 302010.
- According to the series' creator, Ladd is his favorite character.
- The Russo Family is actually an Italian Family that immigrated to North America in the late 1800's. However, they were not associated with the underground mafias.
- Ladd has claimed that he is weaker than Jack Dempsey, a famous boxer. Ryohgo Narita, the series' creator, has confirmed this to be true.