BACCANO! 300 B.C. ~Notorious B.E.Ginning~ (バッカーノ！B.C.300 ～Notorious B・E・Ginning～), or, "Fullmetal Metallurgist--The Bizarre Adventure-loving HomDiver from the Age of the Lion" (鋼の冶金術師――獅子の時代の奇妙な冒険野郎ホムダイバー), is a short story Ryohgo Narita wrote for the November 2007 limited Dengeki h & p (beginning and period) issue of the now-defunct Dengeki hp magazine.
The short story, which is located in the h (beginning) section of the magazine, provides an origin story for Ronny Schiatto. Although it has many parody elements, as per the magazine issue's parody theme, the story has been referenced in 1935-D Luckstreet Boys and can generally be regarded as 'canon.'
Synopsis[edit | edit source]
In a small Egyptian town circa 300 B.C., a group of eleven metallurgists wearing stone masks encircle a sphere, within which is a small black ball. The leader—Ronny Schiatto the First—cuts into his wrist so that his blood may permeate the sphere, and his ten followers do the same.
Ronny I takes off his mask and tests his disciples on what is required to create a "perfect existence." The first answers with the ability to act mercilessly even to one's loved ones for the sake of research, while the second answers with the ability to abandon one's research for the sake of one's loved ones. Ronny I says both are correct: one must "be able to separate [oneself] from the contradiction of possessing both love and apathy," and thus for the creation of a homunculus there is nothing they do not need.
He and his disciples spiral into a great deal of shouting and otherwise 'stupid commotion,' at which a disembodied voice finally commands them to cease. The voice says it is neither male nor female, as its existence is not related to such dispositions, and soon the metallurgists realize the voice is coming from the black ball at the sphere's center. Their acknowledgment of their experiment's success is nonchalant if not dismissive, which rather embarrasses the homunculus in the flask. In response, Ronny I introduces himself as "Ronny Schiatto."
The homunculus inwardly decides to observe the metallurgists "out of slight interest"—reasoning that, although it is omniscient, there is a "clear distinction between 'knowing from observation' and 'knowing from knowledge'." To anyone who perchance might be reading the story in 2007 in Japan, it requests they not think the idea 'homunculi are omniscient' is plagiarism. It continues on to describe his state of being as "knowledge itself" and the "body of this dimension," and notes that its creation used the blood, knowledge, and experiences of the metallurgists as a foundation.
As such, he cannot read the "feelings in [the metallurgists'] hearts." If it and the universe are two mirrors facing each other, than the metallurgists are the inner side. It cannot predict the metallurgists' future, nor can it grant them immortality, knowledge, and strength.
Through its observations of Ronny Schiatto the First and the metallurgists, it perceives Ronny I to be thoroughly eccentric and the chatter between him and his metallurgists nonsensical. Still, Ronny I is skilled enough as to be able to create items otherwise anachronistic to the era—and still, the homunculus cannot help but feel jealous when looking at the merry band.
Soon feeling that it has been ignored all this while, the homunculus voices this complaint to Ronny I and reminds him that—as knowledge itself—it can answer any question. Ronny I apologizes and explains he and his followers are researching immortality, to which the homunculus immediately answers: "Impossible." Without the homunculus' help, the metallurgists have no hope of achieving immortality on their own. Furthermore, the homunculus itself is not keen on helping them with the task.
It says as much to Ronny I, who serenely accepts its decision and returns to work. The homunculuc deems Ronny I 'incomprehensible', even as it privately fears Ronny I's future might involve an untimely death. This death comes to pass when, one day, an usurper demands Ronny I hand the homunculus over. Ronny I refuses and is consequently stabbed; acting without thinking, the homunculus "[blows] that assassin to the Nile."
The homunculus asks why Ronny I did not do the "smart thing" and surrender it to the usurper, and if Ronny I should not value his own life more in comparison. Ronny I responds that "this way" he is at least going to a world not even the homunculus knows of—and even if his consciousness does not reach it, he will at least see what happens after "the end" before the homunculus.
Ronny I says that the immortality elixir he has been working on is linked to a 'different world', and that to become "endless" like the homunculus would in a way mean being like its 'friend.' He asks if the homunculus is jealous that he will go to a place beyond its ken, but the homunculus claims it would just be 'bored' and thus requests Ronny I smashes its bottle before he dies—so that its "consciousness may fade back into nothing."
At this, Ronny I asks if coming out of the flask would solve the homunculus' boredom; when the homunculus counters that emerging from the flask is not so easy, Ronny I suggests it give up the future. Although the homunculus privately realizes that this may just be the trick needed to leave its flask, the prospect of becoming 'incomplete'—to lose its knowledge of the future—leaves it deeply afraid and anxious.
It admits as much to Ronny I, but Ronny I assures it that the first important step is to accept reality, the "truth." The first step is acceptance—the second is to overcome. He encourages the homunculus to use his name and property as it wishes, and to complete the elixir of immortality.
Although the homunculus had originally thought it "would not be fooled by those words," it has already given up the future by this point and thus assumes a human form outside its bottle—becoming the man Ronny Schiatto. In the next sudden moment, Ronny I sits up and amends that the homunculus does not have to do what it does not want to do; he was simply offering a suggestion, and was simply curious to see if an omniscient, omnipotent being would be fooled by all the chicken's blood on his person (which he had initially prepared to fool the assassin). With giddy laughter, he stands upright and unharmed.
Ronny I remarks on what a "shame" it is—he is unharmed, and the homunculus now reduced in power—and invites the homunculus to become his disciple. The homunculus refuses to no avail, as Ronny I is clearly confident the homunculus will be his disciple no matter its objections. The other disciples emerge from the building's confines to applaud the homunculus, who, overcome with an "intense feeling," asks if Ronny I knows of the dangerous creatures who live in the distant North. Ronny I says he has heard of them but not seen them; with a snap of its fingers, the homunculus transports itself, Ronny I, and the other metallurgists—they whom it will know for the next fifty years—to the North Pole.
When they arrive, the homunculus smiles.
In the year 200X, the homunculus—Ronny Schiatto—wakes from a doze at the Alveare. With an astonished look, his companion Maiza Avaro remarks that Ronny appeared to have been upset by some sort of nightmare—which is most unlike him. Ronny replies he was merely reminiscing about the past—seeing the events that occurred "back when those people who helped me were still alive."
So saying, he picks up his hat and leaves the Alveare. Staring up at the sun, he asks out loud if the metallurgists who have long since "died and faded and traveled to a place that even I do not know" can hear him, confessing that he cannot find much entertainment in "this future that I can no longer know."
In the evening, he returns to Alveare with several manga volumes and muses that Ronny I would have likely enjoyed things were he still alive. With a smile, he murmurs that Ronny I no longer needs to find a link to another world, for he—Ronny II—has completed the "elixir of life" in his stead.
List of Parodying References[edit | edit source]
- The story's subtitle references several different works.
- Fullmetal Metallurgist (鋼の冶金術師 Hagane no yakinjutsu-shi, lit. "Metallurgist of Steel") is a reference to the manga Fullmetal Alchemist.
- Bizarre Adventure (奇妙な冒険 Kimyō na Bōken) is a reference to the manga JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.
- Adventure-loving HomDiver (冒険野郎ホムダイバー bōken yarō homudaibā) may be spoofing the Japanese title of the 1985 American series MacGyver (冒険野郎マクガイバー Bōken yarō makugaibā). It may simultaneously be referencing the manga 81diver (as the manga is referenced later in the story), with "HomDiver" potentially being short for "Homunculus + diver."
- Age of the Lion (獅子の時代 shishi no jidai) may be a reference to the manga Napoleon: Shishi no Jidai (Napoleon: The Age of Lion, or Napoleon, Lion's Era).
- References in the Story
To be added.