|“||Listen, Gretto. If the immortals to come are good people, if they have it in their hearts to bring miracles to this world, then the knowledge I possess is beyond any value. And so, Gretto, I think it would be a wise decision to share half of this knowledge with my brother. When you meet someone whom you trust, a truly good person, do not hesitate to come to me. And if I am no longer of this world, I am certain that you will be able to attain the secret of the elixir by combining your abilities and the knowledge I know give you. [...] Gretto. There is no one else aboard this ship whom I can trust. That is why I am asking you to accept this burden for me. Your heart is pure. This is our fate.||”|
"Everything Starts Aboard the Advenna Avis" is the seventh episode of the 2007 Baccano! anime.
- First Version
Someone gets eaten. For part of the story happening in 1711, there are a lot of familiar faces from 1930. He gets nervous when people talk about summoning demons in his presence. He says living forever isn’t the key to happiness. He says living forever is the key to happiness. A pile of clothes does not necessarily mean that someone is naked. Sometimes chanting a spell is more for dramatic flair. The best way to tell if he’s immortal is to chop his face in half. Bottoms up. The rules must be followed. He doesn’t like to share. A life of regret is longer for those who will never die. His hunger for knowledge brings out the worst in him. It is likely that they will meet again. Man overboard.
- Later Version
Here's all you need to know: In 1711, some guys from 1930 chop his face in half to check if he's immortal. There's a demon. A life of regret is longer for those who will never die. Bottom's up. Man overboard.
The episode opens in 1711 aboard the ship Advena Avis. A man named Pierre walks towards the stairs leading to the deck, lantern in hand. Hearing something, he looks around for the source; a hooded figure reaches out a hand to his forehead and devours him, leaving the lantern and the man's clothes where he stood.
The day before...
In a cabin aboard the ship, a young woman with glasses asks her companion Gretto Avaro if he is worried about his brother Maiza Avaro’s plans to summon a demon tonight. Gretto is scared and wonders if alchemists are permitted to summon demons. He doesn't think immortality is necessary or even good, and would rather have a limited life spent together with the girl, Sylvie Lumiere. Sylvie says that even if she has to give up immortality, she will not be afraid as long as she can be with Gretto.
Meanwhile, an argument has broken out in the dining hall. Szilard Quates shouts at Denkurō Tōgō that alchemists summoning demons is heresy. Victor Talbot is surprised at such thoughts, given that Szilard is a scientist. Lebreau Fermet Viralesque points out that the Grand Panacea is every alchemist’s dream, and they should obtain it even if they have to call on demons. At Szilard's' protests, he adds that should Maiza Avaro succeed, he will stand besides Synesius and Zosimus as one of the greatest alchemists.
As tensions thicken in the room, Elmer C. Albatross stands on a bench and calls out for everyone to smile. He laughs.
Huey Laforet visits Gretto and Sylvie in the cabin, advising them that there is nothing to be afraid of. He quotes from the Emerald Tablet, which is an ancient text said to reveal the secret of the primordial substance and its transmutation, with, "that which is above is like that which is below, and that which is below is like that which is above." The demon they are thinking about might not be evil. Gretto asks Huey if he is anxious, but Huey is merely looking forward to see how mankind will change after the events of tonight.
The scene skips to the next day, nighttime. Some men are investigating Pierre's fallen lantern and clothes when another man calls out to them and warns them that Italo is also missing. They hear a noise coming from the upper deck, and see that the hatch is open. A man climbs up the stairs to scan the deck, and he spots a cloaked figure. The person crawls toward him and presses its hand against the man’s forehead. The man disappears with only his clothing left, to the horror of those by the stairs below. His scream is loud enough that those in their cabins can hear it, and it spurs Elmer and Maiza to run to the scene.
The next scene returns to the ceremony. Everyone has gathered in the room per Maiza's request, and he admits to the crowd that he does not know whether performing the ritual is the right choice. He recalls that the one who taught it to him was a man who never aged, not since summoning a demon three hundred years prior, and announces he will begin those same summons.
Maiza, Gretto, and Denkurō step into the symbol Maiza has drawn, where Maiza begins reciting the ritual chant. These summons are cut off by the disembodied voice of the demon, who says that "is enough."
In the future, as men run away from the stairs in a panic, Sylvie pokes her head out of her cabin and asks what is going on. One of the men stops just long enough to warn her of an "evil monster" before rushing onward. Worried for Gretto's safety, Sylvie turns cautiously toward the stairs.
Back to the ritual. The voice denounces summoning chants as little more than complaints, revealing that he can constantly hear the alchemists' very thoughts. After remarking that it has no need of any name, much less 'demon', it dismisses the remark with a "Well, no matter" before manifesting a bowl of liquor-like liquid in Maiza's hands.
The demon announces that all who drink this elixir will be granted immortal life. Szilard steps forward to drink the elixir, an action he insists is out of skepticism rather than any eagerness to prevent death, and is quick to call the elixir a fake once several seconds pass with no change. His head is decapitated a moment later, leaving his headless corpse to crumple where it stood.
The alchemists are shocked and horrified, and then astonished to see Szilard's head reattach himself and Szilard stand not long after. Convinced that the Grand Panacea is no fake after all, everyone rushes to have their fill in turn. Though Gretto hesitates, he drinks his share once Maiza does his; meanwhile, Sylvie beside him stares at her cup with some doubt.
The demon proceeds to explain a few 'quirks' of immortality: that immortals can kill each other and how they can go about it; that the 'devourer' will gain the others' memories, experiences, and skills; and that immortals cannot use false names when within close proximity to each other. Finally, he notes that the alchemists will have to ask Maiza for the recipe should they want to recreate the elixir.
In the future, Sylvie approaches the descending stairs and stares into the blackness of the floor below.
The morning after the summoning ritual finds another argument has broken out in the dining hall. Maiza wants to seal the knowledge regarding the elixir, not wanting to let the knowledge spread throughout the world, whereas Szilard wants the knowledge for himself. Elmer's voiced support for Maiza leads many others to do the same, though Huey chooses to abstain from voting.
That night—the future—Sylvie nervous reaches for the door of a cabin. In the next moment, a hooded figure uses its right hand to slam her against the wall and pin her in place.
Earlier that evening, Maiza admits to Gretto that he is uncertain his actions were correct: humans possessing such knowledge can only lead to conflict. Worried that such 'conflict' in this case will lead to him having no choice but to kill Szilard, and considering the possibility of his own death, he transfers half of the elixir's recipe to Gretto. Unbeknownst to either of them, Szilard is eavesdropping via the keyhole.
Maiza arrives at Szilard's room intending to devour him, ignoring Elmer's insistence that Maiza must not be the one to kill first. Resolute, Maiza rips the covers off Szilard's bed and is incensed upon discovering several pillows in Szilard's place.
The scene cuts back to Sylvie and the hooded figure, who is revealed to be Szilard. Szilard refers to Gretto's love for Sylvie and his excitement at the thought of devouring a 'young girl', and Sylvie soon accuses him of having murdered Gretto. Several interspersed scenes show Gretto tied to a chair, and Szilard devouring him.
When Maiza and Elmer discover Gretto's clothes on and around the chair, Maiza grimly resumes searching for Szilard. Meanwhile, Nile severs Szilard's right arm in half and tries and fails to devour Szilard after he escapes to the top deck. Maiza and Elmer find Sylvie moments later; Maiza hurries after Nile while Elmer sticks around in case Sylvie feels like smiling.
Nile and Denkurō corner Szilard near the bow, blocking off his escape routes so that Maiza may approach and devour him. Elmer calls out to Szilard from where he is doing a handstand on the guardrail—only to fall overboard a moment later, distracting Maiza from the moment at hand. Szilard lunges for him with his right hand outstretched; Nile slashes him in half at his hip, and Szilard's two halves fall into the sea.
As Elmer drowns elsewhere in the sea, the demon—speaking directly inside Elmer's head—remarks on how 'peculiar' Elmer was for trying to "get the old man's attention." Having decided that Elmer is 'fascinating', he offers Elmer one wish; although Elmer decides upon his wish, the wish itself is not disclosed.
When Elmer comes to on the ship's deck, he coughs up water and asks what became of Szilard. Although he is disappointed to learn Szilard fell overboard, he looks over at a desolate Sylvie and once more asks her to smile. Sylvie does not, instead stating she thought Elmer had no chance whatsoever.
As Huey observes the proceedings from the lookout platform, the formless demon confesses to him that he had not expected the devouring to start as quickly as it had. He further admits to some disturbance at the thought he is to blame for the incident, though he also remarks on the apparent proof of humankind's greed. When Huey asks why the demon is speaking with him, the demon replies that the two of them are similar: they both observe the world from a detached, outsider's perspective.
The demon sighs that he was "certain this was going to be the time," but refuses to elaborate and brushes off his remark as 'sentiment'. Huey notes that the demon is acting as if he may expect something from them; the demon merely replies that he is sure he and Huey will meet each other again.
As they talk, scenes of the immortals in the future are displayed on screen: Maiza and Firo Prochainezo, looking for a hat in the haberdashery; Czes with the mortal Mary Beriam, crawling through the Flying Pussyfoot; Begg in his drug lab; and Sylvie singing in a speakeasy.
In November 1930, Maiza speaks with Ronny Schiatto, the Martillo Family’s chiamatore on the Runorata Family's interest in New York City. While he believes it would be unwise for the Martillos to provoke the Runoratas' enmity, he is confident that they have no need to fear Runorata capo Gustavo Bagetta and will not need to involve themselves for the time being.
Once Maiza leaves the office, Ronny wonders at whether Maiza truly cannot sense Szilard's ever nearer presence. He shrugs a final, "Well, no matter," invoking the demon's pet phrase.
Isaac reads out the title of the next episode, and remarks on how "Isaac and Miria" seem to have the same names as he and Miria do. Miria calls it 'weird', and Isaac declares that he and Miria will have to make sure to spread happiness around them so that they are not shown up by the other Isaac and Miria duo. Miria says that while she is not sure she understands, she finds it incredible all the same.
Differences Between the Anime & Novels
Click "Expand" for differences regarding the Advena Avis.
The immortal man who taught Maiza the ritual is Dalton Strauss. The anime treats their relationship as much less involved than it really was: Maiza speaks as if he was not all that familiar with Dalton, when in reality he had studied alchemy under Dalton for four years (1707-1711).
In the anime, Maiza transfers half of his knowledge of the elixir to Gretto through his right hand. In the novels, this exchange is only possible between an immortal to their linked homunculi, not from one immortal to another. It is also done with the left hand, not the right hand. Thus, Maiza simply tells Gretto half the secret in reality.
Szilard overhears their conversation in the novels, and later sneaks into the brothers' cabin to to steal the rest of the recipe. However, he mistakenly devours Gretto while Gretto lies asleep in bed rather than Maiza, who was asleep in the bed opposite. The anime has Szilard instead tie Gretto to a chair and devour him in order to learn the first half of the recipe.
When Szilard pins Sylvie against the wall in the anime, he remarks that he "can see why [Gretto] was so taken with [her]." Sylvie accuses Szilard of devouring Gretto upon hearing this; as Szilard makes no such obvious comment in the novels, she has no realization at that time. Moreover, the anime has Nile immediately chase Szilard after he cleaves Szilard's arm—but in the novels he stops to ask if Sylvie is all right. The anime further has Elmer and Maiza discover them and Maiza run on, whereas in the novel Elmer calls down to Nile and Sylvie from the top of the stairs.
The discussion in the mess hall following Maiza's announcement that he will not share the elixir's secret is largely anime-original dialogue. The novels only note that there were many voices of discontent rather than providing the debate itself. Similarly, Ronny does not share his surprise at how fast the devouring started to Huey in the first novel, he only murmurs it to himself.
The anime never explicitly points out that Ronny is not an actual demon or devil, but a formerly complete homunculus.
In the anime, Szilard is forced overboard when Nile cleaves him in half. In the novels, Szilard is cornered by Huey and Denkurō and jumps off the ship of his own accord. The anime also has Sylvie present when Elmer regains consciousness on deck; however, in the novels, Sylvie is elsewhere sobbing by the time he wakes.
- English Dub Commentary: The Funimation DVD release of this episode features commentary from Tyler Walker (ADR Director), Chuck Huber (Ronny; Script Writer), and R Bruce Elliott (Szilard). A fan transcription of it is available.
- All of the important named passengers aboard the Advena Avis make some sort of cameo in this episode except for Zank Rowan.
- Funimation spells the ship's name as Advenna Avis in their translation of the title. In Yen Press' official translations of the novels, published long after the anime aired, Yen Press spells the ship's name as Advena Avis.
- Funimation's English dub gives Victor Talbot a heavy pseudo-Italian accent which is blatantly mismatched, considering that he is actually an Englishman.
- Maiza and Czes speak with much heavier accents in the English dub of this episode compared to previous episodes. This was a deliberate decision on ADR director Tyler Walker's part, since he believed their accents would have softened over time. Walker also decided to have Szilard's accent hardly change across the centuries, so as to reflect Szilard's willful separation from societal change.
- Ronny Schiatto (the 'demon')
- Huey Laforet (named in previous episodes)
- Elmer C. Albatross
- Gretto Avaro
- Sylvie Lumiere
- Nile (cameo)
- Begg Garrott (cameo)
- Victor Talbot (cameo)
- Denkurō Tōgō (cameo)
- What was Elmer's wish?
- Why and how is the 'demon' working for the Martillo Family?
- Is Maiza aware of Ronny's real identity?
- Where are all the surviving immortals in the 1930s?
- The Zosimus mentioned by Fermet is Zosimos of Panapolis, a Greek alchemist and Gnostic mystic who provided one of the first definitions of alchemy. Synesius is a Greek bishop of Ptolemais who made contributions to alchemy.
- The text that Huey quotes to Gretto is from the Emerald Tablet (also known as the Smaragdine Tablet), a piece of the Hermetica that is considered one of the foundations of the European branch of alchemy.