Baccano! 1934 Alice in Jails - Streets Episode - Chapter 1, Part 2 of 3 (10/29)
Gonensei Chapter 1 (10/37)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Aimless speculation about Brother Chang

More ranting/speculation on stuff I don't really have the will to search for right now.

Lots and lots of rambling, baseless pondering, and very very minor spoilers for Shaitane Badi below the cut.

Was it ever explicitly stated that Chang is part of the Sun Yee On?

See, the Sun Yee On was mentioned only once to the best of my knowledge (mind you, it has been a very, very long time since I went back and read any of this), and that was way back in chapter 0 when they were in cahoots with Asahi Industries or summat. They were set against Hotel Moscow (under the guise of their trading company). There was also the mention that Hotel Moscow had beaten out the Triad around southeast Asia (said Triad may or may not have been the Sun Yee On). Since Chang is there later on managing a Triad just fine, and on (somewhat) peaceful terms with Balalaika, it's plausible to think that something might've happened to the Sun Yee On.

Normally I'd chalk this up to a bit of story inconsistency, but the thing is, Chang is identified in the novel as part of the Kan Yi Fan Triad. This organization doesn't actually exist in real life, to the best of my knowledge, but that's not the point. While the Sun Yee On was present in Roanapur to some degree back in chapter 0, come a while later Chang's in business with his Kan Yi Fan, and he's only a Pak Tsz Sin - that's the third tier of command in a Triad. He mentions his boss, the Shan Chu (leader of a Triad) being in Hong Kong.

Now, we know that Roanapur's a major city in the underworld. Balalaika's there, and she clearly has enough heft in Hotel Moscow to move on her leader's orders and take out the head of her own organization's Japan branch - indirectly, granted, but she pretty much left her fingerprints all over that shit - with impunity. The CIA's got a mole there; and they're keeping Roanapur's existence so hush-hush that not even the other organizations in the U.S. government know about it. The cartel is there, the mafia is there. Chang himself describes it as greater than any other lawless city in the world. It stands to reason that the Triads would want a slice of that pie too, and the Kan Yi Fan is apparently there to eat it.

Now, here's the question: Say for a second that the Sun Yee On was there in Roanapur, but was driven out by Hotel Moscow or otherwise forced to retreat from the city. Would the 14K, Wo Shing Wo, and Wo Hop To just stand by as some upstart organization comes in to take Sun Yee On's lucrative spot? I'm pretty sure the answer is no. Hell, the 14K was mentioned as being present in Roanapur, but it's Chang's Triad that's one of the four major players in the city. So my conclusion here is that the Kan Yi Fan must have the muscle necessary to fend off the aforementioned large Triads.

Where did they get all this manpower? Here's what I'm thinking: sometime between the events of chapter 0 and 1993, the Sun Yee On Triad suffered a hit to the upper levels of its chain of command that was so hard the entire organization was forced to disband. The Kan Yi Fan came together out of what remained, and moved to take the Sun Yee On's former spot in Roanapur. There was some fighting involved, which is when Balalaika and Chang shot the bejeesus out of each other, and this later ended in an uneasy truce as the Kan Yi Fan moved in to fill the void left by the Sun Yee On, on the condition that it wouldn't attempt to undermine Hotel Moscow like its predecessor did back in chapter 0.

This all naturally depends on whether the timeline fits. The dates in Black Lagoon are pretty hazy (we know it takes place in the mid-90's and that's pretty much it) and I've got only a couple of things to work with. Rock mentions in Shaitane Badi (which is set just before Fujiyama Gangster Paradise) that he's been part of the Lagoon Company for two years. This actually throws a bit of a wrench into everything I wrote up there, because even if the Sun Yee On was destroyed immediately after the events of chapter 0 and Chang and Balalaika had their shootout a few months after that (considering very generously that it took only that long for the Kan Yi Fan to form and organize out of what was left), and Chang and Balalaika both fully recovered from a showdown which was described as something where it wouldn't have been strange had both of them bit it, again in just a few months, that leaves Rock with barely a year and some to go through six story arcs. Unlikely, but possible.

Now here's another thing that doesn't make sense and seriously screws with the timeline even assuming that all of my guessing up there is wrong. Garcia's dad bit the big one in 1991; we see that on his tombstone. Since he was obviously still very much alive at the time of Roberta's first arc, this means that Chang and Balalaika had their showdown after Black Lagoon started... which strikes me as very improbable. But then again, the panel showing the date of Diego's death seems too deliberately placed for it to be a mistake, especially when Hiroe could easily have cut it out or blurred out the numbers altogether... Argh. My head hurts. Fuck this. I'm not awake enough to keep up this train of thought.

It's entirely possible there's something I got wrong (it's 7:30 in the morning here) or something I forgot entirely which was mentioned in the manga. It's also possible that Hiroe didn't give the matter any real thought, but I'm not so sure of that considering the almost manic level of detail he puts into his stuff.

Anyone have any thoughts?

edit: Actually I just thought of this as I posted. It's possible that the Kan Yi Fan is meant to stand in for either the Wo Shing Wo or the Wo Hop To in Black Lagoon's universe. That'd make things a bit simpler.

edit 2: Apparently the date of Diego Lovelace's death was edited to 1996 in the English publication of Black Lagoon (presumably on Hiroe's request), which removes that conundrum. Still, the problem of the Kan Yi Fan remains. Maybe I'm overthinking this.


  1. To be honest, so many of us have tried to make sense of the timeline and organizations - and the only that happens is your thoughts and conclusions turn into... giant pretzel.

    In Fanfiction we all settled on 14K, but I think in one of the vizsignature manga prints they said it was the Sun Yee On. Who knows????

    Kan Yi Fan sounds good to me.


  2. The Timeline in BL make no sence. There is a quote by Dutch (i don't know it was the Anime or the Manga) with 9/11.

  3. By the way; In Chapter 5, you see a modern like Laptop!