Review by: Clive Owen
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Running Time: 300 minutes
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: November 18, 2008
Give me that old bullets and bank heists ragtime show.
“Toss in the line and if they’re not hooked in the first five minutes then this isn’t a fish worth reeling in, kids.”
This is something I once heard a cinema arts professor say to us in class and in Hollywood as well as any other art form this is gospel. In the first five minutes, a movie/show/anime series must capture the viewer’s attention and hold it long enough for them to want to see more. Coyote Ragtime Show manages to catch your attention and then hook you in the few minutes that make up the first episode of this action-packed sci-fi anime series with plenty of guns and madcap violence in all 12 episodes of The Complete Series Box Set.
Coyote Ragtime Show pushes the envelope from Episode 1 where we meet the lovely yet gluttonous Angelica Burns who happens to be an Inspector with Presidential orders to head to a desert city’s maximum security prison to bring back an inmate of great importance to her. Angelica – who is tough-as-nails and able to down a whole burger without touching it with her hands – has been chasing this criminal for four years and she believes that this inmate is the pirate (or Coyote) known only as Mister. It turns out she was right but at the same time, a prison break is staged by Mister’s old comrades, Bishop and Katana. If that wasn’t bad enough, an old foe named Madam Marciano sends her small army of female android assassins famously known as Marciano’s 12 Sisters to eliminate Mister.
Back in his old bar after having been away for a year, we meet Franca who Mister has been taking care of ever since her father’s murder by the hands of an old enemy. Franca is convinced Mister has kept her safe for all this time because of her necklace – a gift left behind by her father that also happens to be the key to a hidden treasure meant for her. You see, Franca’s father was known throughout the criminal underworld as the Pirate King Bruce who was responsible for one of the biggest heists known on any planet. Unfortunately, Franca and Mister aren’t the only ones that know about the hidden loot seeing as the mysterious Madam Marciano is closing in on Mister’s trail. Oh, and to make things even worst, is the fact that said hidden loot just so happens to be on a planet named Graceland that is about to be destroyed by a warring government in a few days.
The episodes follow the coyotes on the trail of Bruce’s hidden loot while Marciano’s motley crew of cute assassins that favor the Gothic Lolita look are close behind. Oh, and Angelica (along with her new cute bubbly partner named Chelsea and the still-working severed head of one of the 12 Sisters) is trailing behind but determined to capture Mister once and for all. With so much heat on them, Mister and his crew do a fine job of evading them but they know they can’t get very far without a man that was involved in the actual heist … a reformed coyote named Swamp Gordon who lives his life as a preacher.
We actually do get to see the heist via the crystal in Franca’s necklace that happens to have been a fragment of Bruce’s artificial eye that recorded the planning stage and execution of one of the biggest heists. Actually, the heist episode is one of many highlights of the 12 episodes on the box set. It makes the heist in the updated “Ocean’s Eleven” pale in comparison and knowing Mister and Franca will have to go through a similar vault makes it even more exciting.
In the later episodes, Mister and his crew infiltrate the “Big Pink” gateway that will lead to Graceland. With evacuations taking place, the crew finds it hard to get into Graceland while everyone is trying to get out. It also doesn’t help that the 12 Sisters have closed in on them and clashing with the coyotes. Yet when they do manage to pass through the gateway, the crew is confronted with a new dilemma … if you knew you could save a planet would you put aside your greed to do the right thing?
The conclusion leads to the best moments in the show, which is a final confrontation that reveals Marciano’s past and insistence on fighting Mister. We also come to know why Angelica is determined to find Mister and when they team up in the final episodes there’s a moment shared between the two that goes beyond mutual admiration. In the end, the crew becomes more than just selfish pirates but start acting like heroes.
Coyote Ragtime Show certainly doesn’t pull any punches in the action department and it’s one of the coolest ones that make the gunplay look fun rather than realistic. I mean, how can we take a show series when the troupe of villains (all named after the months in the Gregorian calendar) skydive in cute outfits and carrying big guns. With the exception of Franca, the rest of the cast of characters are great and a handful of them are actually unforgettable (like Angelica Burns). There are also moments that are a bit too silly such as a flashback, Mister is seen surfing a giant wave caused by a tsunami. Secondly, the dialogue is clichéd and the profanity just seems like it was sprinkled on to make it seem cooler. At least the English dub is done right and the score is good at times.
Still, Coyote Ragtime Show: The Complete Series is a box set that’s definitely doesn’t disappoint if you like a good action anime. It’s over-the-top, bullet-fueled action makes for a fun time that isn’t quite perfect but good enough to be one of those rare treats well worth reeling in right away.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Few anime series start things off with a big bang and end it the same way but Coyote Ragtime Show definitely pulls it off well but not perfectly. The action-packed moments scattered throughout the series are over-the-top fun and the finale is utterly satisfying. It’s one of those few series you wished lasted a little longer than 12 episodes.
VIDEO QUALITY: A-
We love video quality this good and the complete series box set doesn’t disappoint in bringing us a sharp and clear picture. It’s great news seeing as the animation is awesome and fluid throughout.
AUDIO QUALITY: B+
Thankfully, the audio quality is even better and this is thanks to a great score, excellent sound effects and a solid English dub cast that handles the clichéd dialogue well. The Japanese voice cast is also good and the opening and closing theme songs are still whistled around the office.
There’s not a lot in the extras department except for some Production Art, a few trailers and a Clean Open and Closing version of the intros and closing of the show. I wish I had a poster of the Complete Box Set cover.
One of the coolest -if not silliest – action anime series to come along, Coyote Ragtime Show is a slick, action-packed joy ride you will definitely want to take. The Complete Box Set covers all 12 episodes of a series that has a great cast of characters, loads of action scenes and an overall enjoyable story. This is one Box Set you will definitely not want to miss.