I was fortunate enough to be lent this series by a work mate recently. From the look of the box, I thought this show would be mindless nonsensical fun that would take itself too seriously and lose my initial good impression within the first five minutes. Luckily for me I was wrong about the latter. Yes this show was mindless and complete fluff - but it was enjoyable throughout as it avoided many pitfalls of its genre, mainly though - biting off more than it could chew. The show had a strict timeline and objective to reach, and did so in a cohesive if somehow shallow manner.
The animation was great throughout. The artwork was very well rendered, characters were beautifully drawn and animated. The costume design was inventive while relying mostly on Gothic Lolita fashion for the antagonists, the protagonists were mainly wearers of everyday fashion which were also well drawn but nowhere near as detailed. The backdrops were beautifully coloured and the setting was well thought out and executed - especially on the vehicles. One could say animation was the show`s strong point.
I have to confess something about the sound here - it is that I viewed this series in the English dub. Nothing wrong with that per se, however I am only able to judge it on the merits of the American voice actors, and I`ll also be looking at the soundtrack as it would be identical to that of the original. I have to say the American cast did an amazing job on this, Mister had a dominant voice, with sass and fun to it that you would attribute to a cowboy (perfect for his character if you ask me). Angelica had a fragile manner about her in the way she was portrayed while maintaining confidence and conviction - which was a great job from the voice actor. Most of the other cast members were very well portrayed (Chelsea was the exception to me as she was a little flat and also a little cliched). I have to admit it was Swamp who was my standout in the cast. He was hilarious and his bickering with Bishop was what made the show a hoot all the way through. I am unaware how close to the original script the English version of the show stayed faithful, but the Swamp character worked really well with the street smart dialog given in the English dub. The soundtrack was overall good though it did not have any standout tracks.
The characters themselves was overall very enjoyable though one could not really say that there was much development to them from start to finish. The cast as they were at the end were pretty much who they were at the beginning. The exceptions were Angelica, Chelsea, Mister and a few of the sisters who had a chance to shine throughout the series. The characters were effective in making this series a fun ride, though a little bit more development here and there would have made the cast less disposable in that they were quite cliched albeit fun all the way through. The story starts off with a prison break and follows the adventure of the fugitive in question and the rest of his team hunting down a treasure on a deadline as the planet that the treasure is hidden on is to be bombed within ten days. They are followed by a detective and her sidekick, while also having very powerful antagonists on their tail.
The story itself develops quite well, as one knows what the end point should be and the events leading to it make sense within the structure of the show and we actually get to that end point without it dragging along. It is not a very complex story, but it is well told for the most part. As one would expect from a show of this kind, the heroes walk away for crazy situations such as getting shot, bombed, stabbed etc and being fine within 5 minutes of that happening to them - and yes, that is unrealistic but logic does not really apply within the structure of the story so one can forgive this shortcoming as realism was never something the producers aimed for.
In general I really enjoyed watching Coyote Ragtime Show ( about as much as I like typing its title actually :D ), it was fun, not mentally challenging or demanding, thus a great way to relax on the weekend. The value for it is hard to assess as it would definitely be worth purchasing from a bargain bin but since it is so mindless - one does not feel the need to rewatch it. Overall, I would place it next to the likes of City Hunter (though not as original), Nadia (though not as complex), Golden Boy (though not as essential) so if those titles have appealed to you, chances are you will find something to like here.
The story is very unoriginal, making it boringly predictable. It starts of pretty interesting but then as it changes it's point of view it falls in to very well worn routines.
The animation is very slick. The characters look good on screen. The animation is by far the best thing about this anime.
The soundtrack in this anime is reminiscent of every other action anime's soundtrack. Its ok but nothing special. The dialogue is pretty poor so the voice actors have very little to do
The characters are not presented or developed well, to the point that there is no bond at all with the characters.
Pretty to look at but boring to watch.
This series is telling us that it will be lukewarm from the first 5 minutes. Basing its appeal on heavy-dude attitude, shooting showdowns, and pretty girls, it fails to be any more interesting than your average American action movie. Even more when you realize that the series doesn’t even try to hide its American clichés.
Animated by Ufotable, a studio with many good titles, as well as many lukewarms (this of course belongs to the later case). Directed by Nonaka Takuya of the Garden of Sinners fame. This though is a shame on his portfolio.
ART SECTION: 8/10 [Cowboys fighting goth lolis … in space!]
General Artwork & Backgrounds 4/4: Although nor original, the series encompasses four different time periods in its setting:
-A Wild West flavor, in the way the characters dress and act during action scenes,
-A modern American big city flavor (New York, Las Vegas, Detroit) in the way people live and behave in their daily lives.
-A sci-fi flavor, like space stations, spaceships and some hi-tech gadgets, just to make the action scenes flashier.
-A Renaissance flavor, in the way the bad guys dress in goth-loli cloths and scheme in Machiavellian ways. So, ok, that’s essentially a Japanese fetish, but it is still based on some time period.
All of the above are presented in a colorful, detailed and stylized way, of generally higher quality than most anime series. So, the animation is generally with a big variety and of good quality.
Character Figures 2/2: Again, very good in detail and in quality, the characters look very different and interesting. The good guys look like sci-fi cowboys, the bad guys like sexy goth-loli bitches and the neutral guys like modern day cops.
Animation 1/2: The characters move in very smooth ways during the action scenes and there is almost no use of still frames and repeating footage. On the other hand, they do not move realistically. The good guys outrun bullets and survive grenade explosions, while passing-by stunts get hit in a flash. And all of the above are excused only as “hero’s luck”. Meaning, well made battle choreographies but utterly fake.
Lightning/ Visual Effects 1/2: Oh, nothing wrong with them. Explosions, gunshot lightings, turbine exhaustions, make the battles to look cool and the world of the series interesting. Still, they are used just for the sake of attracting the eye (for external presentation) and not to give a more dramatic or imposing feeling to the characters (for internal presentation).
SOUND SECTION: 4/10 [Hollywood crap.]
Voice Acting 1/3: Since the characters have nothing much to talk about, the general feeling of everything they are saying gets unavoidably dry most of the time.
–Mister! –What? – You did this? –Yeah! –You will pay for this! –Ok! … As you can tell, the series is full of cheesy one-liners. There are some good dialogues here and there but you will feel that most characters hardly have more than two sentences. In fact, some have none (they never talk, despite being there the whole time).
Music Themes 2/4: Oh, the usual American action themes. Nice to listen to, nothing to remember about.
Sound Effects 1/3: TATATATA! KABOOM! AHHHH! ZVIIIIN! POW! CRUSH! Something along those lines. Just like the visual effects, they are used for the sake of making the action flashier but have no theatrical or atmospheric appeal.
STORY SECTION: 3/10 [Steven Seagal has nothing on this!]
Premise 1/2: A guy named Mister and his crew burst out of prison, proceed into finding his dead friend’s daughter and organize in order to find a treasure and stop a group of cyborg goth-loli assassins.
Way too reminiscent of American action movies, the story is nothing more than an excuse for cool battles and cheesy drama.
Pacing 1/2: With only 12 episodes and a typical story, the plot is quite linear and mostly predictable. Some events may take you by surprise and some flashbacks may give you an unexpected sad side to the story. But in the end, it’s a bunch of Rambo-like dudes who seem to always survive, no matter the situation.
Complexity 0/2: No side stories. All three individual groups circle around the same goal.
Plausibility 0/2: No realism. All events feel forced and convenient. Just in the first episode, an entire army of prison guards shoots pointlessly at the bad guys and gets killed like flies. The hero breaks a smile, gets a rocket launcher (although he is a prisoner!), defeats one bad guy for fun, exchanges some lame one-liners and proceeds into summoning a pack of alien beast to wreck the prison and escape without even breaking a sweat. Expect something similar on almost every episode. There are some cases where the good guys are in a pinch, but there is always some out of place solution to get away.
Conclusion 1/2: A great shoot out and then a cheesy ending. Just like an American movie.
CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10 [RAMBOOO!]
Presence 2/2: Very cool and imposing or sexy characters fill the screen. If you like heavy-dude cowboys, cool trendy men, cyborg chicks dressed in goth, and edgy lolitas, this is your abode.
Personality - Backdrop - Development 2/6: Too many characters, too little driving force. Almost all characters are there just for flavor and have no character development or even a background. For instance, there are 13 evil women in the story, all of which have a different demeanor. But they are just a collection of harem anime archetypes (a shy one, a perky one, a butchy one, etc.) and don’t actually do anything differently or individually. So, there is effectively only ONE bad guy in the story. Something similar is happening to the good guys, who are essentially just variations of Mister, and the two police officers who are just a serious one and a giggly one, doing the same stuff.
Catharsis 1/2: Since there is a simple conclusion, there is a simple catharsis but not a solid one. A sequel can pop up anytime.
VALUE SECTION: 2/10 [The safe is empty.]
Historical Value 0/3: Not famous at all.
Rewatchability 1/3: Maybe just to watch those cool action scenes.
Memorability 1/4: Way too reminiscent of most generic American action movies.
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 2/10 [Sex and violence always sell.]
The first 2 episodes and the last one had some very nice battles. Totally fake but cool nonetheless. The rest of the episodes are boring.
A Hollywood imitator with some Japanese overtones (goth-loli).
Cowboy Bebop. Same form of setting, better characters.
Black Lagoon. Same fake and extreme shooting showdowns, but with more social issues involved.
Get ready for a wild space pirate ride filled with killer android lolis and a likeable group of space pirates also known as Coyotes! While not being the most profound anime out there Coyote Ragtime Show is what a it is- an exciting space adventure with an amusing cast of characters. It had a bit of a Treasure Island feel to it.
Nefarious criminal known best as "Mister" has broken out of prison and is now in a race against time, (and a group of android assassins) to reach a treasure left behind by his late friend the king of pirates. The story behind this anime is quite simplistic and straightforward. A race to reach a treasure from planet "Graceland" before it's scheduled to blow up. There's also the kid/ guardian forming a bond story between the main protagonist "Mister" and the young orphan girl. There are a couple of times when flashbacks try to add some depth to some of the characters backgrounds, but they really don't add too much and fail to clarify much of anything.
The animation in this show is fun to watch, though nothing spectacular. Mister and his crew are being chased by 12 lolita assassins throughout the anime and this leads to plenty of gun fights and space battles. While being fun to watch there's nothing in this anime that really stands out compared to other anime in this genre.
This anime had a decent opening and a lot of good voice actors. There was also a lot of cool sounds effects from guns and explosions, as well as space ship battles. All in all, not bad.
The characters in this anime are fun to look at and several have fun and interesting personalities, but they all seemed to lack depth. The lolita assassins were all androids so I guess we can't really expect much of a personality from them, though they did have their own quirks that were sometimes amusing. The relationship between Mister and the orphan Franca is the most depth you'll get from this show, but it's really just Franca deciding whether or not she can trust Mister. Mister's crew features some fun and amusing characters in Bishop, Katana and the former criminal turned pastor Swamp Gordon. The verbal fights between Bishop and Swamp can be funny at times. The federal agent Angelica and her partner Chelsea really don't add much to the show in my opinion, other than adding another party to the list of people chasing Mister for their own reasons that not even Angelica is sure about.
Ok, despite not having much depth to this show it's still fun to watch, doing a decent job of mixing pirate criminals with space adventure. Don't expect to take much from this anime other than a fun space heist where the heros never die and you'll probably have fun watching it. No guarantees on this one though as it's not the best show out there so I'd only recommend it if you looking for something amusing to kill some time with.
Coyote Ragtime tries to be the next Cowboy Bebop, which is fine, because we could all use more shows like that. However, they fail to capture the edge and tone of Bebop and offer extremely little in the way of character development, story, and animated action. It's starts with promise, but degrades around episode 5 and remains muddled, and uninteresting for the rest of the ride. It's a S.A.V.E. and might work for some, so I'll try and steer the right crowd to it, and help others fly far, far away to more interesting galaxies and from this perfect example in cloned mediocrity.
There's a large cast of characters to explore. They all look interesting on the surface and each feels like a candidate for depth or at least, amusement. They become cliché’s quickly, depth is never explored and finding amusement becomes a chore. The beginning revolves around a female investigator who's tracking down the main character "Mister." If they would have kept the narrative with her, it would have worked, but they gave her a clueless, blinking vixen that seems placed there for fan service only. They also decided to follow Mister and his placid crew of character clones. There's a female criminal leader who employs a group of cyborg, death maids. While that sounds like a cue to role your eyes, they are the most entertaining part of the show. They try to isolate some key maids and develop some melodrama with them, but it's predictable and unnecessary.
"National Treasure in Space". Where's the space pirate loot? A simple drive that works, but it doesn't go anywhere interesting. I've seen other reviews of this show saying that it's fast paced. Just because they're racing to the treasure doesn't mean the narrative favors speed. This is slowly planned out. The token cute girl character wonders if Mister really cares about her or the treasure, and we beat the hell out of that dead horse. The main villainess has a sorted past and hides being ashamed of why she killed the pirate king. Where they lovers? Why did she kill him? I know we'll find out eventually, but I stopped caring after 10 episodes and the answer wasn't worth the forced intrigue.
As with a lot of anime, the first 2 episodes have promising animation and the rest is degraded. It's not bad. There are some worthwhile visuals in here, but most of it showcases 3 frame movements, washed-out, pastel images, poorly integrated CG, and lighting effects that where clearly added in post production to save the artists having to draw characters in different environments. Some of the character designs are pretty solid, and some of the action fits well, but that's it. The rest is boring studio tricks designed to simplify production, because they know that most fans don't notice.
All in all, Coyote Ragtime Show should have an age restriction on it: AGES 17 AND BELOW. It's colorful, quirky and cool with some action, and some murder-maid-bots. That seems to meet the bar of youth expectation in anime, but if you're a bit older, the constant spoon feeding of storylines, flat dialogue that does nothing except reestablish what you already know, and the zero payoff in terms of action, growth, art, and execution, leave you feeling like you've done nothing but waste time. I was less aggravated about having lost money, and more so about having lost time.