Deep space outlaws hunt treasure and are hunted themselves - by the law and the lawless.
Translated by: Satsuki Yamashita
Adapted by: Melissa Gima
What They Say
When Mister and the crew of the Coyote go visit an old friend of the pirate king, they end up staring down the barrel of a gun. Grudges run deep, but so does their love for Franca. With just two days until Planet Graceland is destroyed, can an agreement be reached in time?
Meanwhile, Madame Marciano's memories are coming back to haunt her. It's time for her to keep old promises, but she might have to step into a trap to do it. And all the while, the countdown continues...
The Coyote Ragtime Show manga isn't the kind of action series that takes itself seriously. And considering the kind of ideas it throws at you, that was a good move. A group of assassins named after the months of the year and dressed in frilly outfits (and one even has a top-hat too, for pete's sake) make it hard to stay in any kind of convincing world of outlaws and organized crime. Not that the other names or even the title are any help, either. But just because it isn't convincing doesn't mean it can't be fun, right?
And, to a moderate extent, fun is just what Coyote Ragtime show is. It moves along pretty quickly. There's plenty of gunplay, fisticuffs, treasure hunting and backstory to keep things consistently interesting. The addition of Swamp as a major character not only enhances the story by his mere presense, but also brings out a little more about Pirate King Blues and the way he relates to Swamp and Mister. It also provides the kind of atmosphere where statements about what it means to be a coyote can be made. Maybe I'm a sucker creedos and codes of honour, but I really like the way those sound.
Coyote Ragtime's main flaw is that it feels pretty rushed about half the time, and that's a little more troublesome than your average pacing flaw. The second half of the book is thick with Mister's outwitting of Madame Marciano and her gang on the one hand, and the two galaxy police officers on the other. And it simply isn't clear how key events happen. I had to reread sections two or three times before I understood them. The last scene I still haven't figured out. The book is also surprisingly short on main content. Only around 130 pages are devoted to the actual manga. The rest of the pages are filled up with a bonus comic, translation notes and two previews: one for the next volume, one for a different series. Readers who are only concerned with the story won't find this a good value.
But this second volume is nice to look at and easy to read in spite of it all. In a way it reminds me of the Sakura Wars OVA. You get the feeling that a certain parts of the story are being just skipped over, but what's there is pretty good.
This volume is packed with a more than generous selection of extras. The first in sequence and in length is a bonus comic that runs a little over 20 pages. Like a lot of bonus comics this one is pretty nonsensical, and most of the gags are pretty feeble. (I was, however, fascinated to learn what percentage of an animators body is constituted by instant noodles.) This is followed by a pretty long section of notes explaining references in the bonus comic - called "footnotes" here even though they come afterwards, apparently to distinguish them from the translation notes for the feature manga. Those succeed a relationship chart for the 12 sisters and the original inside cover illustrations. A preview for volume three and another for My Dearest Devil Princess wind it all up. There's also a colour page in the front.