Coyote Ragtime Show Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: ADV Films UK
  • MSRP: ¬£19.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Coyote Ragtime Show

Coyote Ragtime Show Vol. #1

By Bryan Morton     May 15, 2007
Release Date: April 02, 2007


Coyote Ragtime Show Vol. #1
© ADV Films UK


What They Say
So long suckers - Say sayonara to Planet Graceland!

Insurrection will not be tolerated! And to prove the point, the government has set a big, bad bomb to blast Graceland right out of the sky! To make matters worse, The King is dead. However, before Pirate King Bruce died, he hid billions in stolen loot on the doomed planet. Now, the galaxy's most infamous criminal - a mystery man known only as "Mister" - has busted out of the slammer to get his hands on the booty before it's too late! Along with King Bruce's daughter and his band of misfit "Coyotes", Mister sidesteps government goons, dodges a hottie investigator who's on his trail and fends off a dozen android Lolitas who are programmed to kill, kill, KILL! Bullets, blades, bombs, beauty and boobs - if it's capable of destruction or distraction, it's fair game in this chilling, thrilling, killing, blood-spilling first volume of Coyote Ragtime Show!

Episodes Comprise
1 - Prison Break
2 - The Girl from the Pirate Hideout
3 - The One They Called "His Right-Hand Man"
4 - Bygone Days

The Review!
Coyote Ragtime Show. Sounds like a musical or something, but then so did Cowboy Bebop, with which it maybe has a little in common. The latest series from the good folks at ufotable, who are one of those studios I automatically associate with "damn good series", CRS sees the elusive Mister on the trail of a proverbial pot of gold - all the while pursued by Investigator Angelica Barnes, and a gang of lethal androids led by Criminal Guild member Marciano...

Audio:
Audio is provided in both Japanese and English 5.1 surround tracks " I listened to the Japanese track for this review, and this is one series where the extra channels offered by 5.1 sound are put to good use, with dialogue being well positioned around the soundstage and effects making good use of the sub. It all adds up to make this one good-sounding show. There were no obvious encoding problems.

Video:
Video is presented in its original 1.78:1 widescreen aspect, and while it looks very good for the most part it's not as impressive on the eyes as it is on the ears " some areas lack background detail, and there are some noticeable instances of banding on colour gradients. Nothing too serious, but could have been better. There were no other obvious problems.

Packaging:
Mister grins out from the front cover of this release, with the diminutive Franca cradled in one arm and a very large gun pointing right at the viewer. The image is over a simple red background which has the show's logo repeated, watermark style. The reverse has the usual selection of screenshots, promotional blurb and disc info, with the screenshots framed by bullet holes - very tasteful. The cover is reversible, with Franca taking pride of place on the alternate front, clutching her father's pendant with a wistful look on her face, while Mister, Katana and Bishop grace the alternate back cover. Maybe a bit too much red on show for my liking, but the design's still eye-catching.

Menu:
Simple but effective, as usual for ADV. The main screen uses a large image of Mister's gun, with direct access to the four episodes and menus for language select and extras. There's a short gun-shot transition animation whenever you make a selection that slows menu use down a bit, but it's easy enough to use, if maybe a little on the plain side.

Extras:
Along with the usual creditless opening & closing sequences, there's a gallery of production artwork (hard to make out, sadly, as they've crammed upwards of nine images on the screen at one time in places). That's your lot.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Investigator Angelica Barnes of the Federal Bureau arrives on the desolate planet of Sandvil (famous only for its giant bugs), where she's taken an interest in the goings-on at the planetary prison. She's received a tip-off that one of the most wanted men in the universe will soon make an appearance there - and lo, no sooner has she arrived than there's a terrorist attack on the prison. But rather that her target being one of the attackers, it appears he's one of the inmates - if only she could figure out who. She's looking for a man who's known only by the nickname Mister " but while she's searching, Mister has other, more urgent business to deal with: the small matter of a cache of cash which his former associate, Pirate King Bruce, left hidden on the planet Graceland " a planet due to be reduced to ashes within the next few days, so with Bruce's daughter Franca in tow, Mister sets his plan to recover Bruce's billions in motion...

For some reason I have a Paul Simon song stuck in my head. "I'm going to Graceland, Graceland..." Moving quickly onwards, what we have here is a simple treasure hunt: Franca has the map to her dead father's secret stash on Graceland, Mister has the desire to find it, and Angelica has the desire to stop him. Add in the small matter of Graceland's imminent destruction (7 days and counting), and the race is on.

On the "good" side (in quote marks as Mister is very much the antihero who you're meant to want to win) we have Angelica, the obsessed investigator who's devoted years of her life to trying to bring Mister to justice - although quite what for is never fully explained. Beautiful, smart and determined - what's not to like? By the end of episode one she's also gained a sidekick in the form of Chelsea Moore, who for the most part is as thick as two short planks but has an impressive chest (apparently) and an equally impressive ability to remember the details of obscure criminal cases, which comes in handy more than once. She's almost Tenchi Muyo's Mihoshi reborn, in a lot of ways.

The "bad" side are Mister, his assistants Katana and Bishop (who like a good fight when it comes their way), and Franca, the young girl that Mister's been looking after since her father, the Pirate King himself, was killed. Mister's known all along that Franca knew the location of her father's horde, but has been happy to wait until she was willing to divulge the location voluntarily. What a guy. There's a certain quarrelsome husband / wife vibe going on between them, which could be considered a bit strange considering how young Franca looks, but they do make a good comedy duo at times.

But there's a third side to the contest - the Criminal Guild, as represented by Marciano and her Twelve Sisters, a lethal band of fighting androids, whose true intentions are as yet unknown. If nothing else, her androids are good at wreaking havoc, which is always good to see.

After bringing Mister together with the rest of his associates, the series moves on to explaining how Bruce came into possession of his stash " it's a story that's a little far-fetched, but there's an interest in seeing what happened from the point of view of knowing what the gang are now after, along with the little detail that Bruce stashed his loot in a replica of the bank vault he originally stole it from - that's going to make life difficult for Mister and the others when they get there. The problem is that at the end of the episode, the heist seems all just too easy, with the bank's "security" essentially being a joke. One nitpick as an example: if the vault's essentially impenetrable (think of it as a giant Rubix sphere, and you wouldn't be too far off), why pull the money out after a few small explosions? Just leave it there until things settle down. I could go on, but it would be missing the point a bit as the heist is a key event in the series. It could have been done better, though.

The other episodes are pure joy, though, with plenty of high-speed action and a lot of fun to be had watching the interactions of the characters. Angelica and Chelsea are a bit short-changed, as the main interest here is in Mister & co trying to get a safe distance from Marciano's Twelve Sisters, but they're on the periphery and still in the chase at least. The arrival of Swamp adds to the cast - while I'm still not sure why he's there in practical terms he does add to the humour. His church service especially was a hoot.

In summary:
There's really very little that's not to like about Coyote Ragtime. It's missing any sort emotional ups and downs, which may have helped add a little depth to the characters, but from the second the opening theme begins it just reaches into you and pulls a huge grin onto your face. The CG can be a little bit ropey in places, but otherwise the presentation is very good and the end result is hugely enjoyable. Roll on the next volume.

Features
Japanese Language 5.1,English Language 5.1,English Subtitles,Production Artwork Gallery,Clean Opening & Closing Animations

Review Equipment
Panasonic TX-W28R30P 28" widescreen TV; Pioneer DV-626D player; Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.

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