This is one of the first shots in my latest fansub download: Coyote Ragtime Show. Federal Investigator Angelica Barnes is enjoying a meal before her shuttle lands on the planet Sandvil. But there’s something very wrong here. Can you spot it? (I did, the instant I saw it, so it shouldn’t be too difficult.)
As for the show itself, aside from this one goof, I have problems with the usual impossibilities. Characters who fall from ten-story buildings and have time for a conversation on the way down. And are saved from death by being caught by a speeding air/spacecraft diving in to catch them. And of course there’s the hordes of stormtroopers that can’t hit the broad side of a barn. From ten paces. With a plasma cannon. A rogue-ish hero named “Mister” and a villianous criminal guild called… what else? Criminal Guild. No, not “the criminal guild,” it’s named “Criminal Guild.”
The plot’s got more holes in it than swiss cheese, should you stop to think about what’s happening. How did the fake officer manage to impersonate the commander of the bomb squad well enough to fool the team? How does Criminal Guild find their hideout in episode 3, and nobody notices their helicopters coming in?
But that’s not what’s important. What is important is that this is just a fun damn show to watch. It’s very much a space western, with a dash of “One Piece” played sort-of straight. It’s Cowboy Bebop lite. Half the angst, none of the seriousness. And the villians! Gals you just got to love to hate, Madam Marciano’s Twelve Sisters. Deadly, bloodthirsty, vicious; they’ll kill you with a smile. Well, actually I mean they’ll be smiling — the actual implements of death will be rifles, knives, handgrenades, bare hands… just whatever is handy.
Oh, you want more than just watching them sit around? Ok, how about we start with their parachutes? Not exactly low profile, are they? As Chelsea says, “Twelve sisters? That’s just bad taste!”
Well, looky here. Over 17 minutes into the first episode, and the main character has finally arrived! Yep, Investigator Barnes and Chelsea are actually secondary (though they will apparently spend the series chasing Mister).
Or perhaps Mister shares main billing with a character introduced in the 2nd episode. So here’s the hook: the second major character is a pre-teen redhead by the name of Franca, only child of Space Pirate Blues (again, not “the space pirate Blues,” but Space Pirate Blues), who was killed by Madam Marciano three years ago. For whatever reason, Blues entrusted his daughter and the secret to some kind of treasure to Mister, not to his right-hand man, “Swamp.” Of course, the actual secret is supposed to be in the pendant she wears.
But for an unexplained reason, Mister didn’t go after it right away. Instead he settled down in hiding on Sandvil, opened up a bar and commenced raising Franca. Then he caused a major vehicle accident and got tossed in jail for a year. With only ten days left on his sentence, he stages a jailbreak to get out; but for some never-explained reason he halts the break in progress for several hours until the Twelve Sisters arrive. I think he didn’t have the ability to get completely out of the (fairly formidable prison) so he set up the initial part of the break, then lured the Sisters in to wreak havoc and allow him to make the final escape — during which he saves Barnes’, (and the warden’s) life. Except the latter actions make no sense. But who needs sense? This show isn’t about any such thing, it’s about a treasure located on a planet that’s going to be blown up in seven days! It’s One Piece with a deadline, Cowboy Bebop with outlaws instead of bounty hunters, and it intends to have fun along the way.
Now that I’ve said all that, I have two additional notes about the show. Firstly, it has the most unique ending I’ve seen in an animÃ© No, it’s not so inappropriate as Divergence Eve’s, but it is strange; it’s done entirely in claymation, set in the bar that Mister ran while raising Franca.Secondly, I am really confused about use of the -kun suffix. I had thought it was a familar form of speech, perhaps used to address children; I remember Steven Den Beste talking about its use in Rune Soldier. Here, the warden publicly refers to the Investigator as “Angelica-kun.” She carries a presidential authorization to bear weapons into the prison and orders to recieve their full cooperation. She’s sharp as hell, barely a half-step behind the bad guys. (Incidently, Chelsea is barely behind her–although nearly illiterate and very goofy, she’s got a good memory and deductive capability.) By the time the Warden calls her Angelica-kun, she has effectively taken over command of the prison. It doesn’t seem that the Warden’s being sarcastic, and he’s definately not coming on to her, so I’m at a loss to explain it.Oh, and the problem with the initial picture? Click show for the answer:
Update 10/1/06: while it was a fun series to start, the stupidity overwhelmed the action in the end. By episode six, I was really struggling to keep my enthusiasm up about the series, due to crazy-impossible stunts and nonsense plot twists. By episode 10, they were complete groaners. I gave up on the series — and then I found it just got licensed. Oh boy.