Bean Bandit and his partner Rally Vincent are couriers for hire - transporting clients and delivering goods in his custom sports car "Roadbuster" for a hefty price. But when they are hired to escort a kidnapped girl named Chelsea to her home, they don't realize they're being framed for kidnapping as their former clients Semmerling and Carrie plan their escape with Chelsea's father and the ransom money.
Riding Bean is one of Kenichi Sonoda's early works, and though it was originally planned as a series, only one episode was ever released.
The anime follows the exploits of the legendary courier "Bean Bandit" (a truly unfortunate moniker), and his partner Irene Vincent. They are framed for the kidnapping of a wealthy heiress, and are subsequently hunted by the police and various other parties.
The art and animation of Riding Bean is quite typical of it's time, and bears a resemblance in places to the style of Lupin and Giant Robo. Riding Bean does however have something that sets it aside - the chases. Very few
animes are able to convey the feeling of a high speed pursuit, and Riding Bean is amongst the best.
The sound is of a very good quality, and all the gearheads (a.k.a. car fanatics) out there will love the roar of the engines in the anime.
Riding Bean has some memorable characters, and ironically enough, the most memorable is not Bean Bandit. It is in fact, the cars. The Bean Bandit drives a customised sports car called "The Roadbuster", and if you're like me (in other words, you like cars and racing), then you'll understand me when I say I WANT THAT CAR! If you watch the show, you'll understand why. I watched the showed at the young and impressionable age of 14, and The Roadbuster has been flitting around in my head ever since.
On the flip side, the police also have a car with which to hunt Bean Bandit - the Shelby Cobra GT500 **drools**
One other thing that needs mentioning is the character of Irene Vincent. I hope the name sounds familiar because Kenichi Sonoda later evolved her character into the famous Rally Vincent from Gunsmith Cats.
This is an enjoyable romp through the streets of Chicago, and the chases are truly memorable. If you're a fan of classic anime, or better yet, a fan of Gunsmith Cats, then this is a must watch. If you like action and adrenalin, then Riding Bean is well worth viewing.
If you're after romantic comedies, slice of life, etc, then this may not be to your tastes, but it never hurts to give it a try :)
Riding Bean is effectively a prequel (and dare I say - a pilot), of the legendary Gunsmith Cats, but it is just as enjoyable as GC. The chemistry between Bean Bandit and Irene Vincent is marvellous, and Inspector Percy is a hoot.
I found Riding Bean to be fast paced and highly enjoyable. The mixture of action and comedy is just about right for me, and I've rarely seen chases that match the ones in this show.
While many anime fans in the 1990s were familiar with Gunsmith Cats, very few have ever seen its prequel "Riding Bean". This 1989 OVA was written before Kenichi Sonada began the Gunsmith Cats manga and was intended to be its own series. However, it wasn't well received and it only got 1 episode. Why is it worth your time to watch it? The answer is simple. In addition to being hilariously stupid, it has one of the WORST English dubs in the history of anime!
Plot and characters:
The basic plot is that there is a legendary driver that will do any job for a price. Basically
think of the Transporter movies, although to be fair Riding Bean did it first. The driver is known by the rather silly alias "The Road Buster" although his real name is "Bean Bandit". You know you have a quality show when your MCs legal name sounds like some kind of ethnic slur! Bean Bandit is an 80s action hero taken to the extreme. He gets shot in the head and then has his head smashed by a car into another car, but this doesn't even slow him down! At one point he stuffs walnuts in his mouth like a squirrel, just so he can impress the audience by breaking them all with his freakishly large incisors. He is also frequently accompanied by a stock sound effect of dynamite exploding...even when nothing exploded. Seriously, this happens when he rips a car door off its hinges and happens again when he stops a speeding car with his bare hands and lifts it over his head! Bean Bandit is drawn to look like Rambo, although according to Sonada he was supposed to be Native American. I guess that's why he has the battle scars resembling warpaint and somehow can throw Bowie knives straight through cars. I like to pretend he is the bastard son of Vulcan Raven from MGS.
Riding Bean starts by showing one of Bean's typical jobs, but little does he know that his employers were actually women in disguise with really good masks and amazing voice talent! This is important because the next day, a guy drops off a young girl at Bean's apartment and tells Bean to" get her back to her father's mansion" before being shot and killed by an unknown assailant. Bean and his partner Rally Vincent, who is blonde in this incarnation, put the little girl in the car and speed off to make the delivery. However, it turns out the man faked his death with blood packets and was actually the same master of disguise from the previous night! She kidnapped a billionaire's daughter and gave the police a picture of Bean taken the previous night in order to frame him. This was all a distraction so that she could kidnap the billionaire himself. Bean is pursued by an incompetent policeman who is TOTALLY not Inspector Zenigata from Lupin the 3rd (can you taste that sarcasm yet). However, Bean figures out the disguise master's idiotic plan with the power of deus ex machina bullshit and saves the day!
While Gunsmith Cats had genuinely great action scenes and fight choreography, Riding Bean...not so much! It has some scenes that are comedic like Bean throwing a knife straight though one end of a car and out the other, but Riding Bean is more "so stupid it's hilarious" than actually good action. The plot feels even stupider than the one in Gunsmith Cats, which is saying a lot, and the characters feel very cardboard.
HOLY SHIT! I have watched some terrible dubs, but this one might just dethrone Cipher for the worst English dub in history. Usually even the worst voice actors have been in a few different anime. The cast of fucking Garzey's Wing and Madbull 34 all starred in multiple anime. Even the actors in Dark Cat at least voiced hentai both before and after working on that piece of garbage. The ENTIRE English cast of Riding Bean all had never worked in anime before and never did again! Like Cipher, these were people that seemed to have been pulled off the street at random! However, with Cipher they just have highly wooden delivery and sound like their English isn't very good. Riding Bean is an anime where the main character sounds like he was voiced by a drunken hobo who couldn't quite decide if he wanted to impersonate Elvis Presley or Billy Bob Thornton! In Cipher the characters mumbled through lines with their own voices, but Riding Bean has these street extras garbling through lines while failing hilariously to pull off an accent or overact the shit out of every line! There are 3rd grade plays that are performed WAY better than Riding Bean!
Much like its fellow dub abomination Cipher, Riding Bean features a very cheesy 80s soundtrack that will be sure to provide a few laughs at its expense.
The art and animation is vastly inferior to Gunsmith Cats because this OVA was on a very low budget. One of the artists on board was the infamous Satoshi Urushihara, but the only scene with tits looks...odd. I'm not sure if the characters were supposed to be wearing very thin, skin colored body suits or if the art wasn't quite finished and yet they put it in anyways. Perhaps Satoshi tried to draw tits despite being told not to and it is unfinished because they literally dragged him away from his animation desk while he was still working!
This anime is a fucking train wreck! I can't give it a lower score though because it is so unintentionally funny! God bless the 1980s, when an anime could be made on virtually zero budget and licensed in the US by a tiny company who only licensed 15 anime before going bankrupt! There are still some terrible anime in 2015 like Ranpo Kitan or Vampire Holmes, but Riding Bean is a special type of bad that simply doesn't exist anymore! In a way it deserves to be cherished in addition to being laughed at.
Ever imagined an anime version of "The Fast and the Furious"? Well, me neither. But if there was one, it'd probably be something similar to "Riding Bean" (okay, I concede "Initial D" might be a more obvious choice, but I haven't seen that yet).
"Riding Bean" is about cars. Cars, gangsters, and more cars, to be exact. All the action centralises around fast and furious car chases down the highway, or the main character (nicknamed "Bean Bandit") doing some incredible things with his incredible sports car (named "Roadbuster" - you just know it's a badass car because it has a name) to get him out of
what seem to be impossibly tight spots. The action is very satisfying for the most part, but does get a little *too* over the top - by the end, this Bean Bandit guy was dishing out carnage comparable to Superman.
While "Riding Bean" is an action heavy OVA, the story is surprisingly clever, as it has more than its expected share of twists and turns that kept me guessing what was going to happen next. That said, the story is sometimes compromised by the OVA's appetite for over the top action. For example, I'd hardly think people who are attempting to get hold of a captive from a car would resort to shooting the car with anti-tank guns in order to try and stop it.
On the animation side of things, "Riding Bean" does well with its great action sequences. However on the negative side, there's something weird about some of the character designs that I can't quite put my finger on. Perhaps it's that ginormous chin sported by the Bean Bandit... I just can't get over it.
I gathered from other reviews that "Riding Bean" is considered the prototype of "Gunsmith Cats", as the two share the same creator. I can certainly see the resemblence in the style and setting (as well the fanservice), and in fact, the two both feature the character Irene "Rally" Vincent (something that I didn't pick up at the time). The general consensus seems to be that "Gunsmith Cats" is superior to "Riding Bean", but I have to disagree. I thought that "Gunsmith Cats" feels a bit stale, and does not really standing out in anyway. On the other hand, while there are times when it seems like "Riding Bean" doesn't quite know what it wants to be (at one point I thought it was gonna go down the perverted path, but the moment passed without amounting to anything), it has a much more nifty plot and action that gets the adrenalin pumping a lot faster. Overall, it's a well spent hour I'd say.
I love trashy 80s anime about hyper masculine crap such as cars. It's silly trashy fun. The dub in this is beautifully bad purely because the main character who has a very enjoyably tricked out car has zero charisma. The dubbing of Percy, his arch rival, is a riot though. Percy is the over the top police detective obsessed with catching our hero, The Road Buster!!! The Road Buster (aka - Bean Bandit) does criminal underworld driving jobs and trashes many police cars every time. This anime has a strong sense of fun to it. Percy is especially fun, but take time to enjoy the
ridiculous things Bean does, like the taser bit, or the drinking coffee from the coffee machine (if my memory serves correctly). Express disbelief! That's all in the fun of this show.
The car chases and stuff are fun. There's even a mission impossible vibe with one aspect of the anime, which is great fun because it's so ridiculous.
The plot is weak but it serves its purpose well. One link in it is especially difficult to go along with. But whatever. It's 45 minutes, so I'm happy they cut out the crap and go straight to the good stuff - the action! Come to think of it, there's one point at the end where a brand new baddie turns up declaring that they're 'desperate enough at this stage' and its like, who the hell are you?
This anime gets ridiculous at the end. Roll with it. Understand that this was meant to be the pilot for a series, so presumably it had justifications for the direction it goes in. Sit back and enjoy. Seriously, just roll with it. It is what it is.
There's a bit of partner abuse and lolita-ish stuff thrown in there. So, beware if these are things that put you off.
That aside, my recommendation is to watch this being aware that it sucks, but it very enjoyably sucks and actually on its own terms totally doesn't suck. HAVE MUCH FUN.
(please do let me know yours feelings about this review via private message!)
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