Nov 8, 2015
literaturenerd (All reviews)

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.

Voice Acting:

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.