Coyote Ragtime Show: Volume 2 Review
Much of the second volume of Coyote Ragtime Show deals with the struggle of Mister and his crew as they make their way to Graceland via The Big Pink: a space station that’s closest to the gate facility that they need to pass through. With 72 hours left until the Federation drop their Photonic bomb the Coyote leads a mad dash involving all parties that are desperate to reach Bruce’s treasure. So, as we pass the mid point in the series we’re treated to an action-packed collection of episodes, which means that this second volume is every bit as entertaining as the first.
Things kick off with Mister, Franca, Katana, Bishop and Swamp donning masterful disguises in order to infiltrate The Big Pink. This sets into motion one of the funnier aspects of the volume, for reasons that are immediately apparent upon seeing each character in their wonderful get-ups; it also displays the group working together on a solid swindle and highlights their strong sense of teamwork. Throughout the episode we watch the Coyote team living properly together and enjoying each other’s company to a greater extent; Franca is happy because she feels like a wanted part of the team, what with her cooking skills, even if later on she does spend a brief moment contemplating Mister’s loyalty toward her again, while Katana, Bishop and Swamp affectionately ridicule one another. But it’s when they set foot upon The Big Pink and ready their little vessel that things take a dramatically fast paced turn: Marciano is hot on their trail and heads out to Graceland Gate, while separate Guild ships advance steadily. As an opening set-up Never Change delivers a good amount of tension and bouts of comedy, not least of which involves a fun running gag involving Bishop getting lost at every turn.
Once things get going the next two episodes do away with the more important details and focus primarily on an extended chase which runs throughThe Big Pink, in what appears to be a Macross-like city marketplace. The odds are stacking up against Mister and his friends as seemingly endless fleets of fighters engage them at every turn, with Marciano grinning just around the corner and Angelica and Chelsea not too far behind. But there’s still enough time to flesh out other areas. Amongst the heavy action scenes are further character introductions and plot twists. We meet for the first time Dr. Nilson: creator of Marciano’s twelve daughters, as well as a hunter named Bennett. The arrival of Bennett proves to be significant in that he’s acting on orders to take in Marciano. Bennett heads the Guild fleet, while Marciano represents a division of sorts in the Criminal Guild; but her rebellion against the Guild is causing much concern. In turn this shows us quite a complicated character in Marciano, whose actions and ideals may prove to surprise us yet. She ends up coming face to face with Franca and reveals intent to take away Bruce’s legacy. The mystery continues, but as we draw closer to the end it becomes all the more intriguing. Meanwhile Angelica and Chelsea have nothing but the head of May to guide them, while the rest of the sisters break away in search of Mister and company, with January harbouring severe intentions to take revenge over the death of her sister September in the opening episode of volume 1. All the while, providing a serious undercurrent, is the negotiations between the Federation and the Graceland rebels, which serves to carry as much tension as possible, especially when the final episode counts down to the last 24 hours before Graceland’s scheduled destruction.
Ep. 5: Never Change
Mister informs his crew that their next step is to head out to The Big Pink, located in the Woody System. As a convoy makes its way toward the Moonwalk’s Fussa Gate, Angelica questions May about Marciano’s plan. As she pieces together the clues Mister and company prepare to get past tight security, but they’ll have plenty to worry about once they get inside their destination: The Guild has sent a fleet of ships their way while Marciano closes in on Graceland’s Gate.
Ep. 6: Fierce Fight
Marciano orders her daughters to set a course for The Big Pink; most of them happily oblige, but January’s mind is clouded with thoughts of revenge. After a lengthy pursuit in which Mister ends up getting injured by gunfire, Franca comes face to face with Marciano and learns that the head of the Criminal Guild also has her eyes set on Bruce Dockley’s legacy.
Ep. 7: Marciano the Traitor
The Coyote know they’re behind schedule and they must take drastic measures to get to Graceland soon. Mister tells Katana to fly to the Pretty Red station, which is soon destroyed. Meanwhile the Guild has sent Hunter Bennett to capture Marciano. With Guild ships fighting each other Hopefully the Coyote can get a bit of a lead on their competition.
Ep. 8: The Road to Gigabanks
There is only 72 hours left until the Federation drop their Photonic bomb. Mister is wounded, but the plan must continue and the Coyote split up and go their separate ways in order to effectively carry out the mission. Marciano and Angelica and Chelsea beat the crew to Graceland, but a surprise awaits them when they learn that the planet is almost baron. Marciano endeavours to comb the planet, but it doesn’t appear as if the Gigabanks is anywhere to be found.
As things currently stand the episodes here look and sound the same as before, so my comments will be identical:
Presented in its original 1.78:1 ratio and given anamorphic treatment, Coyote Ragtime Show looks very pleasing. The style of the series immediately leaps out, with its clean and thin line work that offers plenty of fine detail throughout. As with the majority of ADV titles related to newer digital anime series there’s next to nothing in the way of distracting artefacts; there is however some mild edge enhancement, not to mention a spot of banding and the transfer is unfortunately NTSC-PAL, but it’s nonetheless pleasant to view. Colour reproduction is superb, with the series offering plenty of vibrancy through its characters, impressive backgrounds and finely rendered CG. With spots of action taking place in outer space, in addition to night time intervals it’s good to see solid black levels and fine contrast. It’s shows like this that makes me wonder just how good they could look in HD, and hopefully it won’t be long before we get to find out.
In terms of sound ADV provides us quite the treat. On offer is both English and Japanese 5.1 Surround tracks and I’m happy to say that the series sounds fantastic. For my primary viewing session I listened to the native Japanese soundtrack and where necessary I sampled the English surround offering. Essentially these tracks are almost identical: both offer absolutely tremendous bass reproduction and the action sequences sound stunning, with machine guns, explosions and engines getting a good amount of rear coverage, which pulls the viewer right into the heart of several major conflicts. One thing to note is that the English dub is ever so slightly nuanced, with the biggest difference being the way in which the Twelve Sisters communicate with one another. Here ADV adopts a similar approach that Stand Alone Complex employed whenever Section 9 talk via cybercomms with that distinctive echo, and it works well here utilising the rear speakers, whereas the Japanese offering is far more subdued, though well handled all the same. The majority of dialogue is presented via the front channels and it remains crystal clear at all times.
Optional English subtitles are included of course, as is standard practice, and they’re of the usual high quality we’ve come to expect from ADV.
A little on the light side again. We have the usual opening and closing sequences sans credits, along with three minute’s worth of production art.
Volume 2 of Coyote Ragtime Show provides more solid entertainment in the form of great humour and exciting action. Two down, one to go. Let’s hope it continues on good form and finishes on a high.