Coyote Ragtime Show

Image of Disc 3 DVD cover (87k jpg) Image of Disc 2 DVD cover (80k jpg) Image of Disc 1 DVD cover (79k jpg)

Released by: Madman Entertainment.
Region: Four.
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Disc 1: (Fox Trot)

Disc 2: (Cliffhanger) Disc 3: (Fall from Graceland)

Mister is a Coyote or someone who operates right on the edge of the law - often breaking it if he needs to but always adhering to an internal moral code. He is heavily wanted by both the law enforcement (despite ironicly being actually in jail at the start of the series) and the Mafia- style underworld. He used to be the friend of Bruce who was widely agreed to be the best Coyote yet and the only person to succesfully rob the highest security bank vault system in the galaxy. Bruce managed to get himself killed a while back and his daughter is now under the care of Mister. But whether Mister actually cares for her or is just using her to get to Bruce's final heist is part of the ongoing story arc of the series.

Naturally because of his rule bending ways Mister is being chased by an intrepid federal agent who, for reasons never really explained, has a voracious appetite. Naturally she follows the cliche of actually respecting and liking Mister despite having a fierce sense of duty which wants to see him held accountable for his actions. Along the way she recruits a prison officer to become her assistant and she becomes an expositional foil for explaining the political situation in the universe. This is important because Bruce hid his treasure on a world currently at war with the Federation. This war has deteriorated to the point that the Federation is now planning to deploy a planet buster to end the conflict once and for all. Exactly why the genocide of an entire planet is an acceptable solution or why the Federation doesn't just leave the system isn't well explained but it does serve as a firm ticking clock against which Mister and his adversaries must race to acheive their goals.

If you are getting impression that this is a flawed series then you would be right. I really wanted to like it as it had all the ingredients I normally enjoy - science fiction backdrop, honourable rogues, dogged law enforcement agents, scheming foes and an impossible heist to pull off. If you want to see that sort of thing done right then look no further than Cowboy Bebop. Coyote Ragtime Show on the other hand is trying very hard to be something more than it is. Mister has his philosophy and is often referred to as being a clever planner yet the story itself shows little to no actual evidence of this. He simply blusters from situation to situation without a lot of forethought and mostly just reacts to what is happening. You can see the writers want him to be a self-assured, cocky and cool character who at heart cares about the people he considers family.

You also have attempts at musing on the futility and silliness of war, the honour of the thief and a severely schizophrenic Mafia boss who vascillates between chewing the scenery villany and kooky scheming. It doesn't help that no one Mister fights against seem to be marksmen of any kind. Finally you have the ambiguity of motivation for Mister over his care of Bruce's daughter. She posits several times that he is only interested in the money hidden by Bruce but we never really see Mister actually do anything to justify her concerns. This is kinda the series all over it keeps asserting various characteristics but then doesn't deliver on showing them.

So can I really recommend this series to anyone? This is probably damning it with faint praise but yes. if you are after something that will pass the time with a science fiction flavour and can almost entirely dis-engage your critical faculties then it is an okay series to watch. But actually seek this series out - no, don't bother. Go find Cowboy Bebop if you haven't seen that and if you have your time is probably better spent rewatching it than this.

Philip R. Banks
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