|Last updated September 24, 2006.|
A new season of anime is upon us. Amonst the flurry of shows competing for our attention, ufotable's Coyote Ragtime Show is a lock. I'm not promising that the show is going to be any good, but its pedigree is of sufficent caliber that I've marked it as a must-see.
Coyote Ragtime Show is a ufotable creation. This is the company that gave us Dokkoida?!, 2X2=Shinobuden, and Futakoi Alternative. These series demonstrate that ufotable has a knack for creating goofy, smart, funny, and heartfelt, tender shows. We see that ufotable can deftly handle irony and romance and themes of loyalty and betrayal, duty and sacrifice. And it can definitely do action.
Coyote Ragtime Show looks to be a bit of a departure for ufotable in that it appears to offer more mainstream appeal. Cowboy Bebop comparisons are inevitable, but I suspect ufotable will inject a touch of their signature quirkiness and humor to keep Coyote Ragtime Show lively where other would-be Cowboy Bebop successors failed.
Finally, take heed, for given the many pleasant surprises in Futakoi Alternative that inspired several repeat viewings of that series, you can bet that I shall be scrutinizing each episode of Coyote Ragtime Show closely, looking for the clues and in-jokes ufotable is sure to leave for the watchful.
I'm not going to give a blow-by-blow of each episode of Coyote Ragtime Show, but I shall try to underscore any apparent nods to Dokkoida?!, 2x2=Shinobuden, and Futakoi Alternative that I happen to notice.
In episode one, there is an airborne insertion that is reminiscent of the the Futakoi Alternative OP, only with spiralling death and mayhem instead of cuteness and moe.
As for the show itself, I find the first episode to be very un-ufotable-like; it is a very mainstream-America-friendly show. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I am not especially taken with the first episode, and somewhat disappointed that it lacks the ufotable flair I have enjoyed in their other shows. You could tell me that Coyote Ragtime Show is a Gonzo Digimation production and I would believe you without question.
Comparisons to Cowboy Bebop are going to be unavoidable. Indeed, Coyote Ragtime Show seems almost set in the same universe, with the same flavor of futuristic science fiction and commonplace space travel and otherworldly beasts. Both series also share the same focus on anachronistic twentieth-century firearms.
However, it seems Coyote Ragtime Show eschews smoking in favor of compulsive eating as the primary oral fixation, though.
You know what Coyote Ragtime Show REALLY needs? Honest and for true? Claymation ED.
[Update: Holy crap, it DOES have a claymation ED. Gotta love ufotable.]
I'm convinced that Franca's father Bruce/Blues and Swamp are the same person. You're not fooling me, ufotable.
You know, Coyote Ragtime Show would be more entertaining if it was about the 12 Sisters instead of our motley crew of good guys. I guess that might seem too much like Gunslinger Girl in space, though.
My biggest complaint about Coyote Ragtime Show is that it tries to introduce mainstream anime fans to the moe expectations of the more odious variety of anime fan. For that reason, the show falters much as many other attempts to bridge two diverse genres often fail.
Aside from the airborne drop in the first episode (well, that and the claymation ED), essentially nothing else seems at all ufotable-esque. On the other hand, the show retains a level of quirkiness that I suspect a "red-blooded Adult Swim-only" anime fan may find unappealing. ufotable should have just stuck to its roots and turned the show into Cowboy Bebop Alternative, infused with 2x2=Shinobuden sensibilities.