Bean Bandit, known to authorities as the Roadbuster, is a driver-for-hire who will get himself mixed up with anybody who pays enough. He’s as savvy and street smart as they come. Along with his associate, weapons expert Rally, Bean has time and time again made the police department look foolish. Not being discriminatory towards his clientele has gotten Bean in trouble before, and this time it looks as if he has bitten off more than he can chew…
summary by Kain
Highs: Stylish, entertaining action from start to finish
Lows: Cut short by external factors; may be too unrealistic for some
Before Gunsmith Cats, Sonoda Kenichi made a name for himself with his popular Riding Bean manga. The Riding Bean anime was sure to be faithful to its source material given Sonoda’s near-obsessive attention to detail. Alas, litigation prematurely ended what could have been a great OVA series.
Riding Bean was never meant to be a deep character study. In fact, his characters are rather two-dimensional when it comes to complexity; what he does specialize in, however, is erasing the line between good and bad. Bean Bandit and Rally could hardly be confused for good Samaritans, and no one pits people from the wrong side of the tracks against each other better than Sonoda. From the police to the thieves to the hired guns, everyone has that cold, emotionless crocodile smile that belies their true intentions. Combine this with outlandish, over-the-top action sequences and we have one helluva entertaining anime. This show has style and lots of it.
Arguments between production companies concerning licensing have halted any production of a continuation to Riding Bean. Thus, the story ends with just one, forty-minute OVA. Through no fault of its own, the result is that the story is too abrupt and feels unfinished. I realize this was due to circumstances beyond Sonoda’s control, but it is my duty to report the hard facts and deduct accordingly. I can’t award points for potential.
Riding Bean is the anime equivalent of a one-night stand: for what it’s worth I found the experience entertaining, but afterwards I slipped out the door and didn’t even leave a phone number.
Riding Bean can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.