Riding Bean has an fascinating back story. Although it might seem that Riding Bean is a spin off of Gunsmith Cats it turns out that Riding Bean was the original concept and Gunsmith Cats is the continuation of the project. But when various problems that I have never seen clearly stated occurred everything was canceled and Kenichi Sonoda took Bean’s side kick Irene Vincent and altered her a bit to create the Gunsmith Cats manga. Bean Bandit would later show up in Gunsmith Cats as a reoccurring guest star but sadly this is the only piece of animation showing off the Road Buster himself. But what a ride this one OAV is.
I remember vividly from my youth trying to rent this from the video store on multiple occasions. When I did finally get my hands on it, I was overwhelmed with joy at its lovely 80’s OVA-ness. I didn’t really have access to much information at the time, so I was in denial that there wasn’t anymore of the adventures of Bean and Rally. Much to my joy years later I learned of Bean’s appearance in the Gunsmith Cats manga, but still there is a little hole in my heart that Bean was relegated to just a side character.
Bean Bandit is an underground courier who takes all sorts of shady jobs including being a get away driver. He is infamous for being one of the best drivers around and having an amazingly tricked out car (bulletproof, variety of gimmicks in the wheels, hidden gun ports). Bean and partner Rally Vincent take a seemingly simple job of transporting a girl back to her rich father after she was rescued by kidnappers but soon discover that they have been set-up as part of a much bigger crime. While Bean is trying to get back at the people who have set him up, Detective Percy is trying to catch him in his own souped-up car.
It becomes quite obvious that Bean is a royal terror to the Chicago Police Department inspiring annoyance, fear, and awe out of those he comes in contact with. And rightfully so, I mean the man can punch through car doors and takes no damage from stun guns and bullets. Bean’s attitude is a mixture of rugged and kind of comical, like his voice always sounds very amused by things going on. However, cross him or take crap about his car and he will let you know that he isn’t playing around. I am glad he takes the creepy lesbian pedo lady to task for trying to set him up . . . and for being a creepy pedo. Speaking of though, there is a pretty skeeve scene at the beginning, but that happily is short and never happens again. As for Rally, she is one good-looking lady and probably the only one who knows how to tame Bean. She is smart and since Bean doesn’t carry a gun (that’s right the man just takes on everyone bare-handed or with a knife) the gunman and lookout, so really the all encompassing sidekick.
Bean Bandit is a man’s man. He eats like a man with good old red meat as a part of every meal and the fact that he uses a fighting knife as a utensil shouldn’t be ignored. He drives like a man in true Fast and the Furious style with the hottest car you have ever dreamed of. He fights like a man as he shrugs off bullets and being hit by a car like the were mere unpleasantries. He is also clearly a Han Solo style rouge doing any job that he gets but also shows he has a soft side as he refuses to hurt children. He is an iconic character that is hardly deep but he instantly likable and wicked cool. Fans of Rally Vincent from the Gunsmith Cats will see the groundwork for her here. She is much more his sidekick and personal assistant in Riding Bean but she is still highly capable and just as dangerous a crack shot. Had there been a full TV series they would have surely developed a romantic relationship but that is saved for Gunsmith Cats as well.
The story is not all that complex of one, but this is only 45-minutes long, and it atleast allows for a decent set-up and plenty of action. The mix of a little intrigue, multiple car chases, fights, and bits of comedy make it a well rounded and enjoyable watch. Riding Bean isn’t some life changing show, but watching Riding Bean is fun and that is what counts. Bean rocks and at the very least you will add him to the list of amazingly bad-ass dudes in anime.
Riding Bean is a fun OAV that gives you everything you could want in one delightfully easy to watch package. It has fast cars, hot women, and even hotter action. The well researched Chicago locations feel as authentic as the lovingly reproduced cars and guns. As with any Kenichi Sonoda production you do get a bit of the old loli creepiness but it is hardly anything that cannot be overlooked. The only real flaw might be that at only one episode you will be heartbroken they never made any more.
If you haven’t seen Bean Bandit in action, well then shame on you! Lucky for you we have a DVD to give away, all you have to do is leave us a comment telling us what job YOU would hire Bean Bandit for!
Entries are due by Sunday, March 28th. The winner will be notified on Monday, March 29th.
This contest has ended.