So, what is meant by boilerplate entertainment? It seems a term that is thrown around in criticism/review circles often, usually as a somewhat defensive stance when it comes to looking at media. For me, it tends to be something along the lines of Guardians of the Galaxy or Ocean’s Eleven, at least for American cinema. Generally, the term refers to media that is pure entertainment value at its core, typically fun and enjoyable but ultimately not particularly deep or thought-provoking. Of course, anime has plenty of shows and movies like that, some of which I have talked about before.
Coyote Ragtime Show (Summer 2006 TV Series)
Directors: Matsuri Ouse and Takuya Nonaka
Writers: Ryunosuke Kingetsu, Matsuri Ouse and Kazuharo Sato
Mister is a well-known renegade and criminal of the galaxy in the far flung future. Having gotten broken out of jail by his comrades Katana and Bishop, Mister seeks out to find the legacy of legendary criminal Bruce, who managed to pull off the most impressive heist in the galaxy. Of course, the key to getting the treasure involves Franca, Bruce’s young daughter along with getting an old associate of Bruce, Swamp Gordon, to help out. But he has a couple of obstacles. First, he has Angelica Burns a top detective hot on his trail, but perhaps for reasons more so than initially expected. On top of that, he got a squad of goth loli attired killer meido cyborgs led by Marciano who seems to have some grudge against Bruce. And on top of that even, the planet where Bruce’s treasure is at, oh yeah set to explode within a few days and in the middle of civil war. Never can you say your day job is this difficult or fun.
Coyote Ragtime Show is Boilerplate Entertainment in that it is fun and enjoyable. Considering it’s a sci-fi action-adventure, classifying it as such isn’t much of a stretch. If it got anything going for it, it’s the nice and well-done production. Ufotable handled this one before they became well-known for other shows (Fate/Zero) and its one of the more solid looking shows from the last decade. The Opening song “Coyote” done by Naoki with Power Sound further enforces this fun and enjoyable tone and feel, getting you pumped up to watch this show.
Coyote Ragtime Show, however, is not particularly thought-provoking. The characterization, motivations, and story beats are pretty stock standard for the sci-fi adventure story, just enough but not too paper thin where it would lead me not to care about what happens. Then again, being Not Deep is not a bad thing; it’s all about intent and purpose. Coyote Ragtime Show sets out to be fun and exciting, nothing wrong with that. If anything this is highlighted by the impressive action sequences right from the start to the very end. The story, for all its rote beats, still manages to pull a few surprises (especially towards the end) and offer some emotional closure; Franca’s storyline comes to mind, as the search for her father legacy ends up being quite emotionally resonant.
The English dub is in line with this mindset of being a fun ride and shows ADV at their peak. Don Rush handled the direction while teaming up with George Manley on scripting and I got to say the dub enhances the viewing experience immensely for me. The script is fun and witty, really capturing the adventurous spirit of the story. The cast is great all around, not a single flat performance can be found. It’s nice to see John Swasey and Christine Auten, usually playing supporting/bit parts, getting the chance to play the main cast roles like Mister and Angelica Burns is quite refreshing. It is also quite hilarious hearing early career Andrew Love playing Swamp, what a riot. Kira Vincent-Davis as Marciano is another surprise, really shows her range and acting chops beyond what she typically does in anime dubs.
Overall, Coyote Ragtime Show sets out to be a fun sci-fi romp and it would be a bit much to expect otherwise from it. After all, Boilerplate Entertainment serves as a baseline, dividing the gulf between the truly great stuff we enjoy and the utter dreck we despise, a middle ground if you will. I might not have it in my 10 Favorite Anime List, but it is something worth popping it in every once in a while.
Next time, I’ll continue with something that might come across as Boilerplate Entertainment, but turns out to be something much more…..
Til next time dear readers.