Being a Kenichi Sonoda fan, I was looking forward to seeing this anime. After all, it features Bean Bandit, one of Sonoda's best characters. While Bean Bandit is the same character as featured in the Gunsmith Cats manga, Rally Vincent is not the same (shucks). I don't know the legal specifics as to why this is, but I believe it has something to do with licensing issues.
While I wasn't expecting much in the way of a good story, I was disappointed by the simplicity found here. It centers around Bean Bandit (duh), the roughest, toughest, and slickest getaway driver in Chicago. Unfortunately, things start going wrong when he gets framed for a kidnapping he didn't commit. Now he and his partner, the gun-toting Rally, must uncover who is behind the whole thing while fighting off hordes of well-armed bad guys. The plot is very thin, and simply serves as an excuse to have a bunch of gun-wielding bad guys go after Bean Bandit. The whole thing was very straightforward and predictable, and I felt almost no tension during the duration of the video. I wasn't looking for award-winning material, but I expected a little better.
The action wasn't terribly exciting, either. This was partially due to the fact that the sound effects sounded very muted when compared to the volume level of the dialog. There was one neat car chase, but even this was marred by some sub-par animation. However, the most baffling part came at the end. I don't care how powerful Bean Bandit is, but there is no such thing as a bullet proof headband! Even though Sonoda's characters are surprisingly resistant to small-arms fire, this was waaaaaay over-the-top.
Finally, the element which really sucked out all possible enjoyment of this title, was the horrible voice acting. I honestly would like to know who hired an Elvis-impersonater to play Bean Bandit, so I could strap that person into a chair, and force them to watch their mistake over and over and over. The remainder of the characters were also pretty lame sounding, coupled with corny dialog. Remind me never to watch another AnimEigo dub.
So what had promise as a decent action flick (mainly because of Kenichi Sonoda's name attached to it) was pretty much ruined by cruddy audio. If you have plans to watch Riding Bean, then avoid the dubbed version at all costs.
The Verdict: * (awful)
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