Anime / Riding Bean

"I'm a tire for hire!"

Riding Bean is an Anime OVA produced by studio AIC, created by Kenichi Sonoda and directed by Yasuo Hasegawa, released in February 22, 1989 with a run-time of 48 minutes.

The anime OVA follows the exploits of Bean Bandit, a professional getaway driver (Think The Transporter) who's been framed for kidnapping the daughter of an electronics CEO. Using a series of tricks, clever plots and disguises, Bean and his friend (and trigger-woman) Rally Vincent attempt to avoid being captured as they work to clear their name. With many a good plot twist and a interesting story and plot, the OVA was well received.

This OVA was supposedly the pilot for a suggested Anime series, but due to a falling out between Kenichi Sonoda and Toshiba EMI over the series left it with only one episode. Quickly moving on, Riding Bean served as a pilot of sorts for the related project Gunsmith Cats that Kenichi Sonoda went on the create in its place. GSC featured a redesigned Rally as the main character, with Bean making a number of appearances.

A Manga adaptation of Riding Bean was also produced by Kenichi Sonoda in 1989 but was left unfinished after four chapters due to the cancellation of Monthly Comic Noizy, the Japanese magazine in which it was published.

It's also notable for being one of the few Animes to have a soundtrack composed and performed entirely by a foreigner. In this case, Jazz Fuson keyboardist David Garfield and his band.

This anime contains examples of:

  • Anti-Hero: As Rally puts it "He's a Scoundrel at heart, but he dreams to be a good guy."
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Bean Bandit.
  • Badass Driver - Take a wild-ass guess.
    • Say what you want about Semmerling, she did show off some fairly impressive wheelwork in the final chase.
    • Percy wishes he could be one.
  • The Berserker - Bean got really pissed at Semmerling for hitting him with a fragmentation grenade. Later, she tries to run him over. He shoulder-checks her car and not only stops it cold, but pops it right off its front wheels!
  • Berserk Button - Don't diss or mess with Bean's car. And do not mess with kids if he's around your general vicinity..
  • Big Badass Rig: The Scania T-142 M driven by Semmerling and one of her mooks.
  • Bulletproof Vest: All but said that his leather jacket is heavily armored, with a strong hint that his headband is bullet proof too, though the shot it stops does daze him for a moment.note 
  • Cannon Fodder - Potentially, any one of Semmerling's Mooks.
  • Car Fu: Bean seems to be a master of this.
    • Later on Semmerling tries run over Bean with a hijacked car. It doesn't work out well for her.
  • The Chessmaster - Semmerling, at least she would've been if she didn't leave too many clues for Bean and Rally to get their head around.
  • Cool Car - Bean's especially so. With Bulletproofing, Gun Ports, Blade Braking and the ability to turn it's wheels 90 degrees and drive that way.
    • Semmerlings BMW 750iL. It's not as outwardly impressive as Beans car, but makes up for it with a monstrously powerful V12 engine.
    • According to creator Kenichi Sonoda, all of the high tech gadgetries found on Bean's car, except the strange break-fins on the wheels, were 100% technologically feasible at the time in which the anime was made. Although the MythBusters might take issue with this...
  • Cool Guns: The OVA shows a pretty nice selection of guns from somewhat common to quite uncommonly seen ones (such as a Semmerling LM-4 and a Calico M-100).
  • Cowboy Cop: Percy is an Ax-Crazy version of this—the man is responsible for an astounding bunch of property damage during his chasing of Bean, and he keeps on going with a nearly-destroyed car, single-mindedly wanting to catch Bean.
  • Friend to All Children - Bean may be a scoundrel but he's got a soft spot for children.
  • Gorn: In the start of the film, we see a pretty roughed up corpse of a security guard and another security guard has his head blown off with a shotgun.
    • Mild version, but after shot in the forehead (that had an armored bandanna) and being rammed by a car against a wall several times by Semmerling in an attempt to kill him at the climax, Bean's head has been twisted almost ninety degrees horizontally.
  • Heavy Sleeper - Bean. Not even a stungun can wake him!
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick - Dick (the Ying to Percy's Yang)
  • Inspector Lestrade - Percy, to a degree.
    • Inspector Zenigata - He's way more interested in taking out Bean than doing his duty as a Chicago PD officer. And collateral damage be 'damned.
  • Knife Nut: Bean, he's pretty adequate with them too.
  • Karmic Death - Semmerling is killed when her attempt to murder Carrie triggers an explosion, made doubly more embarrassing by the fact that she probably would have survived the entire altercation were she not to have done that.
  • Kick the Dog - How Semmerling treats Carrie.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: While the Justice part is debatable, Bean's got a pretty good jawline.
  • Latex Perfection - Semmerling can flawlessly impersonate a man with a handy rubber mask and a throat-ring that makes her voice low.
  • Kill It with Fire
  • Made of Iron - Bean. This guy can take stungun shocks without even flinching, and even takes a BULLET TO THE HEAD and get hit by a car (twice!) while still remaining standing!
  • Master of Disguise: Semmerling and Carrie.
  • More Dakka: Standard for Kenichi Sonoda.
  • Pedestrian Crushes Car: There's a scene where the Big Bad attempts to use Car Fu on Bean Bandit, who instead lifts the car off its front wheels.
  • Psycho Lesbian - Semmerling.
  • Punch Clock Villain - Anyone stupid enough to join Semmerling's gang. See Cannon Fodder above.
  • Red Baron: Bean "The Road Buster" Bandit.
  • Rated M for Manly: Exemplified by Bean Bandit. His typical breakfast includes a salami the width of a normal person's arm and an entire pineapple. A taser blast to the neck can't even wake him up. He crushes shelled walnuts with his teeth.
  • Smug Snake - Semmerling fancies herself as a competent and elegant schemer, but makes plenty of extremely stupid decisions throughout her caper and goes absolutely ballistic when her plans inevitably goes awry.
  • Super Strength: Somehow Bean can not only carry an entire car on his own, but also be able to throw a knife with enough force to rip off car doors.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Thanks to Bean's Super Strength he can throw a knife with incredible force.
  • Too Dumb to Live - Semmerling decides that attempting to murder Carrie for offering to pay Bean their entire ransom in exchange for Semmerling's life is a good idea. Except for the fact that this is the only thing keeping Bean from killing her and taking the money anyway.