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Anime / Riding Bean

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"I'm a tire for hire!"

Riding Bean is an Anime Original Video Animation 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.

Set in Chicago, 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 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 Fusion keyboardist David Garfield and his band.

On May 18, 2018, appropriately in Chicago, Kenichi Sonoda revealed Project Bean Bandit, a sequel to Riding Bean. The project, a pilot for a new series, was successfully funded at ¥23,343,872 (pledged of a ¥15,000,000 goal) and was released in May 2022.

This anime contains examples of:

  • Anti-Hero: Bean Bandit as Rally puts it "He's a Scoundrel at heart, but he dreams to be a good guy."
  • 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.
  • Badasses Wear Bandanas: Bean is a great example and if the climax of the film is to believed. The bandana is also bulletproof.
  • Bad Boss: Semmerling. Anyone under her employ is completely expandable to her plans. To wit, she kills one underling that was meant to be the driver of her big rig out of town just use his body to weight the gas pedal (apparently never hearing of cruise control) and uses Carrie as a hostage when Bean closes in to kill her just to get him to back off. Keep in mind, Carrie's her assistant and unsubtly implied to be her lover.
  • 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. Bean, the man-mountain with Charles Atlas Superpower, may just decide to beat you senseless... or try to run you over.
  • Big Badass Rig: The Scania T-142 M driven by Semmerling and one of her mooks is also the same rig they used to force Bean to make a detour and cause a pileup, although this proves to be their undoing.
  • Big Eater: We see Bean eat an eighth of salami, cut a pineapple in half and eat a chunk of it (including the rind!) and DOWN A WHOLE CARAFE OF COFFEE!!! At the diner he orders thirty ribs and a case of Bud. Percy, too is a big eater as well, as we see him eating a hamburger, presumably a quarter pounder, and chug a 2 liter bottle of Pepsi, in his GT500, no less. Those boys must have some mighty nutrition.
  • Blade Enthusiast: The titular Bean Bandit is shown to be very proficient with knives, but his debut in Gunsmith Cats would reveal that he has a large arsenal full of blades.
  • Boom, Headshot!:
    • Some random rent-a-cop gets it from Semmerling in the opening scenes. The fact Semmerling uses a shotgun means the top of the poor guy's head is ripped off the rest of his body and Semmerling just laughs at her handiwork.
    • Semmerling attempts to do this to Bean and point blank no less! Yet turns out even his headband is bulletproof as well.
  • 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.
  • Canon Immigrant: Riding Bean Returns also features Minnie May from Gunsmith Cats.
  • 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.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Bean Bandit is strong enough to stop and lift a car that is trying to run him over with his bare hands and a bullet to the head only knocks him unconscious for a couple seconds.
  • The Chessmaster: Semmerling, at least she would've been, if she didn't leave too many clues for Bean and Rally to notice and wrap their heads around.
  • Cool Car: Many to go around.
    • Bean's especially so. With Bulletproofing, Gun Ports, Blade Braking and the ability to turn it's wheels 90 degrees and drive that way. In Gunsmith Cats, Bean worked hard and paid millions of dollars to make the car and christened it as "The Buff".
    • Semmerling's BMW 750iL. It's not as outwardly impressive as Bean's car, but makes up for it with a monstrously powerful V12 engine.
    • According to creator Kenichi Sonoda, all of the high tech gadgets found on Bean's car, except the strange brake-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...
  • 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.
  • Domestic Abuse: Semmerling is insanely abusive to Carrie from beating her up till the latter is coughing on the floor meekly apologizing to outright willing to shoot through her just to try and kill bean.
  • Establishing Character Moment: After the opening car chase, Bean takes his payment from his clients and says that it's entirely on them for accidentally stealing only $10 bills, leaving them with basically nothing, and also says that he's not going to work with them ever again because one of their accomplices is a child, showing early in the runtime that Bean makes good on his promises as a transporter regularly working with shady characters but also that he has standards.
  • Fanservice: The second scene in the OVA is Rally getting dressed to start the day.
  • Frame-Up: Semmerling purposefully hires Bean as a getaway driver for a bank heist while her assistant, Carrie, dresses as Chelsea, the daughter of a wealthy CEO, and be caught on camera as he's driving through a warehouse. Once the job is finished, her second phase is to kidnap said CEO and take his daughter to Bean, under the disguise of a "bodyguard" to have Bean deliver her to her manor in "his" place after he's "killed" by pursuers. Since the police caught whom they thought was Chelsea on camera in Bean's car, they assume Bean kidnapped her and go after him.
  • Friend to All Children: Bean may be a scoundrel but he's got a soft spot for children.
  • Fish Eyes: Bean, after being shot in the fucking head. All things considered, he got off easy.
  • 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.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Carrie at the end, somewhat. She threatens to shoot Bean for Semmerling's death. But Bean points out that her death was her own fault and Semmerling was willing to shoot through Carrie just to kill him (She just barely gazed Carrie's arm before the explosion, likely because Carrie had moved enough to avoid a direct hit). Heck Bean was willing to accept Carrie's demands to take the money in exchange for their lives. But Semmerling was too stubborn to know when to quit. Carrie ultimately concedes and accepts Bean's offer to join Rally and him.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Bean. Not even a stungun can wake him! What does? A heated frying pan to the face.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Dick (the Ying to Percy's Yang)
  • Inexplicably Awesome: Bean Bandit. He's got Super-Strength and is Made of Iron to a truly ludicrous degree, and none of this is ever explained. He's strong enough to throw a knife through a car window and have it tear the opposite door clean of its hinges, and lift a car above his head. And at the beginning, when Rally tries to wake him up, he sleeps through a taser to the neck, and it takes her pressing the underside of a hot frying pan to his face to wake him up... and he shows no lasting injuries from what should have given him at least a second-degree burn!
  • 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. So yeah, not quite deserving of the "sympathetic" title.
  • Karmic Death: Semmerling is killed when her attempt to murder Carrie triggers an explosion caused by the gas leaking from the wrecked car she tried to hit Bean with. 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. Starts with a bitch slap and ends with using her as a hostage to fend off Bean, as well as demonstrating that she will fire. Her final act is trying to shoot Bean without caring that Carrie is in the way — she clips her in the arm as a result.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: While the Justice part is debatable, Bean's got an impressive 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: Semmerling accidentally immolates herself.
  • Made of Iron: Bean. This guy can take stun-gun shocks without even flinching, and even takes a BULLET TO THE HEAD and gets hit by a car (twice!) while still remaining standing!
  • Master of Disguise: Semmerling and Carrie through Latex Perfection, they use their disguise skills extensively during the Frame-Up.
  • Mirthless Laughter: Both Semmerling and Bean share a brief moment of stress-laughter when he somehow body-checks her car.
  • Mook Horror Show: Semmerling spends most of the climax freaking out and trying to stop Bean (to very little avail).
  • More Dakka: Some of Semmerling's mooks open fire on Rally and Bean's hideout with submachineguns and nearly perforate the whole place.
  • 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. The discovery that Carrie is her lover is as shocking to the audience as it is to the poor man that Carrie is pleasuring to keep calm and she just casually told gives Semmerling tongue jobs on a regular basis.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Anyone stupid enough to join Semmerling's gang. See Cannon Fodder above.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Rally delivers one to the man brave enough to hold the little girl hostage. Unfortunately averted for one of the mall cops in the intro.
  • Pre-Violence Laughter: At the climax, both Bean and Big Bad Semmerling exchange a round of laughter after Semmerling has tried her damnedest to kill Bean (including trying to run him over with a car and shoot him in the head) and he's proven himself to be quite the Implacable Man. After a few seconds, Semmerling tries to kill Bean one last time by pulling out a pocket pistol and Bean responds by tossing a knife which punctures a nearby car's fuel tank, drenching Semmerling with gasoline. She's so driven to kill Bean that she doesn't notices and when she shoots she ends up setting herself on fire.
  • Red Baron: Bean Bandit is well know as "The Road Buster" and he definitely earned that nickname.
  • Rule of Sexy:
    • there's not really any other reason for the rather extensive scene of Rally getting dressed in the morning, basically only stopping short of showing her completely naked.
    • The completely naked woman in the opening scene, however, is not an example of this because she's clearly terrified and is being forced to strip at gunpoint.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: After failing to wake up bean with a taser to the neck, Rally decides to place the underside of a pan, fresh from the stove on top of his face to wake him up. The camera pans away from their apartment as Bean lets out a loud pained yell.
  • Shout-Out: To The Blues Brothers, the film is supposedly set in Chicago. The pile up scenes are quite similar to the film as is the highway sequence (though Bean is the one in pursuit rather than being chased and doesn't pull a car flip like Elwood did). Heck even the chase sequence under the railway tracks look lifted right from the film.
  • Spot the Thread: The trailer used to block Bean's escape in the first heist, and the trailer Semmerling is escaping in are one and the same, but Bean doesn't realize this until he sees the trailer again and notices the bumps on the side from the police cars crashing into it.
  • 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 go awry.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Bean wears them in the intro while working as a getaway driver. It doesn't hamper his Badass Driver capabilities one bit.
  • Super-Strength: Somehow Bean can not only carry an entire car on his own, but also throw a knife with enough force to rip off car doors.
  • Vague Age: Carrie looks young enough to convincingly impersonate an 11-year old girl, but is old enough to be Semmerling's paramour. Lampshaded by the kidnapped CEO, and later on Bean. Interestingly, in the concept art both Carrie and the girl were stated to be 13.
  • The Precious, Precious Car: Inspector Percy establishes his relentless drive to get Bean early on by showcasing the 1967 Shelby Cobra GT-500KR that he bought solely because it's got the horsepower to catch up with Bean's car, complete with prideful Description Porn and Dick going all "wow!" over it. The climactic chase then has Percy ramming the Shelby through multiple obstacles that he could have driven around to avoid giving Bean Bandit so much as a second's worth of distance, and accidentally shooting up the interior (with guns meant to try to punch through the armor of Bean's car).
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Thanks to Bean's Super-Strength he can throw a knife with incredible force. Seriously, he throws one at Semmrling that goes through the window and tears out the opposite door on the other side.
  • 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.
  • Visual Pun: The last weapon Semmerling is forced to use as Bean has her cornered is a Semmerling LM-4.


Video Example(s):



When Rally wakes Bean up with a frying egg after failing to do so with a taser, Bean delivers a blood-curdling scream as the camera pans away from the apartment.

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Example of:

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