Does anyone remember that anime Coyote Ragtime Show? You know, that one that aired a little while ago and had so much potential to be incredible but in the end passed like a quiet fart? I would’ve pretty much forgotten about it by now if ADV’s release of it wasn’t so highly publicized and soon-coming. Why am I writing about it, though? Because I placed a lot of faith in the show, even when I knew it was going bad. I look at it now and sigh, knowing it could have been better than what it turned out to be. This isn’t to say I didn’t like the show, because I enjoyed it quite a bit, but in the end it could have been a lot better. To quote a certain someone, “Japan doesn’t get it” and I think Japan really didn’t “get it” at all when it came to CRS. CRS was an American style story told in a Japanese fashion, and that really just doesn’t work… at all.
The main failing in this show was pacing. When your story is “get the treasure before the planet explodes in five days” you can’t afford to let it move slowly, yet CRS moved at a snail’s pace. A story like this simply can’t be stretched across 12 episodes. The explanation behind this pacing came to me when I was reading bits of Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics a little while ago. He made an interesting point on the difference between American storytelling and Japanese storytelling. He said that American culture is very goal oriented, thusly we like things to get to the point, and fast. Japanese storytelling meanders more, and takes a while to get the destination. It’s more about “enjoying the moment”, or something. I mean, anyone watching anime for a while learns quickly that it’s mostly about the journey rather than what’s at the end. This is where CRS went wrong. Given its story, a lot of the tension put on by the planet exploding is lost when you drag it out. It becomes an utterly pointless plot device, because the point of it is give the story tension and move it along. While the story did move along, it moved along too damn slow. A story like this is better suited for a short OVA or a movie.
I think it’s interesting to note that the director who did CRS, Matsuri Ouse, also did Futakoi Alternative. I think FutaAlt suffered from the same problem, except less so. Perhaps because it was more anime-ish? Or did it just have more stuff to cover. I think it did, just a little. The slow bit in the middle had some good character-centric moments, and you really came to love them because of these moments. Also, the plot didn’t demand that the show move quickly. CRS tried to have its own character centric moments, but failed, given the characters weren’t all that much past their goofy fronts, with those goofy fronts being fairly generic.
In the end I think CRS failed because the staff was so used to inserting the usual meanderings found in anime and manga into the show, when it all it really had to do was get to the point. Aside from pacing, CRS had everything else more or less right, I think. Style, good animation, good music, funny characters and a plot that had potential to be quite great. But it was just too slow.
Also Marchiano was a boring villain. God.