Coyote Ragtime Show Vol. 2

Wind resistence is never a good thing.  It slows you down, lowers your gas mileage, and makes it harder to steer. The faster you go, the more you notice it. That's probably why things feel a bit too slow in the latter half of Coyote Ragtime Show Vol. 2. The first disc was surprisingly good, and this one has lots more of the same goodness that made the exploits of Mister and his companions so entertaining. But when your journey has been moving at Mach 1, when you pull back even a little bit, it becomes really apparent.

In this volume, Mister's crew tries to figure out a quick route to Graceland. With all the calamities that have happened thus far in the series, they realize that if they travel at normal speed, Graceland will be a ball of dust by the time they arrive. Their plan is to make their way through a jump gate to Graceland...and since the gate is closed due to the upcoming photonic bombardment, it will take some doing!  Never mind that half the galaxy is looking to arrest them and Marciano's band of criminals is hunting them down as well. If they don't make the hyperspace jump, it's going to take all their wits to find a way to reach their long-sought treasure before it goes up in a fireball.

As with the first volume, Coyote Ragtime Show Vol. 2 is just a pleasure to absorb. The visuals are still top-notch, and this is one of the only anime on the market that I can say improves with its 5.1 mix in play. It adds tremendously to the overall feel of the program. I also realized this time around just how much I love its soundtrack. The music has its own vocabulary that references the great themes from the early '80s glory days of sci-fi anime while being smartly contemporary. The opening theme has become a favorite. Immersive is the word that describes the whole package; with a good AV setup, it's easy to get absorbed into this world.

Episodes 5 and 6 of the show are just as exciting as anything on the first volume. Gone are the silly bits that took down my rating of the first volume slightly. While not every moment is action oriented, most of it moves the plot along quickly and continues to build character relationships.  And when the action starts, it's fantastic. Had the disc just contained these two episodes, it would have been near-perfect.

But then we reach episodes 7 and 8, and I got antsy. Long story short, they are journey episodes, and while there is a bit of action involving Marciano's gang, they seem like filler.  Yes, there's the feel that we're getting closer and closer to Graceland's destruction, but these two episodes could have been just one. They are not a waste; there are some solid moments in each. They set up the climax, and I am still waiting to finally see the concluding disc. But be warned -- if you're like me, you'll get a little bored.

I still think that Cowboy Ragtime Show is a hidden gem that isn't getting the attention it deserves.  I hope that it ends as well as it started and that the drag it picked up in the last two episodes on this disc goes away. But so far, even with a few faultering moments, it's been a great ride.

Coyote Ragtime Show Vol. 2 -- violence, profanity -- B+