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Bean Bandit Premier

by Theron Martin,

A panel at Anime Central this year was schedule to be the world debut of Kenichi Sonoda's Bean Bandit project, a new anime which will combine elements and characters from his previous creative efforts Riding Bean and Gunsmith Cats. Sonoda was in attendance at the event, along with music director Marco D'Ambrosio and Shuziloh.HA (aka Shujirou Hamakawa), who serves both as Sonoda's manager and the art/animation director and producer for the project. At the beginning of the event Shuziloh.HA informed the audience that the project was not, unfortunately, finished and would not be until sometime in June; the kety frames are done, but the projection is still at an animation check stage. In its stead a “rough cut” of the anime would be shown. He further clarified that this rough cut would only be made available as a bonus to Kickstarter contributors and on the Blu-Ray release; it will not be posted online.

The rough cut, which was about ten minutes long, showed a collection of scenes from what seemed to be the middle part of the anime. Parts of it featured Bean Bandit and his partner Rally Vincent, who is shown with her original blond hair color rather than the brown hair that she had in Gunsmith Cats. Other scenes. Th focused on Minnie May Hopkins and Becky Farrah, both from Gunsmith Cats. The former scenes were mostly action hot takes involving the franchise's signature car chases, while the latter involved Becky handling a bad guy while in the bathroom and May using her removed panties to distract a bad guy so she could shove a smoke grenade at him. This content contained only a few seconds of fully-finished animation but was voiced. Enough was presented to give the impression that the finished project, which will also be set in Chicago, will be action-intensive and involve lots of classic cars and gunplay.

After showing the rough cut, the trio participated in a Q&A session for view. Among some pertinent points raised in responses to those questions:

• The end goal for this project is a TV series, but that depends on funding and the response to the initial movie.
• Characters from some of Sonoda's other old works may make appearances if Bean Bandit becomes a TV series.
• The reason that the project is set in Chicago is because Sonoda is a huge fan of The Blues Brothers. He later added that the Blues Brother's car might appear at some point if the project becomes a TV series, though only as a cameo and only if he can destroy it.
• Sonoda also mentioned that he feels 30 years younger in returning to these characters and this franchise.

Whatever ultimate form this project takes, it should make for a good nostalgia trips for fans of Sonoda's previous works and a high-octane introduction to Sonoda's work for new viewers.

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