Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 3, 1998 to Apr 24, 1999
Duration: 24 min. per episode
Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)L represents licensing company
Score: 8.831 (scored by 102947 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Popular Tagsaction adventure comedy drama sci-fi space
Aug 24, 2008
The story is set in a space western setting - a genre and setting I'm loving more and more for each show I watch that falls under the genre. We follow two bounty hunters, Spike and Jet, who own a ship called the Bebop. They travel the Solar system, chasing wanted criminals to earn money. Along the way, they also pick up two women; the debt-laden Faye Valentine and the playful kid and computer genius Edward (yes, Ed’s a girl).
Each episode brings about a new bounty which they chase after, and while that doesn't sound too exciting to watch 26 episodes in a row, you'll end up loving the show. All the different events makes for a certain degree of unpredictability, and you'll sometimes wonder how things will end. However, that alone is not enough to give the story the rating I've given it. So why have I given that rating? Let's continue...
One of the things that elevate the show a bit above the rest is the manner in which the main cast's pasts are explored. It's not like one flashback episode and you understand everything about how they are today. In one episode you might get one piece, and then the next one in another episode, and it's not until the final three episodes of the show that everything falls in place. This way of executing it makes you want to watch another episode, so that you can find out more about the characters (some may say that this falls in under "Character", but the manner in which the pasts are explored are more "Story" than "Character", IMO). Now, that's so far a 9 for the story. Why did it deserve a 10?
The answer is easy: the way they executed many scenes in the show. The contrasts which you get to see between, music, the setting of scenes and what's really happening just gives the story that extra edge deserving of a perfect score.
The characters are all really good and interesting fellows. Though they every now and then reminded me of characters from other shows, they preserved that originality which gave a feel that they were, if not completely, then at least a little bit more real than most characters out there. The way their pasts intertwine with the future and how everything ends with them confronting and settling open ends from their pasts is also something that's impressive to watch. I don't really have anything more to say than "perfect".
The animation is, for a 90s anime, stunningly good. The detail put into backgrounds and surroundings is really good, and I also love how good lighting effects and shading are at times. All of Ed’s strange movements are animated really nicely too. If there's something negative, it's the somewhat dull coloring (compared to today's standards), as well as poor effects when traveling in hyperspace.
The soundtrack is also astounding! The music used for the show is so incredibly varied, and while keeping mostly to the more jazzy tunes, the soundtrack visits so many genres that it's hard to not like at least a few pieces. What I also loved is the way the music was used not only as a medium to go with and amplify the mood, but also as a contrast to what's happening in several scenes. All in all, it's really amazing. Don't have anything to say against voice acting and other sound effects either.
All in all Cowboy Bebop is an anime that’s in the top tier on the greatness scale, and a show I believe every anime fan should give a try.
To 'Not Helpful' voters (and you 'Helpful' voters too): Feedback greatly appreciated =)
Apr 30, 2013
On October 24th, 1998, Cowboy Bebop started its first full airing in Japan, it ended the next year on April 24th. It was later broadcasted in the United States as the first anime to ever appear on Adult Swim, and it still is broadcasted on a loop to this day. Now, as many of you probably know Cowboy Bebop is definitely a very popular anime, and it's no wonder it's still broadcasting today, even after most anime have left Adult Swim. Why is so popular though? Well the answer is simple, Cowboy Bebop is a very finely crafted, almost perfect creation that deserves every bit of popularity it gets. With that said, let's get started with the review.
Let's start with a plot summary, Cowboy Bebop, follows a group of bounty hunters in the distant future who have various missions and members focused on each episode. There's Spike Spiegel, a cool and rowdy man who can fight very well, with a mysterious past to boot. Next, there's Jet, the founder of the Bebop crew and a former ISSP Officer, or a police officer if you prefer, with a missing arm and is the intelligence of the group. Then we have the lovely lady, Fei Valentine, a gambling, trouble making woman who has a mysterious problem. Lastly there's Edward, she's the crazy hacker from Earth who is the comic relief for a lot of the show, we will get to how that's a problem later.
Now that's pretty much it for the plot, that may not seem like much, but it is a lot bigger in execution. Like in my previous review Samurai Champloo, the plot doesn't really have much of an overarching story, it's mostly vignettes and character pieces that delve deeper into the cast or are just fun adventures to watch. Unlike Samurai Champloo however, these vignettes do actually develop the characters and have some interesting themes or surprises in them. Some make you think, others make you laugh, Cowboy Bebop really just has a very large range of tone. This is probably one of the show's greatest strengths, it really knows how to use its characters and setting, it also takes them seriously allowing for a greater sense of immersion.
This is of course all thanks to the direction and writing. This was Shinichiro Watanabe's first full director job and what a great job he did. Not to mention the gorgeous cinematography and use of lighting in the whole thing. There is rarely a sour beat in the whole show with only a few episodes being mediocre. Of course this is also because of the shows head writer Keiko Nobumoto, who has written other amazing anime such as Wolf's Rain and Macross Plus. With shows like that under his belt it's no wonder the show turned out to have some very witty and engaging dialogue, filled with great character interactions and being able to create any emotion it desires.
There's also the gorgeous music, which was done by the stellar composer and goddess of all amazing anime music, Yoko Kanno. The soundtrack can range from passionate jazz to quiet ambience of instruments. There's also the scene near the end of Episode 5, Ballad of Fallen Angels, where they combine amazing visuals and great music to make you go into an orgasmic bliss. Really it's some stellar work by an already amazing artist.
Speaking of which both the openings and endings of the shows are also great. Tank!, which was also done by Kanno, is the opening for every single episode and get's me pumped to watch the show every time I see it. Not to mention it's hard not to tap your foot along to, it's probably one of the best openings ever conceived. The ending however, is a very passionate and beautiful ballad called, the Real Folk Blues. This ending while not my favorite is very good with a great vocals and visuals of Spike's past giving you a small glimpse of his character.
With that said and done, the animation is also gorgeous. This show was produced by Sunrise and if you don't know much about their studio, they have produced shows such as Gundam and Escaflowne, which also looked great. Cowboy Bebop also was one of the last shows to be hand drawn, instead of being animated digital technology used today. However, it's just as fluid if not better than a lot of shows that come out today. Also fun fact: while this show was technically made by Sunrise, most of the staff who worked on it later moved on to make Studio Bones who's first project was the Cowboy Bebop movie. So make take that as you may.
Then there's the world famous dub, which is even makes dub haters say, "If I watch a dub, it's Cowboy Bebop." Every character has the right voice and it, unlike many anime at the time, takes itself seriously enough to make it seem realistic. Steven Blum is amazing a Spike, Beau Billingslea gives Jet the right amount of grumpiness and reason, Wendee Lee gives an amazing performance as the arrogant Fei, and Melissa Fahn gives the right amount on insanity and smartness to the character of Edward. Not to mention all the side characters have great casting to, which I don't think even happened with the best dubs back then. There are very few, if any, stumbles in this dub and it has become an example of what all dubs should strive for.
So with all of these good things said about the show, does it have any problems? Well there are a few, but they are very minor so get prepared for some nitpicking. First off, Edward is kind of destroys the tone of some episodes. Now I'm ok with comic relief characters, really I am, but that's really one of Ed's only purposes. She is probably the least developed of the cast and while she does get a backstory, overall, she just kind of ruins some parts of the show. Not to say she like makes a whole episode of the show complete crap, that never happens, but she can seem just a little out of place in some of the shows 26 episodes. Really though, that's the shows biggest problem, besides that the other problems are mostly just extremely minor and won't ruin your overall enjoyment.
Really, there isn't much to say about Cowboy Bebop because really it's almost completely without flaw. There's no need to explain what's good about it because if there's something you don't like, there will probably be something you will like. There is nothing else I can say besides go see it, Bebop really deserves all the popularity and attention it gets. Before I go I'd also like to mention the Cowboy Bebop Movie, which is a basically just an episode of the show, but much longer and with equally great writing. I recommend that you watch it after you finish the series. Also this show was distributed by Bandai Entertainment, though there apparently going out of business, so you should probably get a copy before the show becomes really expensive. Then again, I doubt this show will stay unlicensed for long after Bandai's demise... So in the end, go see Bebop, you have nothing to lose except free time.
Jan 30, 2009
That anime is Cowboy Bebop.
Cowboy Bebop is told as a series of standalone episodes, each of which is only really connected to one another by the characters, with very few of them directly following on from one another. This method of storytelling is now termed as “episodic”, and while the format is now commonplace in anime, this series set the standard in its usage, and many purists believe it to be almost flawless in its execution of this storytelling style.
Sunrise, the production company behind the show, used this format as a tool to develop the characters in the show, and whilst many episodes are unique in terms of story content and plot, there is a strong connection to the rest of the series due to the strength of the characters, something which also applies to the movie Knocking on Heaven’s Door.
One of the big advantages to the show's storytelling method is that it allows the viewer to jump straight into the story at almost any point, however it should be noted that many shows that adopt the episodic format are often let down by poor character development. The fact that the series manages to develop its characters, and develop them well, is a testament to the strength of the individual episodes as standalone stories, and the personal history of each character (which becomes clearer as the series progresses). In essence, Cowboy Bebop is a more about the characters themselves and their relationships with each other, than it is about their “adventures”. There are a number of episodes where the viewer may feel a strong connection to the characters, their history,mannerisms, pet peeves, etc, something which is difficult enough to accomplish in a normal sequential story. Achieving this in an episodic story is a mark of the quality of the series.
The animation in Cowboy Bebop is amongst the best seen in anime, and even though it is now over a decade old, it still manages to hold its own in terms of animation and character design with more modern action oriented shows. Sunrise, who generally do an excellent job on animation, really pushed the boat out with this series, and when compared with other shows that were released around the same time (Outlaw Star for example), it can clearly be seen that the art, animation and character design in Cowboy Bebop is something special. The animation during the numerous action sequences is especially impressive and the character movements are free-flowing and naturalistic.
The art, while not vibrant with flashy colours, portrays the feeling, attitude and environmental influences for the characters perfectly. The numerous locales which the crew of the Bebop visit are rendered in stunning detail, adding a surreal sense of realism to the show, whilst the character designs were a work of brilliance, and allows each character a mark of individuality even before they spoke.
The quality of the soundwork used in Cowboy Bebop is what really sets it apart from other anime series. The music was composed by the world renowned Yoko Kanno, and performed by The Seatbelts, a band specifically formed by Kanno to perform the music for the series. The music is a strange mix of blues, classic rock and jazz, and while at first this may seem an odd choice for a sci-fi series, the music works extremely well in the setting as it reflects the generally lackadaisical attitude adopted by the crew of the Bebop. Even today, the soundtrack for this anime is unique in terms of style and composition. The opening theme, Tank!, has become one of the most influential pieces in anime history, and one of the few anime based music tracks to be appreciated by music lovers with no background in anime or manga.
The sound effects in the series are also well done. The various locations are vibrant with background noises, from the hum of the Bebop's engines and the sound of gulls by the sea, to the hubbub of a crowded street. The many gunshots and explosions are clear and sound almost as though you're standing right in the middle of the wild gun battles.
Whilst the Japanese voice actors do an excellent job with each of the four main characters, this is one of the rare anime shows out there where many prefer the English cast over the original Japanese. Cowboy Bebop is one of the few anime in existence where the English dub is equal to, if not better than, the original Japanese version.
Cowboy Bebop has some of the most original and memorable characters to appear in anime. Spike, Jet, Faye and Ed are four of the most enigmatic individuals to found in the medium, and upon seeing them, the viewer will probably wonder how they work together when all of them come from diversely different backgrounds with opinions that clash with one another.
Spike and Jet are most definitely "The Odd Couple" of sci-fi anime, or indeed any genre of anime you care to name. Their conflicting personalities bounce off each other like peas on a drum, and once Faye is added to the mix it becomes a potent brew of character interaction. It is through this interaction that the viewer is more able to empathise with each character, and the slow but steady revelations about their pasts, told wonderfully through flashbacks and reunions, have far greater impact because of this empathy. The characters are so well defined that many scenes which would normally appear mundane in other anime are just as memorable in this series as the action scenes (one springs to mind - Spike and Jet eating eggs after Faye, Ed and Ein leave the ship).
Cowboy Bebop is a sci-fi western with equal parts humour and seriousness, and is already considered by many within the anime community to be a classic. There is a level of sophistication in both the story and its characters that is rare for a show, regardless of whether it is an anime or not. The great cast, the heavy drama tempered with bouts of comedy, the excellent music, all serve to cement its place in the hearts and minds of anime fans the world over. It is a testament to its quality that there is only one show, anime or otherwise, that can be held up as a fair comparison (Joss Whedon’s Firefly). This is considered by many to be a “must-see” series as it is a testament to what can be achieved in anime with the right ingredients.
The only downside to this anime would be the lack of a continuous story. Because of this, the series lacks the "epic saga" feel upon which many sci-fi stories are judged. However, the depth of each character, together with the strength of their individual stories, is more than enough to carry this series.
This review is the final result of a review team composed of members from the "Critics and Connoisseurs" club. The team members were:
Archaeon - Writer and editor
Fallen101 - Writer and editor
Vindemon64 - Writer and editor
Here are their individual scorings for the show:
Category - Archaeon, Vindemon64, Fallen101
Story - 8, 7, 8
Art - 9, 10, 7
Sound - 10, 10, 10
Character - 9, 10, 10
Enjoyment - 10, 9, 9
Overall - 9, 9, 8.5
In the club wide poll held for Cowboy Bebop it received an average overall rating of 8.73
Mar 7, 2013
First, some background: it's a simple enough story. Spike and Jet, two oddities that somehow coexist inside the same spaceship, are partnered together in the pursuit of so-called bounties (fitting the western theme), and thus are called bounty hunters. Along the way in the beginning, they pick up some more companions to put the word "rag-tag" to shame: Faye Valentine, a debt-ridden woman who has forgotten her past, Ed (Edward), the pre-teen genius girl with computers, and Ein, the genetically enhanced and intelligent Corgi. The five travel the stars, attempting to gain bounties, but the results are....somewhat mixed.
I was skeptical. I truly was. I never liked western films, and I never cared for the themes and such of the Ol' Wild West. But the meld of science fiction with modern amenities really hit home. I could actually relate to the story, and oh what a story it was. Besides being such a motley bunch, they often were never agreeable and seemed to barely hold the peace in Jet's ship Bebop. But something about the way the story was told, how each character's mysterious past seemed to interfere with the present. Half of the series wasn't really fighting for bounties, but trying to bury or avoid their individual past without notifying or effecting the other persons aboard the ship, to no avail. It was interesting, then, when the past comes back to haunt you: nothing is as it seems on the surface, and when the past scratches at its coffin, you better be there with a nail or sig-sauer.
I must say, at first it was hard to....understand and perceive the old-style animation. This made me want to turn it off and watch the anime of today. But you got used to it real quick. And I must say, for something almost two decades old, it's gorgeous. The lighting, the style, the drawings, the shades, the colors, the environment...It was hard not to notice the variety of places the art alluded to, and of course the western touch with the deserts and saloons and gunfights and such. I loved every bit of it, and remember, I hate the west. The spaceships juxtaposed next to the average car and the old-fashioned lighters lighting old-fashioned cigarettes created this interesting mood and ambiance, one I hadn't felt....ever. It was surreal.
Alright, before you blast me with why it isn't perfect, it wasn't. But it was damn near perfect. Jazz? Blues? Fast-paced music? Are those ENGLISH lyrics? Yes they all are here, for you, the watcher, to enjoy. Every major scene had a fast-paced song, and many a time it was in English. The producers and editors and such probably drew much of their inspiration from the American West, and it showed well in the sound. The OP was fast-paced and well executed, and the ED was nostalgic sounding and epic. But I didn't get too focused on the petty ending and beginning; it was the background music I'm talking about. Beautiful, beautiful salute to the American west and native American music. I couldn't get enough, especially when the main characters are so motley, the odd choice of music just made the mood that much better. And why stop there? The voice actors should be praised, no given medals, their acting was so good. It wasn't even the way each character spoke, but when each character decided to show his or her true nature to the viewer before quickly covering it up; beautiful just beautiful.
Oh how I would rate this higher if I could. I've never had such deep characters before, such amazingly portrayed people. Pretend each character is a book: Spike would be a carefree one, its leather new, its polish gleaming. Jet would be gruff and rough on the edges, worn from time. Faye's would be delicate, with an evil-looking cover that betrays evil, and so on. But as you delve deeper in the story and therefore each character's secret past, the books become much different: Spike's becomes worn and rough, like Jet's, frayed on the outside, with a hole punched straight through the middle. Jet's would be more worn, yet have a soft spot in the middle. Faye's would have a huge question mark from chapter 1 to somewhere around the middle, then soften into a golden hue. Seems stupid, but I ain't spoiling anything. But honestly, each of these characters deserves his or her own biography; each story, so different from each other, yet they all come back to haunt them in the present. And as each character deals with their ghosts, they must make a tough decision: to let the ghost keep haunting them, or to finally put it all to rest? If you don't like extended analogies, then go watch Cowboy Bebop and skip my review. Time's a wastin'.
When I think of Cowboy Bebop, I don't think of old, garish, rubbish pictures of grainy animation and slipshod storylines made to fit the mass audience it tries and fails to appeal to. What I see now is a masterpiece that will last the ages - and I should have known better if an anime gets a English adaptation and is shown in America for over a decade it should be pretty freaking good. And I finally digress; if I am not able to convince you to watch the show by now, I have failed as a reviewer because, if anything, this was the best show I've ever watched. I can't say that for anything else, because I'm one of those people that says everything is his favorite show. But this easily trumps all that. See you later, Space Cowboy. read more
Jun 25, 2011
I don't mean just any kind of balls. I mean huge, sweaty, hairy testicles that swing back and forth like wrecking balls at the sheer hint of thigh movement. The atom-slicing power of these balls could level Detroit in a single blow. I'm not talking about the steroid ravaged, "mom where's the protein" balls of TTGL or G Gundam either. Those are anime you put on right after you inject yourself with bull-shark testosterone and deadlift 440 lbs. No, the balls Cowboy Bebop slaps on the table are of a different caliber; a different breed entirely, than the balls other anime, good and bad, have displayed in the past. They exude confidence without devolving into double-down, Long Island guido douchebaggery---they stand ice-cold in their manliness but aren't afraid to deliver one powerful scene after another. They aren't concerned with pretentious, Freudian mindfuckery, and they're past the "edginess" of gore, tits, and embarrassing profanity. There's no shitty gimmicks or pandering, and they don't let themselves fall victim to the stereotypes of what anime is supposed to be. Like Goku and Vegeta, or white people in Baltimore, they are the last of a dying breed.
Cowboy Bebop is an anime in the most basic sense of the word. In reality, it's a 26 episode, moving piece of artwork, taking influence from cultures in vastly different parts and time periods of the world. It's film noir, Chinatown style. It's The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, with Clint Eastwood's patented ice-cold asswhippery and Sergio Leone's masterful spaghetti western storytelling. It's 1930s New Orleans, Louisiana. It's Star Wars. It's Enter the Dragon. It's a culmination of the spiciest cultural influences from the far east to the shores of the west, and it's honestly the best experience with an anime you will ever have. Some people have a bone to pick with the episodic nature of the plot, but pay no mind to them. Each new episode is like a blank slate, individually developed and shaped into a unique piece; a miniature story that calls upon a fresh set of inspirations to give it a flavor all its own. The overarching plot of the show is subtle but existent; it draws upon all sorts of themes and motifs like love and revenge, and is quietly woven throughout the series until it finally takes precedence at the end. Despite this, the transition from standalone episodes to the overall story feels natural. Some shows force plot elements onto you like an American businessman on a young Filipino girl (ever see the second arc of Death Note?), but the progression here is cool Lester smooth. You can choose to take in the show however you want to---you can relish in the individual beauty of each episode or you can view the show as one coherent story, continually building off of itself. Either way, you end up with something that's completely genuine and one of a kind---there's no other anime like it.
While Cowboy Bebop isn't really associated with VIP quality artwork like it is with VIP quality soundtracks, Bebop has literally some of the best artwork in anime, ever. For some reason when you bring up the artwork from any pre-2000s anime, people get all condescending, like anything released before 2001 was drawn completely in purple crayon by Ms. Johnson's 8:30 AM kindergarten class. I've lost count of how many times I've heard stunning 90s animation cut down as "dated" by people that praise the emotionless, passionless digital animation of today. If anyone ever tells you Bebop's art is anything less than outstanding, punch them in the uterus for me. The animation is spectacular---the movement is surprisingly natural and the action is fluid. Watch a few of the fight scenes and you'll see why the creative staff of Naruto were reduced to ripping off one from the Cowboy Bebop movie, frame for frame. A lot of the character designs did away with traditional anime characteristics: bodies are proportional, even going so far as to downsize their usually massive eyes to a smaller, more manageable scale. The designs themselves are a treat to look at, and they fit the personalities of the characters pretty solidly. The action scenes themselves are varied, ranging the gauntlets from fistfights to dogfights and everything in between. If you don't think watching losers getting their shit wrecked is awesome, you will by the end of this show. Fuck, even the CG is good, if a little rough. The amount of detail Sunrise put into the animation is just, totally astonishing---even with the technological advancements of today it still takes a dump all over most of the artwork that's been put out in the past decade or so.
Now, again, Cowboy Bebop is associated primarily with its soundtrack. There's a particularly good reason for this, and it's because it's literally the best soundtrack you'll ever hear. While most anime, especially today, resort to typical gutter trash j-pop, the music of Bebop is an ensemble of jazz, blues, classical, funk, rock, with a little pop and even a little heavy metal. You get a nice introduction to what's in store from the OP---Tank is a kick in the ass and its only amplified by what's probably the best opening in all of anime. After an entire episode of fucking outrageous tracks, you close with The Real Folk Blues which is beautiful and totally melancholy. You will want to own every OST by the end of the show; other shows might have good music but I don't think I've ever seen a show with a soundtrack that's just as good if listened to like a regular old album. From Space Lion to Ask DNA, Yoko Kanno constantly hits it out of the park, and without her Bebop wouldn't have that signature vibe it's so well known for.
Also, the English dub is the best dub ever made. Period. If you watch this subbed you might as well kick yourself in the balls and set your computer on fire because you're depriving yourself of what is some of the best voice acting anime has ever seen. As much as I respect the Japanese voice actors and don't want to minimize their work, I don't even know what the hell they sound like because the dub is that fucking good. Trust me, even if you spit on dubs like they're a woman on the Maury show or a degree from ITT Tech, you need to give this one a chance. There is no weak link among the voice actors; every voice fits its character perfectly---every performance is Oscar worthy in its own right. It's honestly god-tier.
As for the characters, well, without them the show is nothing. Literally, the characters make this show. If you swapped them out for any other cast, the result would be a vastly inferior series about a group of douchebags on a gay spaceship who hang around shitholes and fuck with losers all day. Instead, what we're given is probably one of the most dramatic and artistic character pieces ever put to film. Each character feels like a living, breathing person, with their own faults and imperfections and checkered pasts. They don't just feel like plot devices for carrying a story along. The way they interact with each other and grow as people throughout all their exploits feels authentic and real, and their development over time is part of what makes Bebop so classic. Like real people, they constantly fight and bicker amongst one another but it's that bickering, and the experiences they have together, that draws them closer as a group. It's this approach to characterization that really pulls Bebop together as a whole---each character has their own story to tell and slowly, as you work your way through the series, you find out what those stories are. You have Spike, the smoothest, most ice cold motherfucker this side of the Milky Way, who brings a little humanity to the "live life in the fast lane and kick a shit ton of asses while you do it" lifestyle that he leads alongside his life partner Jet, who despite his ruggedness really serves as kind of a father figure to the group. Faye's past envelops her otherwise forward and strong personality, and Edward is just straight up goofy, but in an endearing way that actually makes you smile. Their trials and tribulations amongst each other and others from both their past and their present are entertaining, engrossing, and touching---again, without them, the show wouldn't be nearly what it is today.
I think the sheer quality and accessibility of this anime gives a lot of people the wrong idea, because I constantly see people recommending this as a great "first anime" for trying to get people into the medium. Cowboy Bebop was one of the first anime I saw, but I think using it as an introduction sends people the wrong message about what they should expect from most of the anime they'll see. Cowboy Bebop is a pinnacle in visual entertainment precisely because it's able to shed the typical "skin" of an anime and develop into something much deeper and more culturally rich. There's a lot of great anime out there, and the more anime I watch the more of it I discover. But starting with something so dissimilar to the majority of what anime is will give people a skewed perception of what anime should be right from the start. I guess this is the only way to get some people to sit down and actually watch a cartoon, but for others you're setting them up for disappointment down the road.
Enjoyment? It's the best anime I've ever seen. That's the only way I can describe how I feel about it. It'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry (keyword you, I don't have tear ducts so I can't cry. Tragic accident, I don't want to talk about it). It'll make you think, it'll make you feel. It might give you a boner. It's untouchable. It's ice cold. It's a classic.
It's the best anime I've ever seen. read more
Jun 15, 2011
"Fuck you! Cowboy Bebop is a classic! You're not allowed to criticize it!"
The more astute viewers will note that I scored the series a 6, but the movie a 9. I kind of like Cowboy Bebop. It does do some things very right. It had the potential to be one of the greatest franchises ever. Alas, while its production values are unmatched, the writing . . . doesn't always match up with the production. Because of this, the series ended up being a style-over-substance experience for me. But why was that? Sit tight; this is probably going to be my longest review ever.
In the late 21st century, mankind has started living in places in the solar system besides Earth. In this future are bounty hunters known as Cowboys. Cowboys do whatever they can to make cash to keep the food stockpile stocked and their spaceships running. The show follows one such group of Cowboys who pilot a ship called the Bebop. In the beginning, we meet Spike Spiegel, a former gangster, and Jet Black, a former cop. As the series progresses, the Bebop also has Ein, a super smart dog, Faye Valentine, a woman on the run, and Edward, a really, really, REALLY weird hacker girl. Cowboy Bebop has been described as a series that has a continuous plot, and has standalone episodes at the same time. Having seen the series, I can tell you that technically, most of the episodes aren't standalone, but many of them are only connected by the core characters.
Here's where one of my problems lie. When Cowboy Bebop is good, it's really good. The setting is very mature; it never condescends to the audience. The action scenes are superbly well done, the dialog is believable (though cheesy at times), and the atmosphere really pulls you in. How many episodes are actually really good? Seven. If you count the movie as an episode, that brings it up to eight. Eight out of twenty-seven episodes were good. The rest were not.
The problem with most of the episodes is one of two things: one, it's really boring, or, two, it's so cliched, you will be able to predict exactly what happens by the end after the first two minutes. or both. I have to be honest, a lot of the episodes of CB are just plain boring. If this wasn't a "classic" and a more ordinary anime series, a lot of them would be branded as what they truly are; filler episodes. And if it's not boring filler, it's hackneyed.
Watanabe is known for being a huge fan of American cinema, and that's obvious in CB. Unfortunately, he ripped off a lot of American movies virtually piecemeal. Now, you may not suspect it, but I am more knowledgeable of American cinema than I am Japanese animation. To describe it as best I can without spoiling, if you have seen at least one movie directed by Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, John Woo, and Michael Mann, then you have already seen Cowboy Bebop in another format. This is actually a clever trick though; most anime fans reject Western pop culture, and may not notice this when watching CB, so they'll think it's "fresh" and "original", when it's fact, it's actually MORE cliched then most anime. But hey, when CB is exciting and isn't (too) blatantly ripping off Hollywood, it's worth watching. 6/10.
Animation: I got no complaints. CB is probably the best-looking pre-digital anime I've ever seen. Even if you were to remake the series with digital enhancements, I doubt you could make it look better than it already is. Sumptuous backgrounds, top-notch character art, animation that ranges from above-average to really good, no off-model shots, this is a visual feast. The movie looks even better. It's obvious a lot of care was put into the visuals of CB. 10/10.
Sound: Ah yeah baby, this is why you watch CB, the music. The music is the magnum opus of Yoko Kanno. A combination of jazz, blues, and rock, but it isn't just any old jazz, blues, and rock, it's GOOD jazz, blues, and rock. Everything from the opening, to the incidental music, to the endings, you get music that will set your soul on fire. The only anime I've seen whose soundtrack could rival CB's is Death Note's. Something I noticed about CB's soundtrack is the music sounds more like music from albums rather than typical soundtrack music. Another smart move; most people are accustomed to listening to music from CD and MP3 albums as opposed to soundtracks, so when they hear CB's music, it'll be more familiar-sounding than most other anime soundtracks. Regardless, even if you hate CB, you gotta score this music.
CB is also famous for having what is perhaps the oldest English dub for an anime series that is considered god-like. I saw this on Adult Swim, and I can safely say, this is another masterpiece from Bandai and Bang Zoom. Every character sounds like how you would imagine them to, and the voices are neither wooden nor over-acted. All the different accents the characters have sound really cool too. I did sample the Japanese dub on the movie, and I will say, Spike and Jet sound really good in both Japanese and English, but I will never get used to Faye's Japanese voice. Yeah, this is one you gotta see in English. 10/10.
Characterization: Let's start positively. I like the main character Spike a lot. He is the embodiment of cool, like a 21st century version of Steve McQueen. He's cool, but he's very human too. He's reckless, he makes mistakes, but he knows how to charm people, and he also knows how to beat his targets. I also like Jet. He's a constant worrywart, which is a funny contrast to his rough appearance. Some of the incidental characters are memorable too, (but usually only in the good episodes and movie). Something else I liked was the Bebop crew was not always a stable group, or nakama you could say. In most anime, when the heroes band together, nothing ever separates them. That doesn't happen in CB. Sometimes, the crew gets in arguments, and sometimes, one of them will leave the Bebop for a time, and so on. It's a touch of realism I appreciate.
However, some of the characters didn't click with me. I never really cared for Faye. I don't dislike her, but I don't really care for her either. Edward is amusing, but she feels out of place in a series like this. The incidental characters in the less memorable episodes are just that, unmemorable. However, what I'm about to print in the next paragraph will anger thousands, possibly millions. (And maybe make hundreds say "Right on!") Mind you, it's just my opinion. Everything I print in these reviews is just my opinion; you don't have to take it personally, but the following opinion of mine needs to be said:
Vicious is one of the lamest villains ever.
The main antagonist is a man known as Vicious, someone who's still a part of the gang Spike came from. He's cunning, ruthless . . . and is absolutely lame. What's his motive? Does he just want power, or to mess with people? Even if so, why is he so boring to watch? The villain from the movie was a lot more interesting. Overall, you got two really good protagonists, some interesting chemistry between the protagonists, one-shot characters who are either interesting or not, and a forgettable antagonist. Yay. 6/10.
Enjoyment: My personal enjoyment for this series varies wildly. There were some episodes that I would score a 4 out of 10. And yet, there are some episodes, including the movie, that I would score a 9 out of 10. The 6 overall is just from mixing the good episodes with the bad.
However, there's something I did not enjoy about CB; the ending. (More flames incoming, xm! Duck and cover!) Now, the ending is not quite as bad as the ending for, say, Akira, or the anime version of Chobits. It does have a sense of finality to it, something most anime endings don't have. However, I did not find it "legendary." I found it disappointing. First of all, the ending is extremely predictable. It's virtually telegraphed to you before it even happens. Not only that, when I saw it, my reaction was, " . . . that's it? Seriously, that's IT?" But notwithstanding that, I saw a lot of potential in the episodes I did like, and the movie doesn't have most of the flaws that annoy me. (I own the movie on DVD, but not the series.) 6/10.
There has been some backlash against CB in recent years. Some people complain it's not "Japanese-y" enough, that it's too Western. I mentioned that earlier, but there is another anime I've seen, Baccano, which is also very similar to American movies, but it was consistently entertaining, and not as predictable as CB, so I did not mind. Others have mentioned the same things I have, that it's boring, the plot isn't strong enough, it's style over substance. This isn't a disaster by any means, but I do have to say that, outside of the production values, CB is one of the most overrated anime I've seen. It's not one of the worst, certainly not, but it's not quite the experience I was promised either.
I like to imagine that in an alternate dimension, CB was an OVA series instead of a tv series. All the episodes I do like, (# 2, 8, 12, 13, 17, 20, and 22) were released on separate OVAs, as well as a few others to bridge the plot gaps. Then a theatrical came out (Knocking on Heaven's Door), and then another to end it all (The Real Folk Blues, albeit with a revised conclusion), and it would be grandiose. Alas, I don't live in that universe. Hey, Shinichiro Watanabe likes drawing influence from Hollywood, right? What's something its doing a lot of right now? Continuity reboots? He could still do that. I can dream, can't I?
EDIT: I accidentally called the last episode "The Real World Blues" instead of "The Real Folk Blues." Whoops, sorry about that. read more
Nov 7, 2006
While a lot of people want that "similar episode" feel, if you're the kind of person that enjoys a fast paced anime (with each character getting his or her own spotlight), this is for you. If you're not the type to enjoy fast paced, bounty huntin' fun, and rather you like deep thought provoking, dark, mysterious shows...don't watch Cowboy Bebop. Vicious (one of the characters) may be able to bring a little of that sinister side for you, but this isn't that kind of show. read more
Apr 20, 2010
I'm not gonna bother writing about how cool the main protagonist Spike Spiegel is, or how colourful the rest of the cast are - those are established facts and have been discussed to death already, so I'm gonna write about what makes "Cowboy Bebop" different instead. Almost everything about it is unusual. It's a clash of a huge number of often contradicting styles that, on paper, looks like disasters waiting to happen. However, the reality is that "Cowboy Bebop" takes everything in its stride and pulls off the stunt with flying colours. It catches the attention straight away with its strikingly retro opening sequence reminiscent of a typical jazzy 70/80's TV series. The feel of the anime itself is a seamless marriage of anime sci-fi and American westerns, backed up by some slick jazz/blues (as well as other African-American influenced) sound track. Even discounting these obvious western influences, it's still very un-anime like in a lot of respects - the art style goes for what I would call stylish realism, it's very slightly comically oriented, with no giant eyed cuteness or super distortions in sight. The humour it uses is also mostly toned down, subtle, western humour as opposed to the in your face, over the top slap stick found in most other anime. And yet, at other times, its anime roots shine through brightly - for example the character design of Vicious, with his katana and grey/white hair, is about as anime as you can get (well, maybe he could do with longer hair, like Sephiroth's from Final Fantasy VII).
Even in its content, "Cowboy Bebop" breaks new ground. It doesn't go for a long continuous plot, but instead opts for the episodic format, but with one flagship storyline spanning 5 episodes that pops in during various parts of the series. This doesn't sound special by itself, but what is remarkable is the sheer diversity found in the episodes. It proclaims itself to be a work that "becomes a new genre in itself", which might sound arrogant to the point of delusional. But this bold, swaggering claim actually has a ring of truth to it. "Cowboy Bebop" is like a huge number of genres combined, and yet doesn't fully fit into any particular one simply because it's composed of so many. Like one of those annoying people that you used to know from school who is good at everything, whatever genre "Cowboy Bebop" touches turns to gold. The comedy is hilarious, the action is edge of the seat stuff, and the horror themed episodes do manage to create a kind of unsettling atmosphere of anticipation and suspense. I think almost everyone will find something to their taste. Moreover, since I haven't anything like this done before, and anything that comes after that dares to attempt anything that's even remotely similar will be seen as copying (for example, even though "Samurai Champloo", produced by the same person, is an undoubted success, it had no where near the impact of "Cowboy Bebop"), "Cowboy Bebop" has effectively cemented itself as a unique experience in a class of its own.
Quite a few of the episodes in "Cowboy Bebop" reveals some of the characters' backgrounds, but they don't reveal everything. For the most part, only subtle hints are given, and you're left to join up the sparsely distributed dots using your own imagination. Usually I hate this kind of thing, but you know what? In the special case of "Cowboy Bebop", it somehow WORKS. In this case, less is more, the show's incomplete state feels just right, and the tantalising bits of clues and short flashbacks piece together into a enigmatic, fragmental past that adds to rather than detract from the flavour of the anime. There is no better example of this than during the flagship storyline where we catch a glimpse of Spike's mysterious past. In fact these episodes deserves special mention - they are clearly meant to be the diamonds amongst the gems. In crafting these episodes, the creators obviously asked themselves the question: the short stories' collective strength lies their variety, so what can we do with this central attraction to make it stand out? The answer was obvious: it was to make it into something that's the very definition of awesomeness. And boy did they achieve it. The general gist of this story is Spike settling scores with Vicious, an old enemy from his little known past. It's a classic set up that's been used many, many times before, and on the face of it, "Cowboy Bebop" doesn't really bring anything new to the table. But saying this segment of "Cowboy Bebop" is just another one of those show down between nemesis stories is like saying J. S. Bach is just another Baroque composer. Bach was not known as an innovator, and distinguished himself as the greatest composer of his time simply by being so much better than everyone else. In the same way, "Cowboy Bebop" took a much used idea and, despite not doing anything that's different, produced something that's on a completely different plane to everything else. Everything about "Cowboy Bebop" is already smooth and polished, but in those episodes the production somehow manages to climb up yet another level, and every single fiber of it is executed to perfection.
That Spike vs Vicious segment of "Cowboy Bebop" is so good in fact, that viewers often mistake it as the only story "Cowboy Bebop" is trying to tell, and thus the other episodes naturally gets mistaken as fillers, and this is one of the most common criticisms levelled at "Cowboy Bebop" - it's composed almost entirely of fillers. But I think this is missing the whole point of the series. Just like a serious show should not be faulted for not being funny, "Cowboy Bebop" should not be faulted for being episodic, but should be judged based on what it's trying to achieve. What it is trying to achieve is variety, and thus purposefully avoided the continuous story format. Those "fillers" are essential building blocks towards achieving this aim, and so shouldn't really be regarded as fillers at all. Real fillers would be like in "Full Moon wo Sagashite", where they actually got a continuous story to tell, but instead of telling it chose to go faffing around on mostly unrelated mini adventures that nearly put me to sleep. The key question is does "Cowboy Bebop" deliver what it's trying to deliver, and there is no doubt in my mind that is does.
It's generally acknowledged that "Cowboy Bebop" is not a deep anime, so the fact that shows up at the top of so many critics' list arguably makes it the biggest triumph for a style over substance anime. The show's ending theme is called "The Real Folk's Blues" (ironically, it's actually a rock song) - rather appropriately, I thought, because this series frequently give rise to some of the most contemplative, melancholy moments despite not being terribly deep. These kind of moments often left me with a feeling of immense fulfilment as the end credits starts to roll. Perhaps it's this engimatic quality that lends it that special aura. It may not be my personal favourite, but unlike, say, "Elfen Lied", I can certainly see why it deserves to be labelled as the greatest ever - I, for one, am not about to argue against it. read more
Jun 3, 2007
Cowboy Bebop is probably the most amazing anime I have had the privilege of watching. Even now, seven years after watching it for the first time I am having difficulty putting it into words. What is so unique about it is how the episodes don't link together, but instead mainly focus on a character or two. Director Shinichiro Watanabe did such an amazing job flushing out the characters whether the current episode shows them living their day-by-day life in the present, or delving into a certain characters unique past it really makes the Cowboy Bebop universe seem tangible. Unfortunately this is also Cowboy Bebop's downfall. Not because it's bad, but because so many people pass this by thinking it has no story. To those that think this is the case I encourage you to go back, and watch the whole thing. Not only does this anime give you the most amazing character development it manages to weave in a story along the way right under your nose. Until the last two episodes hit, then you will understand what it was all about. When it was all said and done for me my first time through, and the series came to an end, I felt like I had just witnessed my best friend get run over by a bus. Most people probably think that sounds terrible, but it takes something truly great to yank that much emotion out of you.
Animation: 10/10 Keepin' it real.
CB's animation is truly something to behold. It matches very well with the character development in making the whole series seem tangible. Character proportions are well regulated, and maintained through the whole thing. Which is very important to me in an anime. It does a much better job then huge block buster animes being released now, e.g. Naruto/Bleach.
When you speak about animation of CB you definitely have to speak of the action sequences. The gunfights, and hand-to-hand combat are superb. Spike constantly gets injured also making it seem much more realistic, and interesting. The best part though about them is there is hardly any bullshit talking interrupting the action. I don't know about you, but I hate when two characters stop in the middle of a fight to drink some tea, and have a ten minute conversation, emo flash-back included. I could go on and on, but then what would be the point of you watching it.
Sound: 10/10 The hills are alive...
Tank! is absolutely the only anime music I will ever have included in my play-list. Which says a lot, because normally when I start an episode of something fresh off the torrents I pretty much skip past the opening theme. That being said, CB is deeply rooted in Jazz music, but it all sounds beautiful when played side by side with the anime. I've never been much a musician, but I do know what I enjoy, and what I don't enjoy. It all sounds excellent, and I'm not a big jazz fan at all. Not to mention Yoko Kanno mentioned to slap some Pink Floyd into episode 20, Perriot le Fou. Don't believe me? Go pop in Dark Side of the Moon, and skip to track 2.
Overall Cowboy Bebop is one big tribute to many cultures. Whether it be John Woo style gun fights, the Indian sitting in his tee-pee with his playstation, 1337 haxxors, or the Japanese's immense fear of dieing. There is a lot that Cowboy Bebop parodies while still managing to keep itself original. I'm tired of all the dime-a-dozen anime characters. E.g. the clumsy yet dormant super powerful main character, or the silent bad ass who's family died, and is in all reality an emo kid screaming out for attention. I've seen both these character types a hundred times over. This is why I idolize Cowboy Bebop, and truly believe that it is the best anime of all time.
Oct 3, 2010
Now Cowboy Bebop has it all; great characters with good backstories, smooth animation, amazing music and lots of humor. So why don't I love it? Quite simply, Cowboy Bebop was a frustrating experience for me! I watched the series on and off over a couple of months, far longer than it normally takes for me to finish a series this short. I found it very off-putting that, with such interesting characters, the creators chose to spend so much time doing nothing with them!
As others have mentioned, each episode is a hit or a miss. Some tackle the main characters, mix in some plot, throw in new characters or ideas and are just amazing overall. And then others are meandering and pointless.
Now this is found in any slice-of-life series, it comes with the package. But in Cowboy Bebop it especially bothered me to spend an episode watching some character do something I could care less about when there are four amazing, interesting characters with stories that could fill several seasons sitting around and not getting anywhere!
Vicious and Julia for example; why did we spend an episode watching Jet's old friend's daughter come to grips with her father's lack of affection for her? I honestly can't remember. And then you have Vicious and Julia's very few appearances despite being characters very important in the overall plot and intriguing characters in their own right.
So before you hit the non helpful button, please remember that I do hold the series in high regard. It is a very well-made series that raises many interesting questions and concepts; and while some episodes frustrated me, others fascinated me. There's nothing wrong with the series, and I know many people like it's meandering nature and enjoy the lack of an over-arching plot (which, by the way, was rather tidily summed up in two eps at the end, nicely done).
While my objective opinion is that it is a well-made series, well worth a watch, my subjective view wishes it was different, that it had been a story about Spike's past, about Vicious, about their friendship, about Julia's love and Jet and Faye's stories as well. It is because I loved the characters so much that I wanted more of them, wanted to see them more, know them more.
Why are you still reading my review? Go check it out! read more
Jun 24, 2008
Manga, Anime: Cowboy Bebop has two manga incarnations to its name. The first, with the same title as the show, is a manga adaptation of the anime, with story by Hajime Yamate and art by Yutaka Nanten, and ran in Kadokawa Shoten's Asuka Fantasy DX magazine from April 1998 to April 2000. The second, titled Cowboy Bebop: Shooting Star, is a retelling of the anime, done by Cain Kuga, and also ran in Asuka Fantasy DX during 1997. Both have been licensed Stateside by Tokyopop, and the release date for the third and second and final volumes for both were August 20th, 2002, and June 10th, 2003.
The anime itself ran for twenty-six episodes, though it originally had a disrupted run on TV Tokyo from April 3rd to June 19th, 1998, before airing in full on a disrupted broadcast schedule on the satellite network WOWOW from October 23rd, 1998 to April 23rd, 1999. It was produced by Sunrise (famous for their work on Inuyasha and the Gundam series), and directed by Shinichiro Watanabe (famous for his work on Macross Plus and Samurai Champloo). It was licensed Stateside by Bandai Entertainment, and the box set of the Remix episodes (which was also the version I watched) was released on February 5th of this year (2008). There is a movie that was released not long after the series ended, which I will cover later in the review.
Story: It's the year 2071 AD, and mankind has colonized the entire solar system. Spike Spiegel is a Cowboy (this era's term for bounty hunters) who works with Jet Black to track down bounties and struggle to live off of them. Along the way, they pick up a few extra people and their pasts are bought to light.
Cowboy Bebop is, for the most part, a bounty of the week episode, with some minor continuing threads. All in all, it's done pretty well, with bounties delving into the pasts of characters, and being just interesting in general. The characters are an interesting bunch of people, with Ed taking the cake as crack in human form. :P
Some will complain that the plot in the last two episodes comes out of nowhere, but they're a bit inaccurate there; the threads have been building up in episodes here and there throughout the show, though they are admittedly a bit scattered.
Art: The show's a bit dated, obviously. But, compared to other shows that were airing around that time (Ruroni Kenshin, Beserk), the animation is pretty good. The designs for characters are very well done, and the designs for the ships and all the backgrounds in particular are amazingly detailed.
Music: Yoko Kanno and the Seatbelts did the work for this soundtrack, and it's absolutely amazing. There's so much variety in all the variations on jazz and blues that they do for this, and it's amazingly catchy. This was one of the first soundtracks I actively noticed in a show and tried to find.
They also did work on the OP, "Tank!" (which Baccano! takes a cue from) and ED, "The Real Folk Blues", both of which are instantly memorable and fit the series quite well.
Length: I liked sixteen out of the twenty-six total episodes, and the series probably would've done well to keep those episodes in the long run and cut the rest. Still, all in all, that's a pretty good percentage.
Seiyuu: Megumi Hayashibara (famous for her roles as Rei Ayanami in Evangelion and Atsuko Chiba and Paprika in Paprika) plays Faye Valentine in this, and Jouji Nakata appears in a minor role. I admire Ed's seiyuu for being able to capture the sheer crazy of her character. All in all, a pretty good job.
Voice Actors: Cowboy Bebop was one of the first anime I watched, back when it was regularly airing on Adult Swim. When I went back to watch it, I found that, all things considered, the voice actors did a pretty good job with their roles. The voices weren't quite the same, but, all in all, still fit the characters pretty well. One of the better dubs I've seen out there.
Dub: Looking back on the dub, it was one of the better dubs I saw back when I was first getting into anime. A few lines of dialogue were altered in the English version, and some minor edits were made so that it was able to air on TV, but compared to DiC's butchering of Sailor Moon, it was a pretty good job. If only they could've all been this good.
Overall: A well-done show, with an episodic plot that delves into it's character's past that sporadically builds to the conclusion, detailed animation, amazing music, and a pretty good dub.
Definitely in my top ten shows; a must-watch.
Voice Actors: 8/10
Overall: 58/70; 83% (B) read more
May 5, 2013
-It's got interesting characters
-The fight scenes are choreographed so well and the jazz-like music in the background mixes so well with the mood
-It has a fairly non-linear plot, so many of the episodes could be watched on their own without missing any important information from the previous episode
-It's got an amazing ending, perhaps one of the best of all time
-It doesn't ever take itself too seriously, but at the same time never attempts to be campy.
-The music tends to be awesome
-A large variety of different episodes; from the serious nature of the last two episodes to the goofy nature of the mushroom episode
I could go on. Let me just end with this: this was one of the first serious anime series that I ever watched (was about 13 or so when I first saw CB) and is still is one of my all-time favorite series.
Bottom line: check out Cowboy Bebop if you haven't. There's a good chance that you'll find at least one thing from this show that you'll really like. read more
Oct 25, 2012
-The story takes place in a space-western setting, where "The Bebops," hunt down criminals for large sums of cash, we could also call them "Bounty hunters." However, most of the criminals tend to get away from our good crew, or are either left for dead never to see the light of day. We're introduced to Spike and jet the first members of The Bebop, but as the story progresses and the episodes fly three more join The Bebop. Those three are Faye who loves to leave the debt on everyone, and whenever it comes up she's either running from the ship to a bar or somewhere where she can't be found. Edward, also known as the "Genius" a young hacker who everyone thinks is a boy, but don't let the personality fool you, and last but not least is Ein the wonderful pooch, also known as a "Data dog."
-The Art/Animation was really well done for the times this show was made. You can tell they put lots of effort into the scenery throughout the show, and portrayed the image of the characters animations, spike being the totally elastic band guy he is and Edward being the crazed motion character.
-I'm putting Sound/Enjoyment together because every series needs good music, whether it be humming or some classic Jazz that we get in the series. Without great sound effects and music the show becomes dull and no one will like that. Cowboy Bebop deserves praise for the Jazz music that was put into all the scenes of the show. For a 90's show it can bring out the enjoyment and tunes needed for a series.
-The Characters, one of the biggest roles I'd say that needs great development next to the story. This gets shown throughout the series and even out does some of today's standards. As we progress the characters don't feel like they get developed much, but they do as every character has their own little arc in a way; where all the pieces fit like a puzzle.
A few more characters get introduced to the story, but they don't get enough screen time to really put a great note on them, such as Vicious and Julia one being the primary Antagonist for Spike, and the other being the tip of the "love triangle." I can't say anymore than that because it would spoil the characters development. You would need to watch the series in order to understand about these two, as they're apart of Spikes past.
-Overall the series, Cowboy Bebop was a wonderful watch and portrayed everything to my liking and hopefully this Review can give you an idea of the kind show the series is and what it turns into later on. As for my final words there wasn't anything to dislike, and so I leave behind a simple word.
*BANG!* read more
Jun 28, 2011
Being one of the more popular anime titles out there, does it really live up to all the hype? Hopefully, this review will answer some of those questions for you. Diehard fans of the series may not like some of the things that I’m about to say, just to give you fair warning.
Story (4/10)—Whoa, hold on a second! Didn’t you just spend the first paragraph of this review praising the anime? Yes, people who inevitably will question me, I did. However, this particular chunk of the review won’t be so lavish with praise.
Allow me to explain myself. The 4/10 makes it look like I hated this show. Let me assure you that I did not hate it.
The story of Cowboy Bebop takes place, you guessed it, sometime in the future in outer space. It follows the adventures of a bounty hunter named Spike and his buddy, Jet, a fellow bounty hunter. While this sounds like a stereotypical journey through space boredom, it’s actually quite refreshing. Spike and Jet live in a space world that somehow reminds you of the old west. The entire start of the story just feels organic. You get a good sense of who the two characters are, and what they’re doing.
So, why have I given the story such a low score? Well, quite simply, it was the startling lack of depth to the story that killed it for me. For the first several episodes, the show feels, well…episodic. There isn’t really a whole lot of story to connect the events of the first several episodes together. The only real common thread is Spike and Jet collecting bounty after bounty. Now, much to my surprise, this actually wasn’t a bad thing at first. I can deal with a few episodes where the plot isn’t apparent yet, if done well. And these episodes were! There were very good, and quite fun to watch! The atmosphere drew me in, the characters were intriguing, and the action was well-executed.
However, as any viewer will, I eventually began to get curious about the past of the characters, and how they’ve come to be where they are now. After a few episodes, you finally start to get a few painfully brief glimpses into Spike’s past as he comes face to face with an old enemy. However, this tension is quickly dropped in favor of some more episodic adventures.
Fast forward another several episodes, and you get some more overarching plot involving this aforementioned villain. This particular adventure is split into two episodes, which got me very interested. However, the story drops the overall plot AGAIN and doesn’t pick it back up until the final two episodes. I really am not exaggerating, folks; aside from an occasional, brief flashback, the entire plot takes place in the space of about five episodes.
So what are the other twenty-one episodes? Well, most of the other episodes are fun little adventures that involve some new villain every time, and put the characters in some sort of funny/amusing situation. Enough for some people, perhaps, but not for me. What really hooks me into a show is good, solid, well-planned plot. And Cowboy Bebop plain and simply failed to deliver. And on top of all that, the ending is…well, to avoid spoilers, let’s just say I didn’t care for it.
Basically, I was sitting there frothing at the mouth, episode after episode, saying “Where’s the plot? When does the plot start to form?”. And then I was left with precious little plot at all, only to be disappointed by the ending. It’s like if you’re at a restaurant and they give you a salad, and I mean a really, REALLY delicious salad as an appetizer, but when you finish your salad and keep asking for the main course, they just give you more salad instead. Then, once you’re starting to get sick of salad, they hand you a stale pop-tart as dessert and send you on your way. What? Where’s all the good stuff that I came here for?
That’s exactly how I felt at the end of Cowboy Bebop. I felt dissatisfied, and I felt like a great group of characters with good back stories, a very good atmosphere, an interesting villain, and some really solid action scenes had all simply gone to waste. I think that’s why I dislike the story so much. It got my expectations so high because the first few episodes were so good, only to disappoint me in the end.
Art (10/10)—See? There WERE things I liked about this show!
Cowboy Bebop really is a gem among animation. Mind you, this anime was released in 1999, and the animation is STILL better than half of the stuff that’s released today. Every motion is fluid and smooth, and I never noticed any instances where the animation was lazy, or where the creators cut corners to save time or money. What really gets me is how some objects, like spaceships, were drawn without computer animation. Most animators will use computers to animate something with many moving parts, but not Cowboy Bebop. And in the instances where computer animation is used, it often took me several times to actually notice it.
Everything about the animation in this show is superb, from the characters, to the background, to the dark color palette that makes up the show. There were times when I wanted to pause the video just so I could stop and look at all of the beautiful details in the background. All in all, the art creates a very convincing atmosphere that makes you feel like you really ARE in space with the characters.
Sound (10/10) — I really don’t think you can find an anime with a better score than this one. I’m completely serious. I know that it’s a bold claim to make, but the music is absolutely sensational! Remember how I keep blabbing on about what great atmosphere this show has? Well, the music is largely a part of it. “Tank”, the opening theme, is one of the most popular opening titles in the history of anime, and nearly every other bit of music is as fun and addicting to listen to as the title. This is easily the strongest point of the show, and was a large part of what I enjoyed while watching it.
For the first time, well…ever, I watched this series entirely in English. I was shocked to discover that the English dub of this show is VERY good. I’ve heard rumors that the creator of the show likes the English voices better than the Japanese, but I’m not certain of whether it’s true or not. In any case, you won’t be disappointed if you watch this show in English. I’ve never heard such a skilled cast of voice actors put together for any English dub, and never even once stopped and thought about the voice acting being poor. I can’t speak for the Japanese voices, but I’ve heard that those are quite good as well. No matter how you watch it, you’re not likely to be disappointed by the voice actors.
Characters (6/10)—The first rule of creating any workable story is that the characters must be believable. And, largely, the characters of this show fit that mold. In addition to Spike and Jet, there are two other members that make it onboard to become part of the crew, and although these characters spend the majority of the time being annoyed with one another, you’ll still find yourself liking them and laughing at their dynamic they share. Each character gets at least one episode devoted to exploring their back story, which is a significant chunk of time, considering the short length of the show.
Thus, each character was fleshed out very well by the end of the series, and I found myself caring about each of them, even the ones who had annoyed me at first. However, by the time the plot starts to wrap up in the last two episodes, I came to realize that the relationships between the characters weren’t really going anywhere. One character whom didn’t give a rip about Spike at the beginning, actually started to care whether he existed or not by the end. Spike doesn’t seem to care at all, and what could have made for a very interesting moment between two characters was thrown out the window when Spike walked away.
I think my biggest reason for the low score was at the end, how so little emotional catharsis was achieved. Spike spends most of the series remembering a woman he loved, but the ending doesn’t really do much to take care of all that pent-up emotion. Even when Spike has that inevitable facedown with the villain at the end, I still didn’t feel like anything had really been achieved. Yes, I suppose the plot had technically been resolved, but what about my beloved characters? How do they react to all of this? Well, I hope you didn’t care about them, because the show never tells you.
It’s that stale pop-tart showing up again. Not only do you get an unsatisfactory ending plot-wise, but the show NEVER tells you what happens to the other characters! Even if they had all died, I still would at least have known what happened to them. However, the ending focuses solely on Spike, and even what happens to him leaves a little room for interpretation and guesswork. I suppose that’s why I disliked the plot so much. I felt like the characters that I knew and loved weren’t done justice by the ending.
Enjoyment (7/10)—This anime left me torn. I loved the music. I loved the art. I loved the characters. I even loved the first few episodes of the show, but I just felt like the ending let me down. Ultimately, I did enjoy the show, despite the many flaws I pointed out.
Overall (7/10)—So now it’s time to answer the question I posed at the beginning: is this show overrated? My answer would be a tentative “yes”. While there are aspects of the show that I didn’t care for, namely the plot, I still really enjoyed it, and the music definitely lived up to the hype.
Ultimately, I’d say this show is definitely worth watching. I just feel like whenever a show gets as much hype as this one does, people are bound to be disappointed once in awhile.
Feb 26, 2010
Story-wise, Cowboy Bebop doesn't actually have any past 4, maybe 5, episodes overall. It is episodic, some of the 20 minute plotlines a hit, and others a miss. Some are character-based, some are silly (the fridge will get cleaned out more often now if I have anything to say about it), and some are serious. Once you finally hit the actual "story" of Cowboy Bebop near the end, it is amazing how well they managed to set it up and run it so smoothly without much priorly given information.
It took me until the last day I decided to just sit down and watch the last seven episodes to decide if I just meh liked, or loved, the characters. I've settled into a happy medium. Everyone down to Ein have a sort of apathetic depth that makes them feel all the more real. They have flaws, they have personalities, they work well together. Sometimes it's hard to remember they are fictional because of how naturally they act.
Overall, Cwboy Bebop delivers enjoyment of not being a "this is what we learned today" anime, but also not a shallow, "who cares" anime. It has a level of depth where it gives off a "this is what's going on and we don't care if you have an issue with it" feel, something that made it boring, or extra good, depending on my mood. It's a good one to try and see, and it's also a good one to watch over a period of time, and give a couple of chances. It definitely has a bit of everything, from silly to downright creepy, and even if you don't like it as a whole, you will probably find at least one episode that suits your tastes. read more
Apr 5, 2008
Cowboy Bebop takes place in the year 2071. Decades earlier a system of gates was established to allow for easy travel throughout the solar system. However, due to a fatal instability in the gate system that was ignored by the contractors, a disaster known as the Gate Accident occurred. As a result of the accident most of Earth's surface was destroyed and humanity spread out to more habitable places on or around other planets. This leads to a kind of neo-Wild West scenario with the central government and law enforcement agencies in a weakened state leading to a kind of lawlessness. It is an institutionalized system of bounty hunters that picks up the slack and this is the concept much of the program centers on.
The setting, as mentioned, is a kind of neo-Wild West in space, hence the "Cowboy" half of the title. Unlike Trigun, for example, which takes place in a setting that, steampunk elements aside, is virtually identical to that found in American Westerns, Cowboy Bebop plays out in a setting very much like the present. Its science fiction but the world is nonetheless recognizable as being our own. Some elements stand out on occasion from the rest of the world as though they were transposed straight out of a typical American Western with little thought to consistency with the rest of the setting (for example the occasional conspicuous presence of individuals dressed in ponchos and sombreros), but it all works nonetheless to create an intriguing world for the story lines to play out in.
I tend to think that one the reasons for Cowboy Bebop's monumental success is the fact that it is a very fun, easy show to watch. It doesn't make any demands on the viewer with its highly episodic nature and lack of any real overarching plot. The closest Cowboy Bebop comes to having one is the story of Spike's past and even then it only occupies five episodes out of the total twenty-six. By and large, episodes either focus on the story of a specific bounty or on developing the main cast and their pasts and even though Spike's story is given the most attention it still suffers from the limited amount of time it receives. In fact, if I were pressed, I'd have to say that the main story line is not exclusively about Spike's past at all but about everyone's. The members of the crew of the spaceship Bebop all have troubled pasts which they all eventually have to face up to and that they will either overcome and move on or be destroyed.
To it's credit Cowboy Bebop possesses a well-developed essentially likable cast of characters. Spike, Jet, and Faye are all interesting characters and even Ed, despite remaining largely a question mark throughout compared to the rest, is still a fun character to watch. Problems arise, however, with members of the supporting cast, specifically those involved with Spike's past. His past is revealed with a wonderful sense of subtlety throughout via the use of flashes of memory, succeeding to tell a complete story despite the time constraints. However Spike's old associates from the Red Dragon syndicate don't come out so well. Julia and particularly Vicious receive very little development. Some characters from stand-alone bounty hunting episodes are more developed. Often the most understanding that is provided about these characters comes solely from Spike’s reactions to them which, to be fair, often proves to be enough.
On the audio/visual front Cowboy Bebop is quite the success. Character designs by Toshihiro Kawamoto are consistently appealing and the animation is smooth utilizing a nicely done blend of two dimensional and computer generated animation. For the purposes of this review I watched the dub for Cowboy Bebop which is regarded as one of the best with good reason. All members of the cast fit their characters well and convey believable emotion when needed. Yoko Kanno should need little introduction for her role in composing the soundtrack, focusing primarily on jazz while providing a fair variety of other genres throughout. All in all a very high quality production even ten years later.
Overall, for me, Cowboy Bebop isn't a favorite, my main gripe being my issues with the story line. However, despite that it proved to be a very fun, perhaps even addictive show to watch. It has a wonderful soundtrack and a cast of characters well worth remembering after the final credit scroll. For this I award it an overall rating of 8/10. read more
Feb 24, 2013
Critic's Log: Earthdate - March 12, 2012. Review #1: Cowboy Bebop.
It is the year 2071 and Mars has become the central hub of human civilization ever since a hyperspace experiment on the moon failed and made Earth uninhabitable. The entire Solar System has been accessible thanks to reliable hyperspace gates and crime syndicates have exerted their power and influence over the government and the ISSP (Inter-Solar System-Police). As a result, The ISSP has put in a bounty system similar to The Old West has been included to deal with fugitives, terrorists and other criminals. The bounty hunters are usually called "Cowboys". Bounty hunters Spike Spiegel and Jet Black are flying around space and trying to catch their bounty.
That is the premise of Cowboy Bebop. This is where I start to get technical, Cowboy Bebop does not have much of a main storyline (except for episodes like Ballad of Fallen Angels, the Two-part episode Jupiter Jazz and the two part finale The Real Folk Blues), and those 5 episodes are what you could call "plot" episodes, while the remaining 21 are standalone episodes. With that said, those episodes are not even considered filler. Some of the ideas in these standalone really stand out impressively. Here are some examples: Sympathy for the Devil, Waltz for Venus, Ganymede Elegy, etc., etc...
If there is a blinding aspect, it is the animation. For 1998, the animation was pretty good back then and still looks good today. Some episodes have some cool animation effects as well. Sunrise is the animation studio behind Cowboy Bebop and that might not be saying much, however there is one apparent note about this show, apparently Cowboy Bebop's success led to 3 staff members from Sunrise that co-founded the studio that we know today as Studio Bones. In other words, animes like RahXephon, Wolf's Rain, Eureka Seven, Darker than BLACK, Soul Eater, and both Fullmetal Alchemist animes were apparently made possible due to Bebop's success. The action scenes are well animated, and the visuals are even breathtaking at times.
If there are any anime purists out there that have not seen Cowboy Bebop yet, consider this recommendation an exception, the English dub is very good and hardly flawed. Steven Jay Blum gives Spike a good badass tone to his character, Wendee Lee sounds both sexy and sensitive as Faye, Beau Billingslea has a cool father-like tone as Jet, and Melissa Fahn is charmingly silly as Edward. The dub can be considered better than the original Japanese version of the show, and I have known some purists that mention that Cowboy Bebop's dub was very good. I personally love the dub, it was spot-on and all the voices matched. So, what do I think of the subtitled version? Answer: I find it Underrated compared to the dub. The voice cast of the subtitled version had some well-known voice actors such as Kouichi Yamadera, Megumi Hayashibara, Unsho Ishizuka, and even Norio Wakamoto is in the subbed version. There is nothing wrong with the subtitled version; it may be a bit overshadowed by the dubbed Version
f there is an aspect that struck all the chords right is the soundtrack which is by Yoko Kanno. Some people consider Bebop's soundtrack to be her best. There is one fact about the soundtrack is that Kanno-san formed a band known as The Seatbelts which includes over 70 musicians which resided in Japan, New York, and Paris. I consider it impressive. If you try listening to the soundtrack without the show, it may feel like you're listening to an album rather than a soundtrack. The soundtrack really made a permanent impression on me. My personal favorite moment that involved the soundtrack was the two songs used in the cathedral scene, which were Rain and Green Bird. Hell, the opening theme kicks so much ass, and The Real Folk Blues is a good closing theme. The soundtrack is groovy
What really makes the show impressive is that some scenes have music playing and not have much dialogue in it. This is somewhat of a symbolic example that silence can indeed be golden. This is Kanno-san’s most famous and critically acclaimed soundtrack. Otakus mostly rejoice when Kanno –san is involved in musical compositions ever since she finished her work on Cowboy Bebop. She is mostly a fan favorite in the anime fan base when it comes to the music department and that should come as no surprise. She’s that popular and talented. I do appreciate the work she has done up to this very day.
The characters are also great. Spike is shown as a rogue badass with a past catching up to him. Jet appears to be a cool guy who happens to be the Captain of the Bebop. Faye is a con-woman and an interesting character even though she is kind of rude. Ein is adorable, and Edward is a silly random character that has a positive outlook in life. I think she was an awesome character for comic relief in the show. Some minor characters were also interesting. There is a common theme that runs through all of the characters and that is the pasts of these characters. It's definitely an overused trope but I think the past is something we all quite can't forget which doesn't make this trope clichéd, it's just a common one that is almost always effective.
Cowboy Bebop claims to be a genre unto itself. I am not sure how to give a clear analogy on that, but it has interesting themes that are unique to the show. There are some homages and send ups to famous movies in this show. This is a show that knew how to treat adults and people who like movies, music, Science Fiction, Western and so forth. Shinichiro Watanabe really nailed the direction of this anime because he always liked to mix up different opposing styles to make something completely new and unordinary. Cowboy Bebop has elements of Western, Space Opera, Film Noir, Martial Arts, and Jazz music. All these elements blended extremely well and this was a very unique anime at the time and I can understand why this anime was so revolutionary at the time. End Result: WINNING!
Since the popularity of Cowboy Bebop soared past through the stars, is it even fair to say that this show is overrated? It is considered an influential anime and I see why, a lot of people have universally praised the hell out of this show. The stories, animation, characters, music, and style are blended in so well that it almost makes it hard to see animes of this caliber.
If there is a drawback, I could say that this show could have gone a bit longer, and on a personal note, Boogie Woogie Feng Shui was the only episode I did not like too much. If you like it, that's fine.
If you stick to the series long enough, I guarantee you'll like the ending. There are a lot of people that see the ending as one of the most fitting endings to an anime and it really ends with a bang. I'm dead serious, if you haven't seen this series then do yourself a favor and watch the damn show, it will not disappoint you unless you are extremely picky.
Cowboy Bebop is available by Bandai Entertainment, and even though Bandai Entertainment no longer licenses anime, they mentioned that they will keep their current catalog, so apparently there's nothing to worry about this anime being out of print in the US (I hope). The manga adaptation Cowboy Bebop: Shooting Star written by Hajime Yatate and illustrated by Cain Kuga and another manga adaptation of Cowboy Bebop also written by Hajime Yatate and illustrated by Yutaka Nanten were available by Tokyopop and It is possible that those two manga adaptations are out of print. Cowboy Bebop the Movie is available by Sony Pictures and I will review it next.
With that said, Cowboy Bebop is a smash hit jam-session that has become a genre unto itself; it has thrills, action, humor, and most of all fun. It is a hard one not to like. However, Not only anime fans like this show, some people that don't watch anime much or even anime-haters admit this show is exceptional and they even liked the show. This show has an American influence and it appeals to viewers that like anime, sci-fi, action flicks, and westerns. At the time I am posting this, this anime is still airing on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block since 2001. The constant re-runs and the fan base have turned this anime to a cult classic (metaphorically speaking, it has a devoted fan base... nothing to do with religious cults or something like that; it's a play on words). It may not be everyone's cup of tea but it is definitely worth trying. It's an anime I sometimes quote as well as some others. Some will say that this is the greatest anime ever made, but that may be stretching it too much, but I will agree in calling it a revolutionary anime and a fun anime at that. it is truly a gem.
I give Cowboy Bebop a 10 out of 10 (It is a MASTERPIECE!)
Feel free to leave me a comment and stay gold, Bang!
Dec 9, 2011
At first to me it seemed like Cowboy Bebop will be an episodic anime, which ones are usually plain bad and become boring after a few episodes. But Cowboy Bebop is a proof that anime mustn't evolve a single plot straight only to conclusion. Truth be said most of the Cowboy Bebop episodes are fillers, but not to the bad meaning of the fillers that you usually see in Naruto or Bleach or any other anime.
In Cowboy Bebop these episodes are more like expansions off the characters and mini stories with their own thoughts and meaning. Almost all of the episodes have some points to make and are relevant to the characters. They allow you to get more attached to characters. Sometimes you get small flashbacks in some episodes and they improve your understanding of how human and realistic these characters are.
As for the plot relevant episodes I would really have wanted more of them, because they seemed to answer a lot of questions, but not enough to satisfy my curiosity. I really would want to know more about Spikes past. And the ending even though very cool and memorable for me seemed a bit dissapointing. Also if you think about it the main story is kinda cliche if not for the ending.
The visuals are more then you should ask for. Cowboy Bebop was made in 1998 and truth be it has put to shame other anime since 1998 to even now as for the visuals. The best I liked about it was how detailed it was, all the characters are easy to distinguish and backgrounds are very beautiful too. Backgrounds change a lot of times as the Bebop crew goes from different planets starting to mostly deserted planets to snowy cold planets.
As for the animation it is very smooth and fluid, the action is very well choreographed and only once I saw repeated movement and I think it was done on purpose to make Ed look silly, not because the animators were lazy.
Everything about sound is just WOW and awesome to the extreme. The opening is great and I didn't skip it once for all 26 episodes.
As for the background music there is a lot of it and even though it mostly consists of jazz, bebop and bluze it also had one episode with heavy metal and some other music too. The background music usually surprised me of how good it was all out through the series. That background music just made every major moment in this anime just so much more memorable and enjoyable.That's what you get from Yoko Kanno.
I personally only have seen the dub, but from what I heard it is one of the best, if not the best dubs out there . I think that Steve Blumes role as Spike Spiegel is his best.
It's not like you really get a lot of time spent on building up the characters, but somehow on the way you pick up pieces about Spike, Faye, Jet and Ed. As the series progresses you get some parts of there back-stories, but you don't get all of it. Well at least I thought that there could of been more back-stories for them. But I have to admit that it helped for extra realism that you don't know all about these characters from the start even to the end there are a lot mystery around them.
As for other characters they show up and disappear very soon except Vicous the villain ( his name sounds like a villain already) who I didn't like, because a real villain needs to have a fucking good reason to be a villain, but all I got from him is that he has bad past with Spike, which really doesn't explain a lot, because we don't know much about Spikes past except for few flashbacks.
I enjoyed this anime a lot. Never did I get bored watching it and most of the time I was stuck to screen sitting on the edge of my seat. But I have to say that once the episode was done I wasn't that reluctant to go watch the next episode, because there wasn't an overarching plot that would connect from one episode to the next.
The best part about Cowboy Bebop was the music and animation. The production value for this anime was very high even for nowadays standards. I have to say that I didn't like the story that much because I found it cliche a bit and the characters even though cool and pretty much realistic they didn't really relate to me. But also I must admit that this anime has something that you really can't categorize and that is style. And that style just makes all those bad things I said about it almost meaningless.
I would recommend this anime to every anime fan and even to people that haven't seen any anime, because it has a lot of good qualities that could interest non-anime people into watching it. As for those people who care more about the stories morals and what it has to tell you about everything I would not advise you to jump in watching this anime with high expectations, because Cowboy Bebop is more about style over matter. read more
May 27, 2008
Cowboy Bebop is one of the few shows which can actually be called Epic. Not an epic such as the Homeric poetry but epic as Webster’s Dictionary says “extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope.” It’s a word that shouldn’t be used lightly. Cowboy Bebop is the standard by which Anime should be molded after. It achieves near perfection in creation and at the end there is a feeling of fulfillment. No other anime has a more complete and satisfying ending.
The story element is where many great animes get their strength from but Cowboy Bebop is actually weakest here. The story is very individualized, rarely do the events of one episode effect other episodes. Yet despite this “episodic” design, actual plot is occasionally used and by the end it feels like the plot has always been a part of the show like a shadow that had just been noticed.
In other anime I can’t think of too many action scenes that can come even close to those in Cowboy Bebop. Motion is almost always drawn smoothly and action scenes are incredible to watch. As Spike says, “like water.” The artists did a superb job in being able to create a certain mood through lightening and the vibrant/dull of colors. The artwork altogether is incredible and visually everything feels natural.
The sound was particularly enjoyable. There was a good amount of jazz music which fits Bebop well due to the uncertainty which is the foundation of jazz music. I wasn’t too fond of the opening theme though(I’m probably the only one). But in eps 5 near the end and at the conclusion of eps 26, the music is beyond incredible. It honestly speaks about the show in ways words could never describe and help elevate Bebop to levels rarely achieved. But like I said, for some reason I hate the opening theme.
Because the story is sort of “weak” the characters are the driving force of the show. This is where Bebop is made. The characters are all vastly different and don’t really fit any particular clichés, which is quite refreshing. All you need to know is that you won’t find more original and more entertaining characters anywhere else.
If this anime doesn’t speak to you or inspire you, don’t worry because it is extremely fun to watch. Bebop won’t put you in stitches for the full 20 minutes nor will it try to force you to enjoy the show. Instead it does it’s own thing and you can’t help but smile while watching. The Bebop crew is just pure fun and I guarantee you will enjoy it.
Conclusion: Cowboy Bebop is not my #1 personal favorite show, but it is the most complete and perfect anime out there. It is in all sense of the word, A Masterpiece. Bebop may not be exactly what you want for an ideal story anime, but in no way does that take away from it. The light hearted and random episodes are fun all the way through. The characters are very likeable and create a great atmosphere. The visual style and sound combine with the other elements in a perfect blend to make a perfect show (or as close as you can get). This may not be your favorite show but you will not be disappointed and at the very least you will finish with a smile feeling as satisfied as if you finished eating a great meal.
Aug 31, 2007
After watching Cowboy Bebop, it was as if I went through an otaku ritual. I believe that every otaku out there should watch Cowboy Bebop – at least once in their lives – and realize how anime should be done.
The story-telling, the dialogue, the feel, the emotions. Everything was just mixed right. Every episode was unique and almost perfect. Every episode started and ended in a way you didn’t expect. My personal favorite, was Session 20, Pierrot le Fou. That episode sent chills down my spine. I won’t tell why, just so anyone who reads this review would feel obligated to watch Cowboy Bebop in its entirety. Session 23 was not bad either; I love the intellectual conversations about who God is throughout the episode.
The characters made this anime. I loved every single one of them (including the supporting characters) and their individual quirks. My favorite was Spike Spiegel, of course. I love it whenever he did jeet kune do, the martial arts system that was developed by Bruce Lee. It was just exciting to watch him fight. Jet Black was just as cool as Spike. I am fascinated at his bounty hunter skills, as well as his past. Any man with a past is automatically cool. I didn’t like Faye Valentine at first, mostly because of her voice, but after you get to know more about her (the anime will reveal her past), you’ll realize that she’s one strong woman. Finally, there’s Ed. She (It’s not a typo) is one wacky kid and surprisingly adorable.
The voice acting really contributed to the characters personalities. Spike, without Kouichi Yamadera’s voice, would never be as cool as he is with him. Jet’s past would almost seep through Unshou Ishizuka’s voice. I already said that Faye’s voice, more specifically Megumi Hayashibara’s voice irritated me in the beginning, but she really brought out Faye’s personality. Aoi Tada’s voice made Ed even cuter. I also have to note that the banter and random discourse between these four are absolutely entertaining.
Shinichiro Watanabe played a huge role in making Cowboy Bebop visually appealing. Watching the series was just so easy on the eyes – the scenes weren’t heavy or overloaded at all. The scenes went on smoothly, and each scene was lovely to look at. The colors were great, and the backgrounds were detailed enough. However, I did not like the 3D animation all too much cause I found it a bit too rough, but considering it was made in 1998, I guess it wasn’t that bad.
Yoko Kanno was another factor that made me love this anime so much. She is one musical genius, and I love her work on Cowboy Bebop. I think there were new tracks for every episode, and each one complimented the scenes beautifully. Each one was different too – Tank! And The Real Folk Blues were jazzy and bluesy, but there were pop, classic, whatever tracks throughout the series too. While Shinichiro Watanabe was telling a story through sight, Yoko Kanno was doing the same through sound.
Truth be told, I wasn’t enthusiastic in watching Cowboy Bebop in the beginning. That’s because I’m not really into sci-fi themes, but Cowboy Bebop was different. The thing I like about it the most is that it’s charisma transcends through time. In three words, it’s a classic.