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» Cover

» Company
Bandai Entertainment
» Running Time
26 episodes
» Genre
Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
» Type
TV Series
» Final Score
» User Rating
Current average:

Cowboy Bebop

» written by Dark Wind [Discuss]

Spike and Jet are two down-on-their luck bounty hunters (called cowboys) always looking for the next big score. Spike is brash, young, and tough. He practices Bruce Lee’s martial arts style, Jeet Kune Do, and treasures his little space fighter, the Swordfish II. Jet is the wiser, older of the two, knowing when to make a move and when to hold the cards. They move from plant to planet in their spaceship, the Bebop, and go from one bounty to the next, never staying in one place too long. Rarely ever making money or getting food, Cowboy Bebop is a set of tales  in the life of these two as they go about space, encountering the pasts they left behind along the way. Of course, during the course of their adventures, they obtain three new crewmates: a sultry woman that goes by the name Faye Valentine, a dog with a high IQ that goes by Ein, and a computer hacking wizard named Ed. Along with Spike and Jet, they travel the stars.

I was browsing our reviews section for any big omission from our reviews archive, and as of this writing, no one had completely reviewed Cowboy Bebop. The first three volumes had been reviewed by three different people, but that was not a good enough indication of just how great this show is. Taking it upon myself to rectify such a huge problem, I am now here to review my favorite anime series, right next to Neon Genesis Evangelion and Trigun.

I won’t be one of those guys who likes to say that the first anime they got into is also their favorite one. ‘I got into anime through Bebop…and it still rocks!’ I’d seen plenty of anime before Bebop came around, and I wasn’t there to see it when it first came out in America either. I just happened to be flipping through the channels when I came upon Adult Swim and noticed they were airing the five ’story’ episodes of Cowboy Bebop. I tuned in right from the beginning to see what it was about, and didn’t stop till I saw the whole thing. What I saw was unlike any anime (or anything, for that matter) that I’d seen before. I hold very fond memories of that night and seeing this show.

The first thing to jump out to most people about Bebop is the absolutely-frickin’-tastic music. Yoko Kanno (also responsible for such great music in Escaflowne, Macross Plus, and Ghost in the Shell) created a mix of blues and jazz that resonates with the material like nothing else could have. The show fits the music more than the other way around for me. Another thing that pops right out about the show is its still wonderful animation, despite coming from 1998. Most shows from that time did not look this good, and a bunch still don’t. It’s a testament to Bebop’s wonderful production values.

Bebop is made up of a bunch of vignettes strung together by the main five characters. These guys go from one episode to the next, with rarely any connection from one to the other. Each episode delves into different themes and ideas, from the nature of man and God to blaxploitation. I love the episodic nature of this series, and despite that, you get a wonderful understanding of each character through their experiences, even though you don’t get much character background. There are episodes devoted to each character’s pasts, but they come few and far between. But I’ll bet you anything you’ll be hard pressed to not feel even a slight hint of sadness during the final episodes’s closing moments. Bebop is amazing.

The Breakdown
After all is said and done, is Cowboy Bebop really one of the best animes ever? Simply put: YES. I haven’t seen anything better, and only a couple of shows are equal in quality and enjoyability as to that of Bebop. I know there are Bebop-haters out there. To them, I say: you’re missing out. Bebop is overhyped, I agree. But take the hype away and you get one of the best animes of the last two decades.


» The Pros
The animation is still great. The music is eclectic, a beautiful mix of jazz and blues with some opera and metal thrown in when it's needed. It sounds amazing. The short stories are mostly interesting and fun to watch, especially for the characters that are in each little story. The production values and character exposition are airtight.

» The Cons
Hard to say. I won't lie to you, not every short story is worth watching (or re-watching). I hated Heavy Metal Queen and Bohemian Rhapsody (among others) but it's all personal preference. I would have also liked more story-oriented episodes rather than just almost all short stories, especially since each characters story is really interesting.

» Animation
The animation comes circa 1998, and it still manages to impress people today. Granted, it's not looking as great as it probably did when it first came out, but it's still damn impressive. If I saw it back in 1998, the score would probably be a 10. Everything is animated, with the perfect amount of CG and hand-drawn animation. Everything has a great, fluid feel and it doesn't look like they cut corners with any episode.

» Sound
One of best, if not the best, music I've ever heard in an anime. To the opening theme songs great jazz (Tank) to the lilting, melancholic Green Bird, every piece of music is wonderful to listen to. I bought the OST's and listen to them all the time. You'll hear yourself humming tunes and wanting to see certain scenes in the show again just because of the music that plays. It's that good.

» Story
I'll try to be subjective here. The story for each episode, tends to be really good, but there are a few stinkers that you have to put up with. And I really wish there were more story episodes and less filler. But the ending makes everything worth it. It's simply beautiful.

» Recommend
Anyone and everyone who I've shown this show to love it. Absolutely love it. Even non-anime fans. Even women. Even hot women. Yes, that's right.


» Other Information
Language: English/Japanese with English Subtitles

Varies from DVD to DVD

Again, each volume for the show has a different cover, but all of them are pretty good, though a little bland. With Bebop, Bandai could have done much better, as the artwork for the show is just stellar.



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