The past few years I've been heavy into anime. The main reason is because I finally bought a better computer. I used to try to watch anime on my old computer and shit would always freeze, it was just a piece of shit. Once I got a streaming box and a better computer, friends would give me suggestions of anime shows to check out and I would. Right now I'm on Naruto. Yes I know I'm 8 years late. I always knew what the show was I just never checked it out. I like to go back and check out old anime from the 80's and 90's. You have anime like Lupin The 3rd or Golgo 13 The Professional or The Godfather of anime AKIRA. I enjoy these because they're hand drawn. Hand drawn anime just looks very cool to me. While checking those titles out there was one anime I always looked over and never would finish and that anime is Cowboy Bebop.
Majority of us got our start on anime with Toonami and Adult Swim. I remember in high school seeing the commercials Cartoon Network would have of Cowboy Bebop and I always thought they were neat but I never sat and checked it all the way out. I watched 2 episodes and never returned to it for almost 15 years. I'm random guy and for some reason Cowboy Bebop just popped up in my mind one day so I started to re-watch it while traveling to Las Vegas and finished it that week and not only is it the greatest anime I've ever seen but one of the greatest shows period. If you are trying to get into anime and don't know where to start this is a show I recommend you start with. It's very easy to follow and only 26 episodes. This is a rare anime series because the english dub is actually the best version to watch. The acting is really executed well.
Luckily after I finished I seen the complete series was on blu-ray so I bought it and cancelled a date I had with this shorty and watched this greatness in HD. I've watched this series completely about 8-10 times since owning the complete series and it just gets better every time because I learn new things about it or I come up with a different theory of what happens at the end. I guess you can say this is a review but really it's just me singing the praises of the greatest anime created.
It's probably one of the only shows that covers damn near every genre. You can say it's a western, sci-fi, romance, drama, mystery, comedy, there's even an episode that pays homage to blaxploitation. It mixes all of these genres together without slipping up. I like that it's hand drawn and not too digital which in my opinion gives it this really classic 70's feel but of course it's not based in the 70's. It's based in the future. Every episode/session is a roller coaster. It can go from light to dark at any given moment. It's a show that you don't have to be an anime fan to appreciate it. It's a show with so much style and variety and it was released in 1999 and is better than almost every show today. Anime or Live Action.
Before I get into the characters and the plot. Cowboy Bebop has probably one of the greatest opening theme songs for a show ever. I imagine heaven is a bunch of quiet beautiful women, unlimited blue freeze pops and a continuous loop of the Cowboy Bebop theme song for all eternity. The music for the series was just so beautifully done and placed in the right spots very perfectly. The best example of this is Episode/Session 5 "Ballad Of Fallen Angels." The episode itself is just fucking flawless like steak burritos. The mixture of Blues, Jazz, a hint of Rock was just genius for the series. Yoko Kanno did a masterful job with the soundtrack.
The first thing you see when you start the series is a dramatic and violent sequence and you can tell it's a flashback. You just see a man in the middle of a violent shootout, hold onto a grenade and it goes straight to the opening theme. It's year 2071 and humans are able to colonize on other planets so people are living on them and flying through hyperspace with ease. 2 men on a spaceship known as the "Bebop" are barely making a living as bounty hunters only eating Beef and Peppers with no beef(that's how broke they were) and are joined by even more interesting people to help them bounty hunt throughout the series.
The characters are all really interesting. This is a series where I actually like all the characters. I don't want anyone to leave. What makes them all interesting is that they all have a dark past and none of them know about each others past. They all have also been betrayed in their past. Bits and pieces of each characters past are revealed over the length of the series and you sort of get an understanding of their personalities and why they act the way they act. You also have characters there for 1 episode only but they're easily developed and their stories are told really well so you aren't left hanging. The character development is really the heartbeat of this series and it's done flawlessly.
The main character. A smooth and lazy bounty hunter with a bruce lee type fighting style, beat up cigarettes, and Lupin The 3rd boots. He really has a carefree mentality where he doesn't really care if he lives or dies because of what happened to him in his past. He just exists. It's like he's not apart of this universe. He's a former criminal from a crime syndicate called "The Red Dragon" and it really makes you think how horrible of a person could Spike have been in his past. He was apart of a crime syndicate so he had to be a scumbag. A bigger piece of shit is his fellow member and enemy Vicious. The antagonist of the series. Spike and Vicious are Water and Oil. Vicious wants to be the top dog of the syndicate. Spike could careless. Vicious is ruthless and Spike is very neutral he just does his job. One day Spike gets into a huge shootout with some unknown people and he is rescued by a woman named Julia. I think Vicious was fucking Julia and Spike took her from Vicious (I could be wrong). I'm sure that's why Vicious hates Spike so much. Won't be the first time men fight over vagina. Vicious gives Julia a ultimatum. Kill Spike and he'll allow her to leave the syndicate. Spike wanted to quit the syndicate also so he fakes his death to avoid being hunted down (because you can't just quit a crime organization) and offers Julia to run away with him so they can be together and start over but she didn't go with him or kill him so she runs away by herself and becomes a target of the syndicate. Spike goes off to start a new life without her. It's important that I tell that part of his past because Julia is all that Spike lives for. The heartbreak he experienced really was his death. Spike was detached from reality because of it. He isn't sure if the life he's living is real. He believes it's all a dream. The way he perceives things you would think he smokes the finest kush. The REAL Spike is in the past. What we see in the series is a shell. He believes Julia is out there and he searches for her every chance he gets. When he started his new life he met a new friend to share his new adventure with. He's right below this.
The cop of the Bebop ship. The Leader. The Captain. The father figure. The Black Dog. He is the rational. The Reasoning. The Grumpy Old Man. Jet restores order when things get out of control. It's in his nature as a former cop. He too has a past dealing with heartbreak from a former girlfriend (Alisa) and betrayal just like Spike. He has a metal arm and I'm not going to tell you how he got it because it's explained in the episode "Black Dog Serenade." He and Spike are the closest on the ship.
The beautiful but troublesome and greedy Faye Valentine. A gambling addict. A hustler. A thief. She's always looking for her next come up. Always in some shit. She joins the Bebop after a run in with Spike and Jet over a casino chip in the third episode (Watch the show to find out why) then she sticks around after helping Spike and Jet in Episode 4 "Gateway Shuffle." She has a bounty on her for a large debt she owes but Spike and Jet allow her to stay with them. Faye has the type of personality where she can't get attached to anyone because of her fear of being abandoned so she will leave you before you leave her. She has a fear of attachment. She's actually the oldest person on the ship and you will find out why when her backstory is explained later in the series. It's really an interesting story. Faye is different from the other characters because instead of trying to get away from her past like the other characters. Faye is running towards her past. She wants to figure out what happened and why. She also has a weird relationship with Spike where I think she really loves him but is afraid to completely show it. She really cares for him more than anyone else and it shows every time she thinks Spike is getting ready to go on a suicide mission or when she helps him heal from injuries.
Full name Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV. She named herself after being abandoned by her father (Yes I said "she." She is a girl). Edward is a 13 year old genius computer hacker who grew up without parents. She receives a bounty for her hacking skills. She is the most eccentric character of the show and the most free spirited. Edward doesn't really take anything seriously. She can't sit still, she has the shortest attention span, she doesn't have real conversations, and she talks in 3rd person. You would think Edward is an alien. She's always bare footed. She walks normally sometimes but usually she's either rolling, walking on her hands, or on all four's like a animal. She brings comedy to the series. She is the smartest character on the show despite how weird and young she is. Edward's backstory is really a blur but you also see she dealt with abandonment, betrayal, and she too like Spike, and Jet is trying to leave her past behind.
Short for "Einstein" is The Bebop Ship's pet dog. He's a former lab dog that Spike and Jet brought on the ship because they thought they could get money in exchange for him but Ein just ends up staying. Ein is the closest to Edward and Edward is the only person on the ship who can understand and loves Ein.
Cowboy Bebop showed that anime isn't just all about fighting or charging up for 15 min per episode like Goku in Dragonball Z (No disrespect). It showed the world that this is ART. Anime can be an art form. It's really a show that goes in depth about perception and how we view things in our world's. It's so cool and intelligent and isn't afraid to mix cultures or be diverse. It's just an all around cool experience that you will enjoy.
See you space cowboy.