“OK, Three, Two, One, Let’s Jam”: Cowboy Bebop

Copyright © 1998, Sunrise, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

What can I say about Cowboy Bebop except… Oh My God How Freaking Cool!

It’s a sci-fi anime of unparalleled coolness, a Space Western where outlaws and bounty hunters clash in the skies over Mars to some wondrous jazz.

It follows the voyages of a decrepit starship called the Bebop, and its ragtag crew: Spike Spiegel, a cynical bounty hunter trying to stay one step ahead of his past; Jet Black, an ex-cop and captain of the Bebop; Faye Valentine, an alluring con artist who struggles to recall her own past; Edward, a whimsical child genius and computer hacker; and Ein, an ordinary-looking dog with more depth than anyone realizes.

The mixture of these characters is alone a source of frequent conflict and adventure, but their travels throughout the solar system and their pursuit of outlaws for much-needed cash are what define the series as a whole.

Beyond my initial geek reaction, there is a lot to be said for this show, which has been cited as an excellent intro for anyone who’s unfamiliar with anime.  Besides the stunning visual style of the show and its catchy jazz soundtrack, the story is very strong, given that the series is twenty-six episodes long.  Much of it is focused on Spike, his relationship with a mysterious woman named Julia, his ties with the Red Dragon Syndicate, and his never-ending battle with his former partner, Vicious.

This series is short and sweet.  Sometimes it drifts lazily through the stars, but never for long, because the next thing you know, you’re up with Spike or Faye in the middle of a very hip gunfight or space battle.

And when you hit the end, you’ll do as Spike does: stick your finger in the air, smile, and declare your triumph with an easygoing, “Bang…”

Bibliography: Cowboy Bebop (anime).  Directed by Shinichiro Watanabe.  Written by Keiko Nobumoto.  Prod. Sunrise, Madman Entertainment.  Cartoon Network (Adult Swim).  April 3, 1998 – April 23, 1999.

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