The year is 2071. Mankind has ventured into space, colonizing the planets in our solar system. Like the expansion of the Old West, the process occurred faster than the law was able to cope with; thus began a new age of bounty hunters. Spike Spiegel and Jet Black, onboard the ship Bebop, try to deal with women, children, dogs and demons from their pasts, as well as survive long enough to make a few bucks.
summary by Mugs
Highs: Characters; soundtrack; story; use of the English language
Lows: There should have been more episodes dedicated to the main plot
I first picked this up on a whim along with the first volume of Trigun. I was amazed with this series from the get go. It just pulls you in immediately with its great story and excellent characters. The bounty hunter idea has been done before but never quite like this. This music is a nice mix of jazz and blues that is perfectly in tune with the attitude of the series.
On the visual side of the coin, Cowboy Bebop may be the most fluid anime that I have ever seen. The quality of the animation combined with the great character and ship designs puts this series head and shoulders above other shows out there. There is one matter that I feel compelled to point out: the dub for this series is very good. In a first I prefer the English language better than the Japanese one.
The only complaint that could be leveled against this series is that the main story arc and character development are dealt with in just over half the episodes. The rest of the episodes, while still enjoyable, feel like they could have been better used if they were in conjunction with the main arc.
On the whole, this is probably the most complete series that I have ever seen. As an added bonus Bandai has graciously put the entire twenty-six-episode series onto a rather compact six DVDs. This is a great deal for a terrific anime. Buy it now! See you next time, space cowboy…
Highs: Americana style; the Kanno Yoko touch; oh-so-sweet animation
Lows: Minor beef with characters and concept
Initially debuting as a 12-episode series, Cowboy Bebop was lengthened with another fourteen episodes created by Watanabe Shinichiro. With its wild success and popularity, it can be argued that this anime is the quintessential series of the 1990s.
It is impossible to shake the fact that Cowboy Bebop pays homage to many American influences. Although it lacks hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet™, the core of this series is inspired by a style that is very American. Many names are taken from U.S. history and movies, the beautifully-choreographed action sequences are often inspired by spaghetti westerns and Bruce Lee movies and there is always a subtle message hinting at the desire to be free and have control over our own destinies. Further enhancing the Americana style is a plethora of songs created by none other than Kanno Yoko; widely ranging from jazz to hard rock, it is rare to hear any of the songs more than once, and the music sets the proper mood for every scene. If that isn’t enough, the animation will simply blow you away. The art is similar to other series of the late ’90s, but the animation is unparalleled for that time. This becomes even more pronounced while watching the lengthy action scenes where there are never any reused cels.
Yet, even Achilles had his heel. The bounty-hunters-in-space concept allows the series to be well suited for self-contained episodes, but any consistent character background is hard to come by. Granted, part of Cowboy Bebop‘s charm is not revealing everything while leaving some of it to the imagination; however, with exception of Faye Valentine, I was left with not truly knowing the characters after the end. Many episodes are downright filler or border on being filler; although all are entertaining, they manage to open up many questions without providing answers to character background and storytelling style.
Cowboy Bebop oozes with style out of every crevice, and although the substance still leaves this Professor a little bit unsatisfied, this anime is undoubtedly a load of fun and excitement. If you are a fan of anime, do not pass up on watching this one.