Cowboy Bebop (TV Series 1998–2003) Poster


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Every good movie you've ever seen in one show.
wilko_300030 December 2002
Cowboy Bebop is a truly post-modern show. Not in the tired "Scream" sense of self-awareness, but in its willingness to mix genres and blur boundaries. At the most basic level it's a Space Western. But Bebop is not content to be merely that, so there are added dashes of film noir, gothic horror, creature-feature, black comedy, screwball comedy, spy action, crime, romance, tragedy, action, philosophy, science, spirituality, fatalism, optimism, buddy-buddy stories, slapstick humour, parody-- just about every type of tale under the sun appears in some shape or form during Bebop's run. It's a show where each episode really is different from the last. Were it not for the recurring characters, it would be hard to believe that the brightly-coloured blaxploitation parody "Mushroom Samba" could possibly come from the same series as the bleakly violent "Real Folk Blues".

The world that the series inhabits is distinctly post-modern, too; space ships fly through hyperspace gates, but once on the ground their pilots fight with twentieth-century handguns. Scenic bays would look for all the world like they were taken from modern-day Japan were they not dwarfed by Jupiter, the enormous gas giant looming in the sky like some enormous benevolent god.

And the music - tribal drums and chants give way to electronic pulses that give way to jazz sax and trumpets that give way to rock guitars that give way to blues harmonicas... composer Yoko Kanno faultlessly turns her hand to an eclectc selection of genres and instruments, ably backed up by her band, "Seatbelts".

All of which sounds terribly impressive, but why on Earth should you watch it? Because, buddy, it's one of the finest television shows ever made.

I have to admit I'm not a big anime fan. Most anime that makes it over here seems to be either about schoolgirls with supernatural powers who battle evil, or adolescent boys who - for some convoluted reason - wind up having to pilot big giant robots. And whilst I'm assured that shows such as Escaflowne (schoolgirls and magic) and Evangelion (boys and robots) are actually rather good, they completely fail to get my blood pumping.

Enter Bebop. Ultra cool Spike, grumpy strategist Jet, trigger-happy Faye, nutball Ed and intelligent dog Ein are as far away from the usual brats and bots anime as you can possibly get. Their motivation, too, is far from the usual anime fare. These guys aren't bounty hunters because they want to fight crime and keep the peace - all they want is a wad of cash, and bounty hunting seems like the best place to make big money fast. Although they will do the right thing when pressed, they rarely forget their true motivation - and if they do, their perpetual lack of food will soon remind them. Life isn't easy, and when you're a bounty hunter it's even harder.

Not that the crew of the spaceship Bebop are one-note characters. As the series progresses, our initial assumptions about the characters are overturned. At first Spike appears to be the cliched laid-back slacker (who just happens to be a mean jeet-kun-do fighter), but we then learn of his fall from the criminal underworld and of a loss that killed him emotionally. Jet's the obvious gruff authority figure, until we realise that he actually cares for the crew of the Bebop as if they were his kids (and seems to have dabbled in pot and psychadelic drugs when he was a teenager). Faye's the usual feisty stand-offish female lead but only because her amazingly tragic past makes her push away friends for fear that she'll become attached to them. Ed's just some nutty kid until we meet her crazy father and realise that it could well be her deprived childhood that sent her over the edge. And Ein? Well sometimes it's hard being a super intelligent Welsh Corgi on a ship where nobody appreciates you, you know?

But not every episode is deathly serious - the character development is mixed in perfectly with humour (both light and dark), fistfights, shoot-outs, car chases, aerial fights, space battles and some of the lushest animation you'll see in an animated TV series. And all of this spread over only 26 episodes.

Yes, many people espouse the old "leave 'em wanting more" line, but so few of them actually do it; Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the perfect example of a series that spends three or four years being top-notch TV then freefalls due to apparent apathy from both the cast and writers. Bebop avoids this by wrapping every dangling plot thread up in just one season of television. And after the final jaw-dropping episode it's quite clear that the series is most definitely over.

Never before or since have I seen a series of such astonishing variety, intelligence and style. Ten out of ten.
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Classy as can be, an anime classic.
Rirath_com10 February 2003
Cowboy Bebop is a series that should need no introduction to anime fans. However, for anyone unfamiliar with the show, it's basically about space bounty hunters set to an old time jazz music soundtrack with plenty of classy old time stories and dark morals along the way. If you like action, space, jazz, or comedy, you may like Cowboy Bebop. If you like old time bounty hunter, private eye, or detective movies, you'll probably like Cowboy Bebop. If you like dark stories with twists that really make you feel for the characters, you'll like Cowboy Bebop. This is one series you don't have to be an anime fan to appreciate, but you have to be willing to give it a fair chance.

A single episode of Cowboy Bebop packs more punch than several entire anime series I know of. If you're not a fan of the show by the end of episode one alone, you probably won't be. The characters are as real as any old time bounty hunter / detective movie, and every bit as interesting. The sci-fi space twist doesn't take away from the show in the slightest, it adds much. A good way of thinking about the show is Lupin the 3rd mixed with Outlaw Star, with more depth. With episode titles like Asteroid Blues, Honky Tonk Woman, Waltz for Venus, and Jupiter Jazz, the space, class, and jazz heavy style is quite apparent from the beginning. This isn't just some theme slapped on top of an anime, rather a critical part of the show.

The characters are well rounded and all very interesting. Unlike a lot of anime, there is no annoying character you wish they would have left out. Each character is given equal importance, though the show centers on the bounty hunter Spike.

Spike describes himself as an "old fashioned cowboy." He spends a lot of the series searching for someone he once knew, I'll avoid details so I don't spoil anything. He could be a master thief if he so choose, his dexterity and fighting skills are nearly unmatched. With a good 'whatever' attitude, he's great fun to watch.

Jet is more of an old time detective. He's the owner of the ship "Bebop", and best friend of Spike. He does his fair share in bounty hunting like Spike, mostly gathering information and providing backup to Spike.

Faye is pretty much the anime embodiment of the women from detective movies. A fiercely materialistic woman, she does whatever it takes to get what she wants. She's not against stealing from anyone or using anyone to get it, then leaving them cold. An incredible bounty hunter in her own right, she joins the team without invitation or welcome. Much hilarious bickering and bounty thefts come between Faye and Spike from the outset.

Ed is a hacker genius girl who joins the group after a promise from Faye to get information. They try to leave her dry after they get what they need. but Ed's hacking skills make that impossible. She's often comic relief, and may be insane. Who can tell? In any case, when hacking or computer skills are needed, Ed is there. When not needed, she's. still there, being a hilarious pain in the neck. She's often with Ein, a seemingly ordinary mutt that gets picked up along the way with a few not so hidden talents.

In any case, Cowboy Bebop is a series anyone should watch. It has some language, a lot of violence, and some dark stories, but nothing that any kid these days hasn't seen a hundred times over. Even if you're not a bounty hunter or jazz fan, give this series a shot. Don't be surprised if you start to take a liking to jazz music or Yoko Kanno's amazing music. Congrats to Cartoon Network for bringing over the incredible dub, but check out the sub if possible. Enjoy. I refuse to end this rant with that catchy ending of each episode. Sorry. ^_^

  • Rirath_com
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so good its just not real
mattwakeman3 June 2002
a series that is so good it is just a shame that so few people will ever get to see it. its not the thing to get around loads of people and there are so many others that would refuse to watch it because: 'it's just a cartoon'.

well they are the unlucky ones. because this series is not only the best anime series that i have ever seen but it is the best series of any kind that i have ever seen. the characters, the dialogue, the awesome music, but most of all the writing. this is food for adults. for people that will be able, and willing, to empathise with what is in front of them.

and the end, my god the end. get a hold of this series. watch it. it really is that good.

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Superbly styled anime
hyperexcel22 July 2003
Cowboy Bebop should need no introduction; it's more than a uniquely defining series on several levels. Shinichi Watanabe crafted this mostly episodic anime with a beautiful plot arc that doesn't detract a bit from any moment in the series.

Following the misadventures of a crew of unlikely bounty hunters through the future solar system, Bebop liberally dabbles in jazz, both the music and the attitude. The lead character, Spike Spiegel, is as much an antihero in the anime tradition as he would be in a Hemingway novel- witty and gutsy, with a twist of nihlistic worldview. Along with Spike, each part of the ensemble main cast do more than enough to stand out on their own, with perfectly human qualities. Jet Black, the gruff pilot, is truly epitomized in the episode "Ganymede Elegy," where he confronts an old flame. Ed and Ein, the genius teenage hacker and her supersmart Corgi dog, throw the limits of standard comic relief out the window. And who could forget Faye Valentine, the eat-your-heart-out sprite of a woman with pizazz, flair, and a penchant for gambling.

If you're not a fan of anime because of its tendency to be far-fetched and downright weird at times, Bebop is the right starter series for you. A melodrama, a jazzy jam session, and a sci-fi detective thriller all wrapped into a tight, upbeat package. Superb.
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Superb... Fantastic... Finally... a REAL anime feature.
jaden-116 July 2004
Cowboy Bebop is by far the best anime series I've ever had the pleasure and privilege of experiencing. This is not a kid's show, by any means. Finally, a REAL anime feature that doesn't involve something dealing with putrid children's themes and overly flagrant characters. Cowboy Bebop is none of these. It has its share of comical scenes, but it seamlessly integrates them into a web of other predominant emotions; drama, action, thriller, suspense...

Cowboy Bebop is the epitome of cool and intelligent anime. An art I thought had long since been forgotten.

You will enjoy the witty dialog as well as the action scenes, dramatic sequences, and most of all the incredible musical integration; jazz and other cultural music that allows for an incredibly open palette of emotions as you view the action on the screen. (Expect the unexpected.)

The voices they chose to play the dubbed, English version of the Original series couldn't have been planned better. It strays from the stereotypical high-pitched whiney and otherwise annoying voices that usually plague a good anime port. Not this one. The roles are taken seriously and were performed VERY well.

This series is definitely speaking to an older audience, something rare in ported/dubbed anime series these days. I am grateful for having the opportunity to experience this wonderful masterpiece.

Cowboy Bebop is, by definition, art.
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The greatest anime to date
Fisherguy12 September 2003
"One ship, one crew, one destiny" indeed. If you had to sum anime up into two words, it would undoubtably be "Cowboy Bebop." It's a 26 episode series that redefines what animation is and what it can do. The character developement is beyond comparison and the voice acting is unforgettable. If you see only one anime in your life, make it this one. I can't sum it up and give it the credit it deserves, but what I can say, is that it is the most compelling story to be turned into an anime that will have you laughing, and the more sensitive may even cry, but you will get goosebumps. All I can say is, don't forget to watch this before you die, it is worth it and then some.
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You have no idea what you are missing
Cowboy Bebop will break any prejudgement you've ever had on anime. Simply put, the show is amazing. From the art, to the music, and most importantly, the story line - Cowboy Bebop delivers. Although most reviewers have summed up the storyline fairly well, I'll give a brief overview.

In the not so distant future, many planets have been colonized and huge technological advancements have been made, but enough with the obvious. Two men, Spike and Jet meet up with future comrades Faye and Ed and team up (or fly it solo) to form the most effective bounty hunting team in the universe. Technology benefits both bounty hunter (known as Cowboys) and criminal as the crew of the Bebop Ship try to make an honest Wulong (the futuristic form of currency) while each member encounters shades of their illuminous past.

A huge bondship amongst the characters is felt almost from the start, despite on-going tensions on the Bebop. Furthermore, each character is given at least two whole episodes, which elaborate on their past, which intertwines oddly with the present (an on-going theme in Cowboy Bebop).

Their pasts are as diverse as their personalities and at some points you'll have a hard time even figuring out who the main character is. One is a former worker of a crime syndicate, one a former police officer, one a thief, and the last a computer hacker. Some similarities do exist though, namely stylish outfits and attitudes, but even then, these similarities are VERY few.

The coolest thing about Cowboy Bebop is it's ability to give you something drastically different each session (don't call it an episode, it's a session). Some sessions wrap you up in action, some make you cry, still some sessions will make you roll on the ground in laughter. One thing for sure is you will get a very satisfying feeling once the credits hit.

The soundtrack for the entire series is another high point. Virtually each session is entangled in some form of sophisticated music, usually Jazz, which is a welcome breeze from the stagnation of today's modern music.

Compared to other anime, Bebop reigns supreme (along with a couple of others), and puts kids shows like Dragon Ball Z (which are virtually plotless in the light of Cowboy Bebop) to shame. This is definitely worth viewing if you're looking for something new to watch, but worried you might just fall victim to another piece of trash reality show or sitcom. Your previous conceptions of anime are about to be shattered.
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Probably the best anime ever.
Xander7713 June 2004
Cowboy Bebop is the best anime ever. I'm 21, don't tend to be fanboyish, and have seen plenty of others. And it's the best anime ever.

What other anime features a mix of the best choreographed/energetic/ kick-ass fighting scenes - hand-to-hand, hong-kong gun fights and air-space battle?

An unbelievable mix of comic, tragic, violent and fairy tale style episodes...

An incredible sound track - Yoko Kanno is a genius that can do memorable and emotional jazz, blues, classical, fantasy-style, j-pop and even heavy metal. I wouldn't even consider buying the soundtrack to any other anime.

It quite literally oozes "cool" - characters (Spike is probably the coolest - not awsomest, but stylishly coolest) music, action and narrative.

Hell, it's the only show that has both a "cute animal" character and a "cute annoying kid" character that I don't wish a horrible death upon. And if that doesn't convince you, then nothing will.
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A Story Worth Watching
suffer-smart-magnet7 January 2003
CB is a happy blend of story, action, and characters.

Set in the future, CB takes its name from the spaceship, around which the story loosely revolves. The main characters, Spike and Jet, try to make their living while not getting killed, traveling around looking for bounties.

Technically, the animation is very good, though a friend pointed out that sometimes the frame rate is low, or they use a still in a shot. These didn't bother me because they were used tastefully, and were balanced by action shots that carried a lot of energy.

The voice acting for the english version is great, and adds to character depth. They seem to understand who the characters are and how they would react.

The story line is interesting. With each episode being around 25 minutes, the time is filled with a balanced blend of action, character development, and plot. The story within an episode develops rapidly, while the whole series moves more slowly, with the exception of the last few episodes (where they were trying to wrap things up).

If you've never tried any anime, this would be my first choice. I watched it on DVD, and would definitely watch it again.
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I Didn't Love It. Uh Oh!
Donald F8 August 2014
Cowboy Bebop is one of the most acclaimed anime out there, especially since it was an early introduction for many fans. Its been running on Adult Swim for a freaking decade! By the time I was watching Saturday night anime, it was only on late. The two episodes I did watch didn't impress me.

Now that I'm older and wiser, I thought I could appreciate it more. Perhaps those two episodes were flukes. But alas, this series just isn't for me. There is some fun action, and the animation is among the best. I love the detailed, realistic sci-fi machinery, settings, and backgrounds. They pulled me halfway through the series before I quit.

But the character and plot of Cowboy Bebop are pretty shallow. The episodes are individual vignettes, so strong writing and characters are needed to hold them up. Instead, we have two-dimensional good guys hunting down one-dimensional bad guys. Our main cast barely develops, even with a few memories pulled up. They're fun, but they get boring after a dozen episodes. As for the side-characters, half of the them are stereotypical thugs, and most of the rest did not have enough time, depth, or personality to connect with me. Plot-wise, I almost always thought "It was alright" instead of "Wow, that was amazing!"

When I first started, I was pretty pumped up. Then I was mildly interested. Then I relegated it to background noise. I have never given an anime more of a chance. I can see why people love it, but I don't see how its well-written. Even at its best, I only thought it was okay. But apparently, that isn't enough, considering even respectful, 5/10 reviews are getting a barrage of downvotes. If sci-fi action + jazz is enough for you, then its fine. But I wouldn't even place it on the Top 100.
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GreyFox3721 February 2001
Warning: Spoilers
let me tell you all somethin. THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST ANIME SERIES EVER MADE!!! the action is intense, the story is fed in small quantities, and the characters are well balanced with mysterious pasts. this is one series you don't want to pass up on. the ending is tragic, though. that's all i'm sayin
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This action-packed and hyper-styled anime is a very human drama in a futuristic setting about crime-fighting adventurers.
G K3 May 2010
Cowboy Bebop is a notable anime from the 1990s. A so-called Space Western, it manages to be both entertaining and thought-provoking. The future world of the series is well-realized. Thankfully, there isn't an explanation in the first episode about how the world came to be the way it is. You learn more and more about it as the story progresses. Character development is key to the series. The four main characters aren't a bunch that you immediately like. In every episode something new is revealed about them, and this way you grow to like them. Their pasts are very important to the story. Faye Valentine got on my nerves at first because she was so selfish, but later it's revealed how she became this way. This realistic approach to characterization is commendable. But there is a fun side to Cowboy Bebop as well. Since Spike, Jet, Faye and Ed are bounty hunters there are plenty of fights, chases, mysteries and humour.

So, the series' setting and characters get two big thumbs up from me. Another reason why Cowboy Bebop is so respected is its soundtrack, which is excellent. Yoko Kanno fused rock, blues, country, jazz, pop and other genres into instrumentals and songs that are catchy and original. The music definitely makes the scenes better, in this case. But there are a few downsides to the series. Cowboy Bebop is similar to other 26-episodes anime in its structure. The first few episodes get it off to a good start because they're fun and well-animated, but the next several episodes are mostly a letdown in storytelling and animation. The series picks up again when Ed joins the Bebop crew. Most of the best episodes are in the second half of the show. The animation becomes gorgeous. Shinichiro Watanabe's direction gets better too. Cowboy Bebop includes many references to things that Watanabe grew up on. Most notably Western rock, Asian films like A Better Tomorrow (1986), and older anime. Cowboy Bebop gets a high recommendation from me. It's really one of the best anime ever; one that even adults can enjoy.

The American Anime magazine Anime Insider (No. 50, November 2007) ranked the 50 best anime (available in America) by compiling lists of industry regulars and magazine staff, with Cowboy Bebop ranked as #1.
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not good anime, rather anime that's actually good
themadstork25 August 2003
I have to say I hate anime. Ghost in the Shell and Akira confuse me, Lupin annoys me to no end, and well the rest do one or the other.

Bebop's different though. This show's a perfect blend of old westerns, film noir, and Asian action movies. You wouldnt' think it would work, but it does. Beyond having as much style as the best movies in any of those genres this show does an excellent job developing it's characters. I actually feel something for all these people and that's more than I can say for most characters on "serious" dramas (I mean who really cares about Bartlett or Sippowicz?). The music is wonderful and actually fits the action (most of it as far as I can tell having been written for the show). The best thing about the show is it's sense of humor; even the more serious episodes have their funny moments and the jokes are actually funny rather than annoying. Be warned the overall tone is quite sad despite the humor. Black Dog Serenade and Real Folk Blues bummed me out for days, but in that same way that Chinatown, The Third Man, and The Wild Bunch did. The show does have it's flaws. The plots often seem a little hurried, Ed annoys some people (though I like her), there're a few episodes that simply don't work, and the way Faye's drawn is pure soft porn. Still if you like noir or westerns watch this show. Trigun, which is usually on before or after, is also pretty good, though there are more annoying anime staples.
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An exceptionally well-done anime.
marblespire3 October 2002
I'm not a big fan of anime. When I hear that word I think of Cartoon Network, of the overly wordy internal monologues from 'Speed Racer,' of the pseudo-interesting transformation scenes from 'Sailor Moon,' of one person rushing at another from what appears to be several hundred yards away in 'Dragonball Z,' of convoluted plots and robots that pull mile-long guns out of thin air in 'Gundam 0083.' It's all overly ridiculous, and in their attempts to look 'cool' a lot of animes instead end up looking stupid.

So boy was I surprised when I first saw 'Cowboy Bebop.'

I'm still in the process of watching all 26 episodes, so I don't know everything about the series, but from what I've seen, it's head-and-shoulders better than any anime out there.

It's a fairly simple premise: around 2020 there was a weird explosion which took out part of Luna and put moon rocks in orbit around Earth in a miniature asteroid belt. Earth was rendered more or less uninhabitable, but the same weird explosion also held the keys to Hyperspace Gates, a safe and reliable form of transportation which the planetless Earthlings used to colonize their solar system. With this expansion came an explosion in the Mafia, the black market, the criminal underworld; to control it, InterStellar Space Police was created. But even the ISSP wasn't enough, and so the Police began to put out bounties on criminals. A subculture of bounty hunters evolved; best estimates suggest that there are over 300,000 in the Sol system alone. They have revived and adopted an ancient title: "Cowboy."

'Cowboy Bebop' focuses on the travels of bounty hunter Spike Spiegel, a tall, lanky martial artist who oozes more style than Baz Luhrmann. He and his partner Jet Black travel the solar system in their ship, the Bebop (hence the title of the show), tracking down bounties and entertaining their audiences again and again. But it's not entirely accurate to say that the show FOCUSES on Spike and Jet, because there are two main characters who join the show in later episodes--Faye Valentine, a sexy, outrageous woman with a shadowed past and no tact (and a wardrobe that the animators seem to enjoy making look like it might fall off at any given moment) and a bizarre 13-year-old girl named Ed (don't ask) who can basically hack into any computer system and provides surreal comic relief on the side. But it's not entirely accurate to say the show focuses on THEM, either, because the star is undeniably Spike. The show starts and ends with his past. What about that past? Ah, but that would be telling.

In a medium where characters routinely jump fifty feet into the air and then produce huge beams of energy from somewhere, CB's realism is welcome and refreshing. The animation is fluid and subtle--watching Spike fist-fight the week's bounty in the premier episode is a sight to behold. It's obvious that the animators have put a lot more thought into realistic movement than they normally do. These cel-bound wonders are mixed with a sprinkling of CGI that would do Babylon 5 proud. All together, it creates a visually appealing mix, made even more endearing by the fact that the laws of physics evidently still apply. Despite his extensive martial arts training, Spike produces no energy beams, makes no Matrix-esque leaps, and more or less keeps his feet planted on the earth, the same as the series does.

Characters are handled exquisitely. With only four characters and 26 episodes to deal with, it's a little easier to keep everything vigorous and interesting, but it's still refreshing to see CB using ALL of its characters in EVERY episode--and generally managing to develop them all too. I know of NO television series where every episode manages to add something new to every character. Frankly, I don't think there is one. That alone says something about CB's quality.

Finally, we have the music. It's no coincidence that the show is named after a style of music, and composer Yoko Kanno has created over three hours worth of lush, diverse, interesting music for the series. In a medium where music is created, thrown away on a weekly basis, and generally only exists to warn the viewer that something significant is going to happen, Cowboy Bebop uses its soundtrack to maximum effect. I've only seen eleven episodes, but I can already point to three or four moments when the music absolutely MAKES the scene, and I've probably missed more.

One thing I should say--Cowboy Bebop, like most animes, isn't really meant as commentary or satire. It is not intended to be socially relevant, to present controversial themes, to make viewers sit up and re-evaluate their lives. It is simply intended to entertain--and that it does. The stories it tells are not unique, but the way they are told is. Strong animation is combined with incredible storytelling and extraordinary music to create an anime unlike any other. One anime reviewer suggested that Cowboy Bebop will be the first of a new genre. This may not be accurate, but it tells you exactly how different and interesting this particular show is.
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An excellent series courtesy of Shinichiro Watanabe
webberrules28 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Cowboy Bebop is great series and is considered to be one of the greatest Japanese animated and foreign-language series ever made.

The Bad: 1. This is probably going to be my most controversial statement, and I can feel the relentless death threats from the fans of the English-dubbed version of the series, but the fact is, the roles of the characters from the series are skewed in the English-language actors' favour, especially that of Steve Blum as Spike Spiegel, due to the American national bias. Nothing against the actors themselves of the English-dubbed version, though. But, just because the dub is frequently praised for being well made, doesn't mean it eliminates the American national bias, and that is why I watched the series in the original Japanese with English subtitles.

The Good: 1. The voice acting consisting of Koichi Yamadera as Spike Spiegel, Unsho Ishizuka as Jet Black, Megumi Hayashibara as Faye Valentine, Aoi Tada as Ed, Gara Takashima as Julia and Norio Wakamoto as Vicious, with the one-time characters, with Andy voiced by Masashi Ebara, Gren by Kenyu Horiuchi, Lin by Hikaru Midorikawa, Shin by Nobuyuki Hiyama, among many other one-time characters, is exceptional, and the role of the Japanese language complements it by giving necessary balance to the acting itself. 2. The series serves as an excellent example of how much Japanese culture has evolved to become more multicultural, due to it being a series set in a predominantly non- Japanese setting with predominantly non-Japanese characters, likewise with Howl's Moving Castle. 3. The series also challenges the common stereotypes of modern Japanese culture, unlike Pokemon, which perpetuates those stereotypes. 5. The music by Yoko Kanno and The Seatbelts is fantastic, and sometimes I listen to jazz music when the seatbelt sign is illuminated when I am inflight, because The Seatbelts is a jazz music group. Get it? 6. The characters are very well-written and interesting, with Spike Spiegel being my favourite. 7. The series has a very good balance of being epic and episodic, with the series giving characters other than Spike Spiegel to shine in the spotlight, whilst at the same time not distracting from the overarching story. 8. The writing of the series is very versatile with having different writers for each episode, like Keiko Nobumoto, Michiko Yokote, Ryuta Yamaguchi, Sadayuki Murai, Akihiko Inari, Dai Sato, and the director of the series, Shinichiro Watanabe. 9. The artstyle is unique as it challenges the conventional artstyle commonly used in Japanese animated series like Pokemon, for example. The character design courtesy of Toshihiro Kawamoto is excellent too.

Cowboy Bebop is an excellent series that challenges the stereotypes of modern Japanese culture, directed by the great Shinichiro Watanabe.
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Won't bore you with more praise.
holeary21 June 2003
At least not for the art. It is some of the best, and only Watanabe's team do it better.

Or the story. It is all the classics told for a new world.

Or the action. Is is what the matrix movies are trying to be for action.

Or the music. It IS audio perfection, with Ask DNA being required listening to all young people. Not hearing, LISTENING!

What I will say is this: Cowboy Bebop is a mental timebomb. You can sit through the whole thing and have one or two insights, but then you watch the end. And then you are hit by everything in the series at once. It ends with a simple statement, one easily turned into a question. And everyone answers it differently.

I know it wasn't supposed to have that effect, but in our time, Cowboy Bebop is a perfect metafor. Becuase it covers all of the classic stories and themes, they start running about in your head. The finale just let's that mental fuzzball go running loose. Without trying, Watanabe-san has created something with a semi-spiritual and mental effect on an order that I have rarely seen on the small screen. Or the silver screen, and never as subtly. Not a world-changing realization, and certainly not a religion. Just a swift kick in the ass that travels up your spine to your mind, knocking something either into place or loose. Either way, you will have a realisation.

I want everyone who knows the end to ask themselves the question: What load will you carry becuase of Bebop?

For those who don't know the end, watch all of it. And when the tears stop flowing, ask yourself the question. The answer may suprise you.
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Taking TV Shows (not just Anime) into the realm of entertaining art.
VegitaBOD19 March 2002
Cowboy Bebop is one of my favorite shows. I'm not so naive to allow such a bias to sugarcoat my description of the series, though. What I enjoy, what my tastes in music/film/television - those decisions might differ from yours. Thus, I'll make no attempts at changing your opinion. I wish to review the series by itself, as well as hopefully express my deep fondness for the show. Having gotten the formalities out of the way...

Cowboy Bebop, what is it? People have asked me what genre Bebop fits into; sadly, I am usually at a loss for words at that juncture. They ask "Is it action?" It is, partially. "Is it comedy?" It is, partially. "Is it drama?" It is, partially. "Is it a fight against good and evil?" It is, begin to sense a pattern to this train of thought. However, for you to understand this train of thought is far more important than simply looking at my responses. Thus, let's at the series for what it is.

Cowboy Bebop is a show that takes place in the not-so-distant future, despite its VERY futuristic feel. Earth has been devastated due to an accident from one of the "Gates," giant portals that allow Hyperspace Travel between planets possible. Due to this, and the fact that Gates' allow people to colonize distant planets, the Earth is no longer the center of Humanity's interest. Instead, people have spread themselves all over the Milky Way, utilizing planets and moons for their homes. Because of the sudden necessity, mankind has developed newer technologies that make living life in these new lands much more tolerable.

However... technology breeds new criminals. Sadly, there is such an overwhelming need for policing in our Solar System that the Interplanetary Federation has set up a bounty system for capturing such villains. The bounty hunters of this future - for lack of a better term - are referred to as "Cowboys". As it stands in this makeshift Universe, there are over 300,000 Cowboys hopping around in ships, tracking down villains for bounties. They even have their own TV show that advertises the hottest bounties on the market.

Our 2 main characters are such bounty hunters - Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, and Faye Valentine. Through fights for bounties and various interactions/mix-ups between their daily routines, these 3 have come to live together on the Bebop, Jet's oversized boat/ship, which they use for traveling between planets, moons, and prospects. Our 3 characters are the focus of the story; all that previous talk of the Solar System is merely the background.

The plots for Cowboy Bebop are primarily self-contained stories, driven by our characters and the situations they find themselves in. Be it a new bounty, a former love, or simply a need to sort themselves out, our heroes endure humorous and dramatic situations alike. Since each plot usually features one-shot characters and ideas, the only real consistency from episode to episode are our characters. However, not all storylines are about hunting bounties, nor are they about cheap jokes, action scenes, rediscovering ones' past, etc. Thus, we are simply left with characters that develop over the progression of a series which appears to have no aim.

Yet the series does have aim. If you look at Cowboy Bebop objectively, you might not find a point to the apparently-aimless wanderings of plot and characters. However, take a closer look - you'll find Spike, Faye, and Jet to appear as real, deep people. They have hobbies, likes, dislikes, etc., that come out with each episode. The show is about the characters themselves, not plot or music or such. I find it immensely entertaining to sit and watch the misadventures of a group of people I enjoy knowing - yes, by the end of the series I think you truly KNOW these people.

Because of Cowboy Bebop's somewhat scatter-brained stylization, not everyone enjoys the series for what it is. It has funny episodes, serious episodes, episodes that seem to have no real purpose. The purpose is simple - to give you a wonderful collection of moments, featuring a cast of characters that are genuinely fun to watch. You downright experience the show with them, not just sit back and watch. The show will switch from action to a flash-back in the blink of an eye, filling out a character or situation.

Everything about the show smacks of a future distant, yet there are just as many moments where you will find our characters in a bar or on the street, milling about in what could be Anytown, USA. The blend of the normal with the makings of a possible future are so natural, it leaves you with few questions regarding what you had just seen.

Yoko Kanno's musical score for the series is absolutely wonderful (in my opinion). Treading from her usual roots of classical, Ms. Kanno takes a step in the new direction of almost entirely Jazz music for our background material. Her wonderful arrangements are, in my opinion, never short of brilliant in terms of writing, and the production of said music is equally as commendable. Using the compilation band "The Seatbelts" as her orchestra for which to conduct her myriad of musical talents, Kanno produced 4 CDs of music for the series...and there is still a good deal of music that has yet to be put to disk. The sheer volume alone should earn respect, not even taking into account the quality of the music therein.

Still on the sound of audio, the foley work - that is, sound effects and the like - are commendable, their uses about as accurate as one could hope for such a strange series. The vocal acting is extremely good as well, quite possibly the best I've heard yet for an Anime - original AND dubbed vocal tracks, too, which is quite a feat...I'm quite the critic of such subjects, and I was not let down on any of these points.

The direction for the series is one of the more impressive jobs I've seen, animated or otherwise. Shinchiro Watanabe, the mastermind at the helm of this crazy ship called Bebop, shows his mettle through a variety of styles and mediums to express each situation. He takes the series and sets it up in such a way, showcasing a variety of "camera tricks," that almost give the appearance that he was actually there, recording the situations with a camera. Shifting the focus of a scene from a simple view of the room to, say, though the contents of a half-filled glass of alcohol, does wonders for how everything is viewed and interpreted. I call this raising your average show and raising darn-close to being art.

The combination of such wonderful elements - the stylized viewing of a futuristic life, with great music backing the superbly-voiced characters - creates an impressive series has trouble explaining in few words. I love Cowboy Bebop, there's no doubt about that, and I think it is definitely worth a view or two. Remember, though, you probably won't like all of the series; in fact, there may be episodes that flat-out bore you. However, it's those moments that count, not the series as a whole. ...but don't take my word for it. Get out there and see it for yourself!
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I wish I had seen this earlier
Joey Deats26 March 2013
I am a huge fan of Futurama. This anime is another show set in the future that I like. But it's completely different. Futurama has a comedic setting in it's show, while Cowboy Bebop is actually an anime that makes me laugh despite it's genre of action/drama. Spike Spiegel an awesome protagonist who is your typical laid back tough guy, Faye Valentine the sexy deuteragonist who has an unusual outfit as well as an odd personality which is confusing, Jet Black (remember Victor Vance from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories? Well that's basically what Jet Black is) also he has a robotic arm because he lost his real one, Edward Tivrusky IV (who I didn't know if she was a boy or a girl at first, but figured it out LOL) A little hyperactive teenager who is normally all over the place with her run on speaking and bouncy attitude. She's always literally all over the place. Ein is the dog who apparently is supposed to do things itself according to Valentine. Overall, this show is one of the best animes to watch. My only problem with it is how it airs at 3:00 AM and I'm normally asleep by then (thankfully DVR's exist). The only episode I didn't remotely like was Episode 13: Jupiter Jazz (Part 2). This anime is definitely recommended for anyone who likes the futuristic adventures of a group of Bounty Hunters.
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Quite possibly the best anime series of all time, and one of my favourites as well
TheLittleSongbird5 November 2012
Animation and anime I have loved for as long as I can remember, and Cowboy Bebop is one of the greatest examples of anime at its best. Everything about this show is exemplary. The animation is just wonderful, right from the detailed character designs, beautiful and haunting colours and the ethereal backgrounds to the coupling of the dazzling action and some of the most jaw-dropping futuristic spectacle in animation or otherwise known to man. The music stays in your mind for a long time and not in an irritating sense, always fits with the drama and shows complexity in mood and orchestration even with its very jazzy feel. Cowboy Bebop also displays some really fine writing, it is poignant and intense yet also humorous and thoughtful, and balanced without any qualms at all. The storytelling shows evidence of great ideas thoroughly and entertainingly explored with little too dark or too light-hearted, there is an ideal combination of both. The characters are interesting and not revolved around clichés, these characters especially Spike are well-developed and any person watching the show would relate to them. The voice work is very dynamic. In conclusion, an outstanding show in every aspect, don't miss it. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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Great anime! Right up there with Ghost in the Shell and Berserk
siderite29 January 2006
I've watched all 26 episodes in two days. In the end I was about to cry for the lack of more episodes. This series has it all: good animation, good plot, attention to details, complex characters, good music. I actually saw the movie before the series and I liked that one too. I really hope the team continues with either another season of the series or at least a second movie.

About the music, it's almost all of it jazz. And good jazz, as I normally hate the stuff, but here I found it great. The world is very well defined, waiting for more plot development. I really hate that in the end a lot of strings were left untied. Or maybe, just too tightly tied. I liked the character of Ed and it's a shame we don't know what would happen to her.

Conclusion: great series, like a Ghost in the Shell with more focus on people and their stories. The technology is seamlessly integrated with the human nature that we all know, making it rather realistic. It's worth the watch.
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If you ask me why I love animation, I'll give you one word: Bebop
Warning: Spoilers
I am an animation fanatic. I love the work from Disney's two golden era's (particularly Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty), I have seen almost every Miyazaki film (with the exception of Kiki's Delivery Service and Howl's Moving Castle), and have had the privilege to view three of Winsor McCay's early animated shorts. Whether eastern or western, for young or for old, I love animation. And Cowboy Bebop is a stunning testament of why I love this art form so. It shows that animation can feature lush locales, from the asteroid metropolis of TJ to the Hong Kong inspired Alfa city on Mars. It shows that it can have strong characters, with chilling villains like Vicious and Mad "Tongpu" Pierot, charming (anti?)heroes like Spike, Jet, and Faye and just plain cute supporting players like Ein and Ed. It unflinchingly shows that it can have sequences of both stunning and shocking action. The heated gun battles of the final episode left me in awe of their brutality and the fisticuffs are astounding. Some say that the martial arts in Bebop make the Matrix look like ballet, but they are both resemble ballet, only the Matrix resembles a studio of 8th graders, and Bebop resembles a troupe of Russian masters who have trained all their lives. Bebop also shows us, rather, makes us hear, the kind of music a high quality piece of animation can have. Yoko Kanno is a genius, and no more needs to be said. Finally Bebop shows us what kind of complex stories animation can carry. It tells us of an eccentric child genius, a beautiful gambler who has lived for decades but has no memory of her past, a gruff, parental ex-cop, and two ravenous beasts, one of whom has lost his fangs and blood lust but still survives. Simply put, it is one of the most incredible pieces of animation I have ever seen.
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A big Anime!
Jack Denton28 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
By big I also mean great and majestic. My favorite episode remains the one with the fridge and the one-year old lobster. The second best place goes to the mushroom episode.

But overall the story is great, and I seriously wish we had this bounty system right now. One it pays off usually, second it helps the police and reduces crime.

The Anime I believe inspired Microsoft's Freelancer game, which looked so new, but then I got hold of Bebop and all changed.

The jokes in this thing are really great, and the somehow passive attitude of Spike is also attractive.

The end is really open, personally knowing Spike, he will get up and get on with life, but many people say that he dies after the fight with Vicious. But I also heard that a second season was being made, so it needs a character like Spike.

Enjoy this Anime, it stands on top alongside Berserk and others.
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