Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop Cover Art featuring the Bebop crew
Cowboy Bebop Cover Art

Overview

It’s finally time to take a look at the highly influential 1998 anime Cowboy Bebop. While I prefer what I consider to be its sister anime, Samurai Champloo, I still like Bebop and the two series are similar in many ways.

Bebop is a mixture of futuristic space travel and the wild west, but it also includes pieces of many other genres. The Jazz soundtrack for the anime also adds to the mix of various genres all working together and is one of the highlights of the show.

The general plot of the anime is that Spike and Jet are bounty hunters who are essentially running from their pasts. Along the way, the crew of their ship, the Bebop, grows to include Faye, Edward, and Ein.

While for the most part the series is episodic, there is an overarching plot line which follows Spike as he confronts his past.

Characters

Spike Spiegel is the main protagonist and one of the original two members of the Bebop crew. He’s a former hitman for a criminal organization known as the Red Dragon Syndicate and so he now uses the skills he acquired from that line of work to capture criminals with bounties on their heads.

Jet Black is the other half of the original Bebop crew and is the pilot of the Bebop. He’s a former member of the Inter Solar System Police. His relationship with Spike is strictly business on the surface, with each of them saying they simply work together out of convenience, but in reality they’ve grown to be friends over the years.

Faye Valentine is the first new Bebop member to come along. She’s a con artist who was first chased by the Bebop, then “temporarily” joins them. She works as a spy, thief, and enforcer along with Spike for the Bebop. Her background of being a loner makes her a perfect match for the Bebop crew.

Next we have Edward, who is actually a girl despite her name and ambiguous appearance. She’s still a kid, but she’s a genius who can hack into just about any system. The Bebop crew originally finds her abandoned they decide to take her aboard the ship because of her skills.

Finally there’s Ein, short for Einstein. Ein is a dog, a Corgi in fact, who has been genetically altered so that he is of human intelligence. He can’t speak, and he often acts like a regular dog, but he occasionally has his moments where he’s helpful. He’s also worth a lot of money and was originally supposed to be retrieved by the Bebop, but they kept him instead.

Faye Valentine shooting out of the back of a convertible
Faye Valentine

Conclusion

While I do like Cowboy Bebop, I don’t think I can give it anything higher than a 7/10. The episodic nature of most of the series is something I’m not much of a fan of, but I can look past that for the most part like I did with Samurai Champloo. And similar to Champloo, I really liked the ending of Bebop.

However, I think for me the thing that makes something like Bebop a 7 compared to an 8 like Champloo is simply the genre. I’m a fan of sword fight choreography in anime, but if you’re into spaceships and gun fights then you’d probably have these shows rated the other way around.

So essentially what I’ trying to say is that even to someone who isn’t really into the whole space cowboy genre that much, the series is still a 7 which is good.

The OP featuring the song “Tank!” can be found here.

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