Anime Review

Anime Hajime Review: Cowboy Bebop

Original Run: April 3, 1998 - April 24, 1999 
Number of Episodes: 26 
Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Cowboy Bebop. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

In the distant future, mankind has colonized the solar system. However, lawlessness has taken hold, and the authorities don’t have the resources to rein it in. To even the playing field, a bounty system has been put into effect. Bounty hunters now travel from planet to planet in search of their fortune.

Seeking their piece of the action is the crew of the spaceship Bebop. A collection of five unlikely partners, they make for one of the most surprisingly effective teams out there. With each member dealing with their own mysterious past, this group tries to maintain a daily existence living bounty to bounty.

This ragtag lot consists of:

  • The former mob enforcer and still incredibly dangerous Spike Spiegel (voiced by Koichi Yamadera).
  • The retired police investigator and the Bebop’s expert pilot Jet Black (voiced by Unsho Ishizuka).
  • The beautiful, and occasionally ruthless, con artist Faye Valentine (voiced by Megumi Hayashibara).
  • The young computer wizard Ed (voiced by Aoi Tada).
  • The genetically altered Pembroke Welsh Corgi Ein.

While always on the search for their next bounty, this team must deal with a variety of problems, such as hunger, boredom, and, sometimes, each other.

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Series Positives

I didn’t see Cowboy Bebop as a single story. Yes, there were reoccurring elements, and, yes, a handful of pivotal characters got their introduction rather late in the series. But other than that, you could damn near watch this show in whatever order you like.

As a result, Cowboy Bebop wasn’t just an anime with one outstanding, remarkable, incredibly well-written story. It was an anime with twenty-six of them.

Every episode was masterfully executed, as well as distinctly unique. I always found myself wondering what was going to happen next. Cowboy Bebop was addicting because of its ever-consistent quality.

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And amongst all the futuristic environments, space travel, and the fact it’s a Japanese anime, Cowboy Bebop was a western at heart. Other anime with space travel and/or science-fiction elements, no matter how fantastical they may be, often feel the need to remind its audience they are following a story which isn’t taking place in the contemporary world.

This show didn’t do that.

There were many space battles and interstellar fights, but those weren’t the point of Cowboy Bebop. This show was about a group of bounty hunters looking for their next paycheck, and it all just so happened to take place in the future.

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This series’ world was never a gimmick. It was believable, natural, and it felt like a very plausible reality.

However, Cowboy Bebop’s true charm came from its characters.

There is a reason why the names Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Faye Valentine, Ed, and Ein are damn near-universal. Most shows would kill to have that level of recognition with a single character. Cowboy Bebop has five.

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Going into full detail explaining why each member of the Bebop’s crew was memorable would take far too much time. And why would I even bother when the show can do a far better job than I ever could.

Cowboy Bebop is one of those shows that is a perfect gauge for the entire anime medium. If you end up not liking this series, then there is a high probability anime is not for you.

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Series Negatives

Calling this section “Series Negatives” doesn’t sound quite right. Instead, I think it would be closer to say:

The section where I simply can’t help myself from pointing out some minor hiccups despite this being one of the best anime ever made, and I am a total moron for thinking there can be anything wrong with this one of a kind masterpiece.

That said, I thought the ending to Cowboy Bebop was its weakest quality.

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Without giving away any spoilers, this conclusion felt disconnected to the rest of the series. It took a turn which appeared to come out of nowhere. If there was supposed to be an emotional reaction attached to this show’s final moments, they weren’t there.

And I can hear it all ready. The ending is meant to be ambiguous. Therefore, just because I saw it to be one way doesn’t make it the correct way. However, if that is going to be the argument, then I would counter by saying ambiguity makes things worse for this show.

Cowboy Bebop wasn’t in the habit of leaving too much open to interpretation. To suddenly flip on that at the last second didn’t sit well with me.

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Final Thoughts

If I can be a little cliché, this has become one of my all-time favorite anime. The story was unbelievably good, the characters were utterly unforgettable, and there is really nothing else like it.

I can’t say this show is flawless and I stand by what I think is wrong with it.

However, this is a must-watch. If you are thinking about jumping into the anime medium, I can’t think of a better place to start. And if you are already well acquainted with anime and haven’t yet seen this show, what are you waiting for?

Cowboy Bebop, if you can believe it, has earned a recommendation.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Cowboy Bebop? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

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