Cowboy Bebop

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kamenoko's avatar By kamenoko on Jul 17, 2007

Story

Many times have I visited Cowboy Bebop, and every time we've parted company I leave with a sense of how great a conversationalist Cowboy Bebop truly is. How it tells beautiful stories with nothing but ink, paint, computers, and sound. How it seems to transcend it's own media and become something unto itself. Nothing to be worshiped or canonized, but to be viewed with a measure of respect, and perhaps awe, that such a thing ever took place at all.

Cowboy Bebop, that's the story. There are cowboys and there is bebop, set against the backdrop of the future and space. The series concerns itself with the lives of Jet Black, Spike Spiegal, Faye Valentine, and Ed. The series itself tends to revolve around sorting out each characters past and reconciling it with their present selves. What sets Cowboy Bebop apart from similar series such as Outlaw Star is that these stories are actually interesting.


Animation

Animation directors strive for different goals. Some, like Hayou Miyazaki seek a balance between we humans and nature. The director of Ghost in the Shell, Mamoru Oshii forewarned us that advancement without restraint presented dillemas with no solutions. Shincihiro Wantanbe gave us, with Cowboy Bebop, twenty-six pictures of a world coming to terms with its past. The methods vary, with death, resignation, and an eyes wide shut attitude dominating. But never are these heady themes forced upon us with a heavy hand. They are at many times hidden behind sharp humor, attention to detail, and jaw dropping animation. Only two times are these themes truly brought to a head: at the twelfth and thirteenth episodes (parts one and two of Jupiter Jazz), and episodes twenty-five and twenty-six (parts one and two of The Real Folk Blues). And at these moments the music gets better, the animation sharper, and like true climactic moments, they stay with us long after we finish watching them.

For it's time, Cowboy Bebop was about as good as television animation got. The style was classically anime, big eyes no nose, small mouth. The fighting animation is very fluid and detailed. But what most impressed me about Cowboy Bebop's animation was the variety of locals, and the lived in natures of every environment that is visited. From the Bebop itself, with its endless rooms and corridors to variety of ethnic architecture, it is truly a treat to behold. The computer graphics are dated by today's standard, but for its time was cutting edge.


Sound

Never before or since has such a catalog of music been assembled for an anime, any anime. The principle creator of Cowboy Bebop's music, Yoko Kanno, took the high-road. She hopped from genre to genre in leaps and bounds while never taking from the animation itself, but infusing it with a pulse that at all times seemed perfect. Sometimes characters are defined through music, like Gren, whose sax playing pronounces him melancholy, disillusioned, and cavalier. Three original soundtracks were put together for this anime, each one is distinct and non-repetitious. Listening to them on their own gives you new appreciation on the quality of Yoko Kannos gift.


Characters

Characters from Cowboy Bebop each have stories to tell. Each deals with its past and present as best they can, although often times not very well at all. The plot is linear as far as the time line is concerned, but there isn't a penultimate goal sought after. In terms of the classic definitions of conflict, Cowboy Bebop tends towards the man versus himself, or man versus man types of conflict. The principles of Cowboy Bebop do not seek paradigm shifts, do not seek to change the world for the better or worse, but simply to live to see another day. This struggle to live on is what makes Cowboy Bebop so enjoyable, and what gives a humanity to the principle characters that they would otherwise lack.

9/10 story
8/10 animation
10/10 sound
8/10 characters
9/10 overall
pillayy's avatar By pillayy on Apr 13, 2013

Cowboy Bebop, is truly a revolutionary Anime as well as one of my favorites, which is something really special considering I feel that way even 15 years after its debut in 1998! Everything from its story to its animation to its sound to its characters is way above its time, making it an instant universal classic. I'll start with the story, which some had a few complaints about including the fact that it doesn't follow the main story line for around 75% of the anime, but rather showed the adventures of Spike, Ed, Jet and Faye encountered in their sci-fi universe (a lot of which included background story lines for many of the characters), however not only feel that it was better, but i also felt that it was helpful for it really emphasized those episodes which did cover the exciting story of Spike's past. Speaking of which, the main story line is sure to stir emotions in many, with it being full of everything thats wanted including action, romance, emotions and not to mention the twist ( I forgot to mention it is HALARIOUS at times to). The last few episodes are sure to leave a mark on it's viewers. Overall i gave it a 9.5 out of 10. Next i'll go on to the animation, which i admit suprised me...in a good way. When was first thinking of watching this show i was reluctant, for i wasn't sure if the animation would be good due to the date in which it was aired, yet i was shocked to see how surprisingly good it was! Trust me when i say, not a detail is missed through the fast paced action scenes to the heart warming romantic scenes. So overall its very very good, and i'm not sure if it was the surprise factor, but i give it a 10 out of 10! Next i'll go on to the sound, which like the animation surprised me. Both the opening and ending theme songs were amazing, and really suited the style of the anime. To add to that, the songs played through the anime were also astounding, and unlike other anime i watch where I just forget about the songs overtime, these ones really stick to you, for they bring out so much more in the anime. The sound in general is also very very good in the anime, and you can see how the creators made sure no detail was left out. Overall I gave the sound a 10 out of 10. Lastly I come to the characters. To be honest I loved Spike from the start, for he is cool and easy going, yet he fight like a monster, which is shown in the early stages of the anime. The other three, Faye, Jet and Ed took me some time to like, yet after getting used to them as well as learning their back stories, not only have i come to like them, but i have come to love them! The villian, a man name Vicious, is also amazing for being exactly what he is supposed to be... a cold-hearted person who is evil throughout the anime. But that is exactly what made me love him! The creators do well to make almost every charcter relay a certain emotion to the audience, whether it be hate, respect or utter bewilderness (I'm talking about Mad Pierrot who is one heck of a unique character :P). Without giving any spoilers or using bad language, just know that there are many surprises in terms of characters awaiting you in this show. Overall i gave the characters a 10 out of 10. So there you have it, basically i think this is an AWESOME, one of a kind anime that is a must see for every anime as well as sci-fi lover. In fact, i'm pretty sure anyone would fall in love with the show when they watched it, for it has the perfect balance of all the right things needed to create an instant classic. I loveeeeddd this anime and I'm sure you will to. Overall I gave Cowboy Bebop 9.8 out of 10

9.5/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
9.8/10 overall
OrionBeoulve's avatar By OrionBeoulve on Dec 9, 2009

This is the overall classic for me. It was really my first anime when I started watching it on Adult Swim. While the animation is a little dated by todays standards, it fits the style of the story and does not look bad at all. I have never been a big stickler for sound quality so as long as it's clear (which it is) I tend to enjoy it. The song choices were pretty good as well, the church scene in Ballad of Fallen Angels as an example. All the characters just about were rememorable for various reasons. Even the bounty targets they chased had their own unique (although some cliche) personalities.

So I admit I may be a bit biased due to my history with it. Even so, I feel that it is a very good if you enjoy an action based story now and then. Another unique aspect is that it's actually future based without the mandatory mech action. The use of spaceships is very well done and applies to the Star Trek/Star Wars style science fiction more than say, Evangelion or other mech styled futures.

Warning, it's not for the light of heart. If you are looking for a happy go lucky story you will not find it here. There are plenty of laughs to be had but also a lot of story elements that will leave you torn. A great ride from start to end for me.

9/10 story
9/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
TheNextrumProject's avatar By TheNextrumProject on May 21, 2014

Spoilers (Duh)

Historia

Prácticamente inexistente, la serie es muy episódica, pero esto, lejos de ser un defecto, es una virtud para la serie, pasemos a lo siguiente.

Personajes

Un verdadero deleite. En los primero capítulos te presentan a todos los personajes, te dicen quiénes son y cómo se relacionan. En los siguientes capítulos, y esto se lleva casi toda la serie, comienzas a ver el pasado de cada uno y ves por qué son así ahora. Lo mejor de todo es que no te lo hacen aburrido, un error muy común con algunas series como Shin Sekai Yori, que manejan muy mal el contenido de sus personajes y se vuelve tedioso o como en Evangelion, que acaba cagandote el personaje. Esto no pasa aquí. Y después, ya los últimos capítulos, te enseñan lo que pueden hacer para su futuro y aunque hubiera sido interesante ver que paso después de la muerte de Spike, te dejan satisfecho y a la vez con ganas de más. Otra cosa destacable es la relación entre los personajes, son básicamente extraños y esto les va muy bien, aunque si hubiera estado rifado ver más a todos como la tripulación del Bebop así bien pro estilo los Piratas de Caribe en el Perla o la tripulación del Enterprise, pero se disfruta tanto lo que ves, que no siente que falte eso mientras lo ves, el desarrollo de los personajes y su no relación acaparan todo y no importa que no haya historia, disfrutas ver como son y todo lo que hacen por el dinero. Otra cosa es que, aunque se la rifan, no los convierten en Jesús en ningún momento, en toda la serie solo atraparon como 3 criminales y el resto se la pasaron cagandola mientras lo intentaban o echando la hueva y eso hace que pisen la tierra y se vean muy humanos. Ok, si se la rifan, pero hay gente que se la rifa más que ellos.

Final

Muy simple, pero apropiado, al menos para Spike. Tambien me hubiera gustado ver qué pasaba con Jet y Faye, pero no es tan difícil de deducir. Como no te elevan tanto al personaje de Spike, no ves su muerte como algo miserable ni mucho menos, insisto, simple pero apropiado para el personaje.

Producción

  • Animación: Muy bonita para la edad que tiene, digo, vemos la versión “remasterizada” de Evangelion y se sigue viendo del carajo.
  • OST: Un OST despampanante, combina todos estos géneros tan similares y vemos que un OST no puede ser solo orquesta. Jazz, Blues, Swing y además algo del viejo oeste, heavy metal y rock para acompañar, uno de los mejores OST, no solo del anime, sino de todos los tiempos. Pocas veces se realiza que tantos géneros musicales puedan acompañar una sola producción
  • Openings y endings: Simplemente INCREIBLE, uno de los himnos del anime por mucho y una rolisima para oír aunque no seas otaku. Varia un poco de acuerdo a los países, en USA es una de la canciones que más se relacionan al anime y casi todos han escuchado, así como aquí en América Latina, todos conocemos Cha-La Head Cha-La y es por mucho la canción más popular que se relaciona al anime. Three, Two, One, LET’S JAM!

Veredicto

Una serie increíble, los personajes te dan todo y hay satisfacción al final. Si se siente algo triste cuando Jet hace los huevos cocidos y solo ves a él y a Spike comiendo, cuando el resto se va. Hubieran podido explorar más el universo que crearon y explicarnos más del problema del portal lunar y básicamente muchas ideas que dejaron sueltas, pero la serie como esta estructurada, no le hace falta.

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
10/10 overall
Ladieburd's avatar By Ladieburd on Oct 26, 2009

There has been a lot of buzz about Cowboy Bebop - from those who have seen it and those who have yet to see it. While it is an older anime (1998), it has an everlasting appeal to both fans of anime and those who don't like anime. Bebop has a little bit of something for everyone, which may account for its popularity. The storyline, characters, and music all add up for one of the best adventures in anime.

The Story

Set in 2071, Bebop focuses around four characters: Jet Black, an ex-ISSP officer; Spike Speigel, a cowboy out for adventure and revenge; Faye Valentine, a woman with no past; and Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV (Ed), a child hacker from Earth. Also accompanying the group is Ein, a Welsh Corgi who is more than just a dog. These four 'cowboys' as they are commonly referred to travel the galaxy in search of bounties to fill their forever empty pockets and stomachs. Each 'session' as the episodes are called, focus primarily on one bounty or the past of one of the characters. There are a few episodes that don't really follow the story line, but they serve to lighten the mood of this otherwise tragic anime.

Grade: A. The characters are likeable and the story reaches a logical conclusion and leaves no loose ends.

The Art

Bebop's art does not necessarily stand out from that of other anime, but in comparisson to others (Rurouni Kenshin and Inuyasha for example, have a more free-flowing art style), the art work is comparably clean, but not wholly overly realistic. Bebop is well-drawn and mapped, leaving no room for gaps or criticisms, particularly in an anime which contains a majority of fight scenes (mostly involving guns and explosions). It demonstrates a happy medium between realistic and 'cartoony' animes.

Grade: A. Everyone likes a unique style of art, but this is something everyone can enjoy.

The Music

The music for Bebop plays homage to its title, using free-flowing Jazz, Bebop, Blues, and Classical melodies in perfect harmony. The fights are well timed in regards to the music as well. Even those who do not appreciate Jazz will find Bebop's melodies fun and addictive, particularly in regards to the opening theme "Tank!". It's definitely a soundtrack worth owning, particularly if you enjoy GOOD Jazz music.

Grade: A. Good Jazz is making a clean comeback.

Overall

Grade: A

While the anime can be depressing, it posesses enough charisma to keep viewers enthralled in its magic. As action animes go, the art is well done and the fights are prefectly coreographed to the music. It's a great starter anime for those who want to try and get into the anime circle because of its appeal to both anime and non-anime fans. There is also a stand alone movie, which I also recommend.

Happy Watching!

10/10 story
9/10 animation
10/10 sound
9/10 characters
10/10 overall