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Cowboy Bebop

May 19, 2011

Story: 9/10

Cowboy bebop takes place in the year 2071 follows what starts off as a pair of bounty hunters named Spike and Jet who travel aboard the spacecraft 'bebop'.  As the series progresses, their group quickly grows to five with the addition of the data dog Ein, an odd woman named Faye Valentine and a little girl named Edward, who seems to be the brains of the operation while still being totally childish. Out of Bebop's twenty six episodes, only five of them have any plot element to them, the rest are totally episodic. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, and certainly not here. These one episode stand-alones can range from incredibly silly and over the top (Mushroom samba) to reasonably subtle (Perriot de fou). However, no matter what, every episode strives to add something to one, or even all of our main characters. Bebop certainly shines most when it's exploring the actual plot, but these episodes wouldn't shine as much if they hadn't spent so much time giving depth to the characters. The actual plot of the show is about Spike's feud with a man named Vicious. I won't dive much further into details, as to not to spoil anything. It finally concludes with what is rightfully known as one of the most fitting ends to an anime series.

Animation: 9/10

The animation is another great point for Cowboy bebop. This show was made over ten years ago, but the animation matches up to the best of the best today. It's clear how much effort went into every frame. The characters have large (although not as large as some anime) eyes that display strong emotions, but for the most part, the characters look and move much like real humans. The animals are also probably some of the more realistic animals seen in animation. They look and move more like actual animals rather than cartoons.

Sound: 10/10

What do we all know about Cowboy bebop? The music of course! Cowboy Bebop's soundtrack fits so masterfully with the show that it is impossible to ignore and impossible to forget. The oddest songs play at the most seemingly out of place of times and really have no business working as well as they always do. The music in Cowboy bebop is always spot-on and never misses, ever. Yoko Kanno always does a great job, another example of her work being the score in Wolf's rain. Oddly enough, though, the soundtrack listened to without the show just isn't quite the same. The music needs the show to be effective, but when paired with the show, it is just that, very effective. It is also a mix of so many different genres, most prominent being Jazz, but there are also many other genres mixed in here and there. The opening (Tank) and ending (The Real folk blues) credits are also a force to be reckoned with, both fitting the series extremely well and you never want to skip them. Both of them are extremely well done and probably some of the best in anime. 

The voice acting, although strong in Japanese, is a treat to watch in English. The English voice actors really breathe new life into their characters. The main example of this being Melissa Charles as Edward. She is the one who makes Edward so loveable. She made her odd personality charming rather than annoying, which the Japanese voice actor didn't quite do. Of course, everyone in the English cast is top-notch and you should definitely watch this one in English, Edward just needed special mention.

Characters: 10/10

Now on to the characters. It's impossible not to love someone in the main cast. They are all very well developed and loveable characters. From the cool and thoughtful Jet to the odd and off the wall Edward, there's always someone to love. Spike himself is also a great character, however, I'm sure most people have heard enough about how cool he is, and although it's true, I shan't go on about it any more than that. Faye is a real femme fatale and a very strong female character that is very independent, but can also come off as rather cold and selfish, and she is. She is also often as foolish as Spike, can also match him in terms of bravery. Ed's really weird, but it doesn't make her annoying. Her brand of weird just makes her more likeable, which is something not so easily pulled off. As mentioned, Spike is cool, foolish, brave and stubborn. He is also intelligent when he needs to be, but likes to wallow in the past even when he tells others not to. Jet is a strong leader of the group, who often keeps the group together and keeps them from hurting themselves. Without him, who knows how much more trouble the crew would get in. Overall, bebop has an outstanding cast of characters, among whom you will find at least one character to love.

Overall: 9.5/10

While Cowboy Bebop's premise may not be entirely original, the execution is outstanding, it's an exciting show with a lot to offer. It can and will be enjoyed by just about anyone. It's one and only shortcoming is the fact that the story is episodic for the most part, which may turn some people off, but this is overcome with a strong cast, amazing visuals and a breathtaking musical score, along with the fact that when the plot of the story shows up, it is even more exciting than the stand alones that were great to begin with. This show simply cannot be compared to anything in existence.

9/10 story
9/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
9.5/10 overall
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