Cowboy Bebop

TV (26 eps)
1998 - 1999
Spring 1998
4.338 out of 5 from 53,778 votes
Rank #116

Follow interstellar bounty hunters Spike Spiegel and Jet Black as they scour the galaxy for criminals with prices on their heads. Hoping to escape their past, they live on the spaceship Bebop, but it's a dangerous business and old enemies don't forget easily. Allies come from unlikely sources, however, as they find comrades in the beautiful swindler Faye Valentine, the genius child hacker Ed and the genetically engineered 'data dog' Ein. Will they be able to help each other though their respective struggles, or is their fate really inevitable?

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StoryMany 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. AnimationAnimation 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. SoundNever 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.CharactersCharacters 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. OverallThe concept of Cowboy Bebop is not original, but its execution is outstanding. The characters are not original, but how they interact with the world around them is. The music can be defined by genre, but the impact on the individual cannot. The animation has been topped over the years, the cgi definitely shows its age, but there are still moments of raw beauty that are still unparalleled. Cowboy Bebop is not a rite of passage in anime fandom, but it should be a signpost, showing you the difference between the sublime and the ordinary.


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!


Ok so I'm not a boomer but I'm a teen and I just picked up this anime after having watched the likes of Rick and Morty, The Boondocks, Fullmetal Alchemist, Death Note, Steins;Gate and all the classic crap of animation (Studio Ghibli, Naruto, One Piece, Hunter x Hunter, goes on forever) and whatnot, so here's the basic rundown: Story (9/10): Don't listen to the boomers that say the story is crap because there's no big arc in many of the episodes; that's exactly the point of Cowboy Bebop. At the root of what Cowboy Bebop is getting at is the idea of loneliness, depression, and the difference between need and want. By making each episode an individual take on different topics such as uber-intelligence, psychotic drugs, naiveness and the like, Cowboy Bebop is intelligent in that it tells us nothing is permanent - except for that everlasting emptiness in us. We're constantly reminded of the hunger of the crew through the similar ending each time, be it Jet having to cook an empty vegan meal for the crew or the Bebop floating through the vast expanse of space. That's exactly why you have to look at the series episode by episode because it crams so much in one episode that the excitement by itself is satisfactory and can be appreciated.  Animation (9.5/10): Hey so it could be better but you gotta remember that this was created just before the millennium, so you gotta like what you get, and boy we got some good animation. Every detail from the fight scenes is perfection, there are only a few moments from the standstill that is the Bebop where you can tell the animation crew got tired, for example, Ein walking around for a few moments, but that's fine because it's not central to the plot. Other than that, the action is well drawn and should be indulged in.  Sound (10/10): Just listen to probably the best album in anime history - just from the episode names you start to see that the whole series is based around music and jazz and that the two forms of art (music and animation) begin to intertwine as themes appear at exactly the right moment (in both story and music). Just listen to the OST - Tank and Blue are amazing. Characters (9/10): Usually the main characters in anime are lovable twerps that just gain power and influence as the story progresses through a natural hero's journey. Mentors rise and fall, friends come and go, you know. This is almost always what separates the best from the great: the psychology of the characters. A common trend in the best animes is that you have a complex protagonist - one that embodies the anti-hero traits of doing bad and good at the same time. Now, let's look at some cases: Light, for example, is an evil mastermind/genius that has gained too much power for his own good. The audience is forced to sympathize with L in many cases instead of Light, which makes the show all the more interesting. Or you have Edward Elric, this shorty that has a lot of heart, passion, and talent - but this is the ultimate reason for his greatest losses. As Ed learns more about the truth, he faces the graveness of evil at the center of the nation but also has to look at his own actions and judge himself. Now let's look at the crew of the Bebop - every single member is an interesting case, with their own razzle-dazzle and pizazz that spices things up. At the face of everything you see their facades - Spike is the cool Bruce Lee kind of fighter, Jet is the fundamental elder that always clears things up, Faye is the untouchable classy female warrior, Ed's the crazy prodigy (ok Ed's just weird), and Ein's just that cute little data dog. But NO - look into the anime a little more and everything is revealed, nothing's as it seems, and the whole series just got a little darker, more complex, and a whole lot more interesting. That's why this is THE MUST WATCH out of any current anime you might be contemplating.  Finally - the most unique, rare, and precious thing about this anime is it's creativity: The series combines elements of westerns, science fiction, mystery, and mashes it into a beautiful concoction of pure joy. So watch this right now or else your only going to get mushrooms for dinner for the rest of your life.

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