Cowboy Bebop

TV (26 eps)
1998 - 1999
Spring 1998
4.532 out of 5 from 62,904 votes
Rank #70

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!


25th review! This is a spoiler-free review. Overall: 8.3/10 - Cowboy Bebop is stylish, fun, and has a little bit of something for everybody. While it lacks enough focus in the story to make it a true masterpiece, it is very unique in almost every way and every anime fan should take the time to watch it.  Recommended for: Any anime fan should watch this at some point, for the sake of learning about the heritage of modern anime if nothing else. Breakdown: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Story: 5.75/10-Slightly good Creativity/uniqueness bonus points +1: Cowboy Bebop has a ton of creativity in the general setting. Humour bonus points +1:  Edward, at least in my opinion, is hilarious, as are many of the missions and other character interactions. General Plot and Structure 1/4 - Cowboy Bebop is primarily episodic, with the crew chasing bounties and almost always losing them in some way. While I can't say it's bad, a lot of the bounties they go after can get repetitive over time. Spike's story is interesting, but only a handful of episodes go towards it and the other three are pretty standard.  Pacing 1/2 - The pacing is pretty slow. It's fun to watch a few episodes at a time, but there's little that really pushes you to marathon it.  Emotional impact: 1/3 - There were moments of emotion, however they weren't particularly strong for the most part. Conclusion .75/1 - The conclusion is good, though nothing spectacular. Annoying/mindset-breaking negative points - None  ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Animation: 9.6/10-Excellent Artwork 2.9/3 - The artwork is excellent and inspired, all hand-drawn and filled with flair and uniqueness. Settings were super cool and varied. You can tell they put a ton of time into it. Character Designs 2.75/3 -All of the characters look great and unique. Action Animation 1.9/2 - Fight scenes are excellent. For the time era it is only outmatched by specific parts of Ghost in the Shell (1995). Other Animation 2/2 - Other animation is also great. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Characters: 8.25/10-Excellent Personality 2.75/3 - Every major character has a ton of personality and is fairly well-rounded. Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of Faye Valentine. Development 2/3 - There is some development in Faye and, to a lesser degree, Spike. Uniqueness 3.5/4 - All of the major characters are very unique. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sound: 9.5/10-Excellent Voice Acting (Dub) 5/5 - The dub is incredible. All of the voice acting conveys each character perfectly. Definitely watch the dub. Music 3.5/4 - Cowboy Bebop's music has a ton of style to it. The opening is great and really pumps you up for the show. The ending is almost as good. Most music during the show is similarly excellent, though some of their full-length vocal songs haven't aged very well. Sound Effects 1/1 - Excellent.

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