Review: Cowboy Bebop

With Space Dandy and Zankyou no Terror now over as of last week, I’ll take this opportunity to review another of Shinichiro Watanabe’s series, the excellent Cowboy Bebop which is getting a Blu-ray collection this week, thanks to the fantastic Anime Limited.

Cowboy Bebop is a classic example of a gateway anime, it introduced a whole generation to what anime is and has the potential to be, even better than when it first aired on Adult Swim in 2001. This is a series that is rightly remembered for having memorable and badass characters, an incredible jazz soundtrack, an interesting world and a story-line that was disjointed in places, but still worked as intended.

It follows Spike Spiegel, a bounty hunter in space who cruises around on his friend Jet Black’s spaceship the Bebop, running from a mysterious past and chasing down bounties. To tell you any more than that would detract from the experience of the show. However, I will say that there’s two kinds of episodes in Cowboy Bebop, ones that delve into our heroes backstories and progress the plot and the standalone ones. Some might say that devoting a big chunk of the run-time towards the independent adventures of the main characters is a bad idea, but it works so well here. It lets the characters have crazy one-off adventures with action and comedy, whilst allowing you to become attached to the Bebop’s crew. If you thought Spike was already a cool, gun fighting; martial artist, super bounty hunter, then it gets better. Spike’s past is the other draw of the show, and I won’t even begin detailing it here, you’ll have to see it for yourself.

Now we come to the soundtrack. Composed by Yoko Kanno, who formed a band, The Seatbelts, for the sole purpose of creating the show’s wonderful music. I’m willing to bet it will be the catchiest soundtrack you’ll have heard in a long time, everybody ends up humming the opening track at least once. Hell, the fact that Yoko Kanno and The Seatbelts have done a bunch of live shows should be a testament to the show’s quality and the catchiness of the soundtrack.

Cowboy Bebop is a series that also, in my opinion, sets the standard for the quality of a dub in an anime. This is the series that launched Steve Blum’s career, the Steve Blum who’s been in an astronomically huge number of games and anime, and his performance here is stellar. Not to mention the other three main characters, given life in the dub by Beau Billingslea, Wendee Lee and Melissa Fahn. They’ve all gone on to do so many other series and are worthy of recognition in their own right.

Of the three action series that Shinichiro Watanabe produced, Bebop is probably the most serious, and is better for it. I’d suggest you get a day to yourself, find a dark comfortable room and just bask in the glory that is this show. But if you’ve already seen it? Why not give it another look, it’s aged well. Now off you go, watch it.

You can purchase the Blu-ray collection here .
The DVD Collection here .