Director: Shinichiro Watanabe
Written by: Keiko Nobumoto
Music By: Yoko Kanno
U. S. Distributor: Funimation Entertainment
Re-release Date: Dec. 9th, 2014
Format: DVD or Blu-ray / 26 episodes
Genre: Space Western, Sci Fi, Noir
Age Rating: TV 14
Overall Personal Rating: A
The Bebop crew is just trying to make a buck. This motley lot of intergalactic loners teams up to track down fugitives and turn them in for cold hard cash. Spike is a hero whose cool facade hides a dark and deadly past. The pilot Jet is a bruiser of a brute who can’t wait to collect the next bounty. Faye Valentine is a femme fatale prone to breaking hearts and separating fools from their money. Along for the ride are the brilliant-but-weird hacker Ed and a super-genius Welsh Corgi named Ein. On their own, any one of them would be likely to get lost in the sprawl of space, but together, they’re the most entertaining gang of bounty hunters in the year 2071.
Well, the wait is over. Funimation stepped up and took over the U. S. licensee for this iconic series. Of course it was just a matter of time and it really was never gone, because it is an annual mainstay for Toonami. I can honestly say that I am glad to see it get a renewed interest and opportunity to be discovered by a new group of soon to be fans.
The story itself feels like a very episodic series but in the end it all ties up together and makes even more sense. Trigun is much the same way and is also born the same year. 1998 was a very special year and most studios were very busy. To think that the same studio that gave us Gundam we also got one of the most complicated spec westerns ever made is some what puzzling, but wonderful no matter how you look at it.
Cowboy Bebop provides some of the richest and complex characters that turn into a very special show that no matter how old it gets it will continue to stand out for what it is. The animation isn’t all that special, for 1998 it was very good, but it is not about the animation it is all about the writing.
Overall Grade: A
Ok, it is clear that I believe that Cowboy Bebop is one of the top anime ever made, but there are still some things about it I may never get over. I think that the attention to the main characters was so important that some of the secondary characters were left drifting in the wind. Im not saying that they needed to change much, I just believe that they could have woven a few side stories into the main plot that could have given us a better understanding of the rest of this wild world they lived in. I also felt like they took some things for ganged and expected the fan base to give them a pass on some of the total denial of physics and how life in space was viewed even in 1998. Some things just say take us serious and other things said “hey, we really don’t care if it is believable”.
Cowboy Bebop is a lot of things, but the one thing that makes it really stands out as a great anime is that it set the bar very high for well written and acted anime to come. There is a reason we don’t see a lot of space westerns anymore, and the high standard that Cowboy Bebop and some of the other anime made in the late 1990’s set for the future.
If for some reason you haven’t seen this series, I can only say that you need to spend some time and give it a try. I believe you will walk away from it with a better understanding of how a great series should be made and also how music can play a big role in the overall feel of a story. Also, if you like Cowboy Bebop you really need to see Kids on the Slope, you will be pleased in what you discover.
Thanks Funimation for keeping this iconic series alive and well!