Title: Cowboy Bebop
Genre: Space western, crime drama, action, comedy, sci-fi
Released date: April 3, 1998 – April 23, 1999
Director: Shinichiro Watanabe
Animated by: Studio Sunrise
Comment: In the near future which men spread throughout the solar system, a group of bounty hunters aboard the ship ‘Bebop’ roams the space and cities. The crew consists of five members; Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Faye Valentine, Ed and Ein.
Spike is a former member of a crime syndicate. He is an excellent martial artist, pilot, spy or even thief but he fails when it comes to life and love. He is constantly haunted by the memory of Julia, the woman he loves and he has problems expressing his feelings and tend to react opposite to his feelings or avoid them entirely except when Julia is involved. In which case, he usually loose control. He is pretty lazy and often sarcastic. Jet is former police who also suffers from lost love. He is the oldest of the team and the most rational. Faye has just woken from 54 years of cryogenic sleep to find herself deceived and lonely, although she hides her pain well beneath those smiles. Ed is a genius computer hacker and an orphanage. Each episode of Cowboy Bebop mostly depicts different bounty hunting. They have unique style and tone ranging from comedy, crime drama, hard science fiction, horror and combination of these genres. Believe it or not, despite the difference in genre, every episode is exceptionally great and at the same time, subtly reveals new details of the past, personalities and development of the characters. Some episodes are dedicated to Spike, some to Jet, Faye and Ed and the rest are stand alone stories. This quality of Cowboy Bebop puts most of the TV series to shame.
The animation is not as flashy as today’s standard but it is definitely done with great efforts. The movement is fluid and the background is alive. The spaceships and vehicles design, surprisingly, doesn’t look out of date. The original soundtrack, composed by Yoko Kanno, is mostly jazz and blue music which fits perfectly to the anime and is beautiful when listened separately. The ending of the series generates significant amount of controversy. For me, it is heart-breaking but undeniably perfect and unforgettable.
Although Cowboy Bebop has no deep or thought provoking main theme but there are always hidden messages in each episode and the anime excellently explores the nature and complexity of human through the lives of the characters. The biggest achievement of Cowboy Bebop is in its direction, screenplay, characterization, action, animation, music and the miraculous ability to combine all those things in one anime series. Despite its age, I can hardly name any newer anime that is able to best Cowboy Bebop. It is a milestone in the world of anime. It is not only flawless but it impresses me immensely. Conclusion: Cowboy Bebop drives me crazy! It’s the kind of anime I’ve always dreamed of but never think it really exists.