Cowboy Bebop will always be one of the hardest pieces of media for me to review. It feels difficult to express my fondness for this anime without sounding cliché. Nowadays, it’s easy for something to get over hyped to the point where it naturally doesn’t reach the expectations people set for it. While no anime will be for everyone, I believe Cowboy Bebop is one that everyone should give a chance.
Like other anime aired during its time, Cowboy Bebop features beautiful hand drawn animation. The ending scene from the first episode is one of my favorite shots in anime in general. Instead of being over the top, Cowboy Bebop’s character designs are simplistic. It’s one of the aspects that bring a sense of realism to Cowboy Bebop’s world. It’s not hard for me to picture real life people wearing the same clothes as these characters or performing their mannerisms.
Good presentation can be amplified by great music, and Cowboy Bebop does more than deliver. It features a phenomenal soundtrack, which remains one of my absolute favorites. Heavily Influenced by Jazz and Blues, Cowboy Bebop incorporates the two genres flawlessly. Even the show’s opening and ending songs, “Tank” and “The Real Folk Blues”, ooze with the two styles. Complimenting events that take place on-screen, the music will ramp up during action scenes, while providing mellow and soothing compositions for times of sadness or relaxation.
No story can succeed without well written characters and Cowboy Bebop features some unforgettable ones. The Bebop crew each have their own distinctive personalities. Spike Spiegel is chill and laid-back, usually smoking a cigarette with his hands tucked in his pockets. Jet Black is the father figure, cook, and mechanic. Faye Valentine Is the smart mouth who is always asking for money due to her constant debt. Edward and Ein provide the crew and audience with charming humor and comic relief.
When on screen together though, the crew shares amazing chemistry that peels back deeper layers of their personalities. While Faye might come off as only caring about herself, her interactions with the crew show that she really cares about her comrades. Edward might seem happy and playful, but she’s more lonely than she lets on.
Even minor characters are memorable despite appearing in only a single episode. This is because they’re written with surreal humanity and realism. They don’t always make the best choices, but they’re driven by noble and honest motives.
In the beginning episodes the story of Cowboy Bebop seems simple. It’d be easy for someone to assume that the show’s premise is solely about a group of bounty hunters catching criminals to make money, only to go broke by the next episode.
However, the reality is that the story is deeper than that because of the show’s deep and relatable premise. Cowboy Bebop‘s theme is the past, and each member of the Bebop crew has one that they must face and come to terms with.
This show manages to capture the weight and overall effect the past can have on someone. How it can haunt us, stifle us, and shape us in ways that can effect us in the long term. How it can leave us empty to the point we constantly go seeking it out.
That can also scare us, sometimes so much that we spend our entire life running from it. It also shows us the importance of closure, that we can put the past behind us and without closure the past could end up consuming us. It also shows that closure is something we don’t always find and some of the characters receive it while others are denied it.
Cowboy Bebop still remains the most immersive anime I’ve ever watched. It isn’t as lengthy as most anime nowadays and has a total of twenty-six episodes. Despite knowing the story, I rewatch this anime often. Due to how real the characters seem and how the show is presented, I don’t feel like I’m just watching the crew but that I’m apart of it. When I selected the featured image for this review I felt like the crew was looking at me and wondering where I had been since the last time I saw them.
Overall I feel that Cowboy Bebop is still an excellent anime and well deserving of its reputation. It got me invested from the beginning and that investment grew with each passing episode.
From the beginning to the climatic end, the pacing was never choppy and the stories never got boring. With Netflix planning to release a live-action adaptation, the Bebop crew can be introduced to new viewers. While it will be a challenge, I hope that it can capture the magic of the anime that started it all.
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