:: Cowboy Bebop ::Reviewed By: exeunter
Among authors, you have stylists. You have the trend-setters, the documenters, and the masterpiece-makers. But most novels out there are but "light reading." However, shifting to the genre of anime, such is not Cowboy Bebop. This series is profound, philosophical, yet pleasurable. Cowboy Bebop is not your everyday, crowd-pleasing, cliched series; perhaps no other anime series has the style that Cowboy Bebop has.
The series (1998) is a tale set in the future about the maverick Spike Spiegel and the practical Jet Black who live a life chasing outlaws for their bounty. The series is episodic and the two bounty hunters run into new characters and new insights as Cowboy Bebop progresses. Along the way, the alluring free-lance Faye Valentine, the ingenuous hacker Ed (still but a child), and the amiable dachshund (OK OK fine; technically, a Welsh Corgi) Ein join the scene. However, as the storyline progresses, the mood turns darker as bounty hunters become only second to a larger picture that emerges. Spike and his friends become the hunted, and we only gradually learn about Spike's shady past with an organization called the Syndicate. Soon, we also learn that Faye was cryogenically frozen and lost all her prior memory, Jet has a former girlfriend Alisa who mysteriously left him years ago, and Ed doesn't know where her (yes, Ed is a girl) family is--if she has one at all. As each character turns to search for their past, present events quickly change.
The series is packed with action. Encounters with violent and sometimes mentally unstable criminals guarantee intense, dangerous fights. An interesting addition reminiscent of Bruce Lee's movie Enter the Dragon is Spike's fighting style. Early in the series in a fight with a criminal, he says, "You trust your eyes too much! You're not a chameleon! You can't see everywhere all at once!" Later, Spike reveals more of his martial arts philosophy: "I'm not tensing up anywhere. I'm just using your excessive force. I control the flow of power and to do that, I have to relax the whole body to be able to react to any movement. Yeah, I become like water. Water can take any form. It can flow along slowly or beat down aggressively, right?" Hyperspace gates, colonies, and space fighters are pervasive in Cowboy Bebop. Jet has his Hammerhead vehicle, Faye has her Red Tail pod, and Spike has his Swordfish fighter--mix them in with criminals and revenge-seekers and you get fast-paced dogfights.
Unique to each character is their set of strengths and weaknesses. Each character's persona plays a MAJOR role in causing their victories and downfalls. Sometimes their stubbornness leads them to success when they get what they want; other times, the sheer incompatibilities between characters lead to very humorous situations. In many episodes, the storyboard directors chose the characters that appear very carefully so that the juxtaposition of their natures can dictate the mood the episode will exude.
In no other anime series is there more variety and more incorporation of music than in Cowboy Bebop. The music?ranging from blues, bebop, and other types of jazz to big band and heavy metal is so much an integral part of each episode. In fact, the name of each episode is either exactly or partially taken from other songs--many of them Beatles songs.
Cowboy Bebop is about humor. It is about action. It is about revenge. It is about solipsism. It is about everything unorthodox. Bebop has countless motifs and metaphors. You can't watch one, two, or three episodes and judge it, just as the way you can't judge an author just by reading one of his or her works. Watch all 26 episodes or don't watch it at all. Some call Bebop a masterpiece--but hey, let's not hype about it, or we will have disappointed people. One thing is for sure, though, one day in the future, Cowboy Bebop will be considered a classic out there among Akira and Mononoke-hime. You cannot call yourself an anime fan without having watched Cowboy Bebop.
:: alternate reviews ::
Alternate #1 - Coca
"If you are looking for a Anime show to start your Anime experience with this is it look no further!.." (read more)
Alternate #2 - Straight-Cougar
Fun Factor: A+
Overall: A +
From start to finish the audience is embraced in an exciting and jazzy discourse throug.." (read more)
Alternate #3 - Bel
"A "must see", if only for the music..." (read more)
Alternate #4 - alphafox
"I've seen all 26 episodes en i've seen Heaven and earth. Cowboy bebop starts of slow and IMHO not that interesting. But after like 18 episodes it gets intresting and the final.." (read more)
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