Cowboy Bebop Review

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“Cowboy Bebop” is a 1998 anime developed by Studio Sunrise and directed by Shinichirō Watanabe. Featuring a fusion of jazz and space opera themes, this anime breaks many genre norms by subverting many typical anime formulas and tropes, as “Cowboy Bebop” essentially creates a genre of itself.

In the universe of “Cowboy Bebop,” the year is 2071, and humanity lives on terraformed sections of the other planets in the Solar System due to an accident known as the Astral Gate Accident of 2022. Humanity was forced to abandon the ruined Earth and live on other planets. “Cowboy Bebop” establishes its premise in an unusual but fascinating way. Rather than using the first episode to drop all of that exposition and overarching plot, the anime instead focuses on establishing both the tone and two of the main characters. Our tale begins with Spike Spiegel and Jet Black, two bounty hunters aboard an old fishing spaceship, and later on we meet the femme fatale Faye Valentine, the whimsical Ed, and even a welsh corgi named Ein.

Most episodes of “Cowboy Bebop” follow an unepisodic structure in which the gang aboard the Bebop attempts to catch a bounty in order to earn some money, as the group always seems to be perpetually low on money. Through these bounty chases, we learn of the bounty’s intricate background stories as of to why they are on a wanted list. However, an overarching plot and theme begins to surface as the show progresses. Quickly it is evident that a major theme of “Cowboy Bebop” deals with the human ability to move on from the past. “Cowboy Bebop” delivers on all fronts with excellent aesthetics, a wonderfully composed jazz soundtrack, and a well made English dub.

My favorite description of “Cowboy Bebop” is that it’s a show which has already ended, but they kept the camera rolling anyways. The cast of characters are apathetic and seek closure to the events of their lives, as they are only emotionally affected when their experiences regard their own past. Near the end of the show, nearly everyone has achieved closure, all except for one. “Cowboy Bebop” is a solid 9/10 for me.

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