anime, review

Anime Review: Cowboy Bebop

Introduction

It has been awhile since I’ve done an anime review. Cowboy Bebop is classified by many anime fans as one of the greatest animes of all time. I hate it when animes get that much praise because it sets my expectations too high and in the end I get disappointed. For some cases such as Death Note, Princess Tutu, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Puella Magi Madoka Magica I actually really like the anime just as much as everyone else did. But than we had animes that I did enjoy just NO WAY near as much as everyone else, example Toradora, Attack on Titans and B Gata H Kei, though enjoyable still weren’t as great as I hoped. So I asked myself, what is Cowboy Bebop going to be like? Only one way to find out.

Story

I’m going to be completely honest, I don’t know the actual plot to Cowboy Bebop so I’ll just copy+paste it here (credit goes to myanimelist.net for this):

The year 2071 A.D. That future is now. Driven out of their terrestrial eden, humanity chose the stars as the final frontier. With the section-by-section collapse of the former nations a mixed jumble of races and peoples came. They spread to the stars, taking with them the now confused concepts of freedom, violence, illegality and love, where new rules and a new generation of outlaws came into being. People referred to them as Cowboys.

Meet Spike and Jet, a drifter and a retired cyborg cop who have started a bounty hunting operation. In the converted ship The Bebop, Spike and Jet search the galaxy for criminals with bounties on their heads. They meet a lot of unusual characters, including the unusually intelligent dog, Ein, and the voluptuous and vexing femme fatale, Faye Valentine.

Despite not understanding its main focus to the plot it doesn’t mean I don’t like it. I like most episodes of Cowboy Bebop, especially the ones that give character development and backstory. Cowboy Bebop isn’t a genre of anime I’m particularly use to and watching an anime with cowboy action with a sci-fi element is rather fascinating. It is a breath to fresh air in anime. I think the animes problem is that it started off slow and honestly some episodes had no real purpose to the anime. Not denying that these episodes were fun to watch it’s just they didn’t do much to the plot. I wish the anime used it’s time a bit more wisely and though it’ll sacrifice the useless yet really good episodes I would love it if they used that time to explain more things and though the ending was good it didn’t conclude all it’s side plots the way I hoped it would.

Score: B

Characters

Our main cast are very fascinating. Spike Spiegel is our main character who is brave, smart but extremely laid-back and careless. Than we have Jet Black who is a voice of reason and the father figure, he is extremely responsible complimenting Spike’s more careless character. Than we have Faye Valentine who use to be classified as one of the sexiest women in anime but is replaced by many modern day anime females and I’m pretty annoyed that she wasn’t even an honorable mention on Watch Mojo’s Top 10 Sexiest Women of Anime list. Faye has a tough exterior but can be sentimental and soft-spoken at some moments. Than we have Edward who is a child (also a girl) and is our zany and fun hacker. Lastly our dog Ein who I can’t say much about other than the fact he’s an intelligent dog.

Other than our main cast, we only have characters who appear for one episode and a few reoccurring characters who are apart of Spike’s past and have an impact to the anime. But really we don’t have much of a large cast because as I said earlier, Cowboy Bebop has too many pointless episodes which only develop the one-episode characters and at times the main cast. The main cast are very well developed and have fascinating backstories but for most of them, the backstories don’t have a proper conclusion and Ed barely had anything and when she did, it was in the same episode as Faye’s development, but I don’t hold much against this anime for that because Ed’s character is suppose to add light and fun to the show’s more darker tones.

Score: B-

Animation

For an anime made in 1998, this is very impressive animation. The character designs were nicely done and every character were designed very well. Funny thing about Cowboy Bebop is that unlike most 90s animes, Cowboy Bebop doesn’t suffer the usual 90s anime problems with their animation, it never looks cartoony or anything like the 90s anime we’ve seen. So I really can’t criticize the animation to much because it is so well-done, especially compared to some animes that were made early 2000s which I excused because it was made before animation improved.

Score: B+

Sound

There is a lot of jazz in the anime especially during our action scenes, if not playing jazz it would be the blues, more slower paced songs or just English song. The OST is fantastic and actually stands out really well. Though I don’t love it as much as most Cowboy Bebop fans, I still like the opening theme, it got you pumped for each episodes even on days where I just don’t feel like watching it but force myself to anyways (I have days where I don’t want to watch certain animes). I really like the ending song, it was sad (judging from it’s name and tone) and matched the darker themes of the anime. Overall I really love the music in this anime.

The Japanese to Cowboy Bebop is decent, nothing spectacular really but the English…. my GOD! This has been classified by many even dub-haters as the best dub ever… or at least one of the best. Steve Blum (voices Spike) and Beau Billingslea (voices Jet), thank you and I really wish I heard you in more anime. Also thanking Wendee Lee (voices Faye) and Melissa Fahn (voices Ed) because they did so good. Heck the whole dub cast did such a good job! So guys, even if you are a dub-hater, watch this anime in English dub.

Score (Music): B+

Score (Voice Acting): B+

Conclusion

Is this the best anime ever and deserved a 9/10 on IMDb and an 8.9/10 on TV.com? No. But is really good? Is it worth watching? Certainly. Cowboy Bebop may not be the best anime out there but it is one of those animes you need to watch. It does fascinate me and I found myself enjoying many episodes (even the useless ones) and the characters. Sure it has it’s problems but what anime doesn’t. It has great animation, a great dub and beautiful music and to top it off, a good story and entertaining main cast members to it. I give Cowboy Bebop a it is worth watching. It may not of become a favorite but at least became an anime that I should’ve added on my Top 19 Animes I Recommend list.

I recommend:

Trigun

An anime I recently watched and enjoyed. Both are classical 90s anime that have made anime history and are very enjoyable. Though our main character in Trigun, Vash is nothing like Cowboy Bebop’s main character, Spike in personality, I still reckon the two are alike both having a painful past that is somewhat similar. Both animes are country side looking but really take place in the long distant future.

Samurai Champloo

Other than the fact Watanabe created both animes, these two are very similar. I haven’t fully seen Samurai Champloo but I’ve seen enough of it to understand it. Our main protagonists are alike in appearance (kinda) and in personality (kinda). Also having a voice of reason in the group. The tone of both animes can be somewhat similar too and the more olden day look but modern day things are involved in both animes but in a different way. I can’t say this is a 100% recommended anime but I’ve seen enough to say that I do enjoy it.

That is all. Thanks for reading my review.

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4 thoughts on “Anime Review: Cowboy Bebop

  1. Finally, a person who didn’t brand this show as a masterpiece 10/10 firework spectacular! I still have not seen it (but I’ll get around to it soon, trust me) so your opinions intrigue me. I guess I’ll never know until I watch it for myself, so thanks for the recommendation :>

    Liked by 1 person

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