An Anime Review by Xbolt
First aired in 1998, Cowboy Bebop is another oldie with high ratings. But this time, I feel the praise is more justly deserved than that of Neon Genesis Evangelion, which I reviewed in the March issue.
Set in the year 2071, Cowboy Bebop tells the story of some bounty hunters, (cowboys,) who travel around the Solar System in their ship, the Bebop. There isn’t a lot of the Real World Physics that was displayed in Planetes, but I do have to hand it to the creators, though. The visual effects for entering and leaving the hyperspace gateways, are what can only be referred to as Darn Cool.
Spike Spiegel is a Martian. (No, not a little green man with six eyes and tentacles, he’s a human that was born on Mars.) He is skilled at martial arts, which many people learn the hard way. He is also handy with a gun, and a good pilot. Spike usually has a laid-back attitude, often sarcastic, and has fluffy hair.
Jet Black is the actual owner of the Bebop. A big guy, he’s the group’s jack-of-all-trades. He can do everything from repairing the ship, to making dinner. Jet is also skilled at hand-to-hand combat, but unlike Spike, who uses more technique, Jet uses raw muscle to get the job done.
Faye Valentine is brash, and very lazy. At times, she relies on the guys to do all the actual work of bounty hunting, while she reaps the benefits. However, she will sometimes go out on her own. And in a fight, she can handle herself fairly well.
Edward is a 13-year-old, hyperactive girl. She is extremely good at hacking computer systems, and is known as “Radical Edward”. She is also very flexible and strong, being able to walk around on her hands while scratching her nose with her foot. She rarely walks anywhere, preferring more fun movements like rolling or flipping. For all these reasons, I like Ed.
Ein is a dog. A very smart dog. He is also very fond of Ed.
One part that I particularly liked a lot, was when the guys got ahold of an old Betamax tape from the early 2000’s. Nobody knew what it was, since in 2071, they all use discs for storage. (Just like we do now.) It made my skin crawl when Spike started pulling the tape out of the cassette. “NO! YOU’LL RUIN IT!” It was a realistic reaction for someone from the late 21st century, though. And so, I laughed at the whole thing.
At first glance at that scene, the fact that the creators used Beta instead of VHS doesn’t make a lot of sense. After all, VHS won the format war in the late 80’s, didn’t it? Since Cowboy Bebop was made in 1998, surely the creators should have known that? If this was an American production, that would be true. But this wasn’t an American production. In Japan, Beta continued to be popular, with tapes still being produced as late as 2002. So it actually makes perfect sense for them to have used a Beta tape. (There’s a little history lesson for you.)
Another notable thing about the series, is the English dub. Normally, I abhor dubs. Rarely do they sound as good as the original Japanese. Cowboy Bebop is the rare exception where the dub is on-par with the originals. Many people even say that it’s better than the original. Now I don’t know about that, but it’s certainly not worse.
Amazon offers this anime in several different versions:
- Blu-ray/DVD Combo
- 26 episodes plus bonus features on 9 discs
- Limited Edition clamshell art box
- 140 page black and white art book featuring early concept sketches and designs that highlight Cowboy Bebop’s origins.
- 48 page vibrant, full-color art book
- 26 episodes on 6 discs
- Staff interviews and commentary
- Bonus episode: Session 0
- Session #1: Audio commentary
- Session #5: Audio commentary
- Session #10: Audio commentary
- Session #17: Audio commentary
- Session #24: Audio commentary
- Interview with Wendee Lee (English voice of Faye Valentine)
- Interview with Cartoon Network Producer Sean Akins
- Tank! Full-Size music clip
- Tank! Club remix music clip – UK version
- Original opening and closing songs
- Textless opening and closing songs
- Original and textless closing song Ep. 13
- Original and textless closing song Ep. 26
- Memo from Bebop: The dub sessions remembered
- Ein’s summer vacation
- Cowboy Bebop Session 0
- U.S. trailer
- 115-minute movie that takes place on Mars at the time of Halloween in the year 2071. (This is the only one that’s rated R; all the others are PG-13.)