For the uninformed, Cowboy Bebop is an anime directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, about a crew of bounty hunters travelling throughout the galaxy, and running into trouble. Things never go well for the crew of the Bebop (their ship), as they typically encounter waaaaay more then they planned. The show is stylistically based around western movies, along with jazz music, and if you haven't seen Cowboy Bebop, make a new tab, watch the show, then comment your thanks to me on this blog.
And now, opinions!
One of the reasons I think the show has such long-time success, is that its episodic in nature, and so it feels like a bunch of different shows, with only Spike and friends being there every time (or even more than once usually). Eco terrorists, casino hustles, insane killers on the loose, or even virtual reality religious killers, every episode feels fleshed out, stylistically different and yet the same. For instance, the episode where Jet is recovering a religious artefact with a girl from his past is oddly resemblant of an Indiana Jones movie, whereas the episode where Spike is tracking down a VR killer reminds me of Ghost in the Shell; two completely different series, styles, and yet the same vibe and that classic Cowboy Bebop style.
Cigarettes are pretty stylish.
Bebop reminds me of a crime epic, mixed with a noir film, mixed with a science fiction epic, mixed with anime, and all of this adds up to a winning formula. There's a scene locked in my memory, where Spike is on Neptune (I think), and apparently Neptune is the physical embodiment of the blues; because rain is pouring down, and run down bars line the streets, and here's Spike listening to a man play a beautiful tune on the sax. Little did I know that the saxman is the fugitive he's after, cue climaxes, lulls, and a downfall, as if the episode is a music video to a jazz song. Incredibly, that's how most of the episodes feel, almost like listening to music, the plot just flows so well. The episodic nature makes no two episodes alike.
It was snowing, and Faye was in the bar, at least I was close....
The final piece of my memory puzzle, lies in Bebop's soundtrack, which, as hinted by the show's title, is a jazz epic. It is nearly always in sync with the show, which is absolutely incredible. Yoko Kanno deserves endless amounts of credit for her compositions for this show, as there's the perfect song for every moment. Whether it's a lonely saxophone playing in a seedy bar, or a western whistling tracks accompanying chaos from a wannabe cowboy, the soundtrack is 95% hits, 5% misses. When the action is in sync, it gets incredible, just mind blowing.
I don't know why I thought of this.
Now for the real answer, Cowboy Bebop keeps me coming back because of a little bit of all these things; there are episodes of Bebop I'm frantic to watch at times, because I love the plot so much, and these stand-outs blur my memories of other episodes, making those fun to watch too! Also the soundtrack paces the show perfectly, making so many memorable moments that I just want to see again, and the show's stylistic decisions suited a younger, more western oriented me perfectly. Perhaps that's the real reason why I adore Bebop, as the show really got an older me hooked on serious anime. Before I saw Bebop, I read what I've seen in Jump, and watched what I've seen on Adult Swim and Toonami, and that was it. Until I saw Cowboy Bebop, and then I wanted to know what others thought, then I saw recommendations, and now I'm a glorified otaku. Thanks Spike.
And I haven't looked back since.
Drop me a comment! What do you think about Cowboy Bebop, jazz, or maybe I just suck! Tell me how to suck less!
And until next time.....
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