• The epic Cowboy Bebop
  • The epic Cowboy Bebop

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  1. #1
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    1st August 2012 02:33 AM

    The epic Cowboy Bebop

    Alright so I just posted this in the dbzf and I know that Mantis wanted me to tell him some of this stuff, So ill just post it here too.

    Alright. This is gonna be the explanation of why I love Cowboy Bebop and its gonna be a novel lol. There will most definitely be spoilers in here. Ill try to break this down in categories to make it easier to read. Sorry for the double post too but I thought something of this magnitude needed its own post.


    The animation for Bebop is incredibly well done. It even holds to a lot of the anime of today. This is even more impressive considering it was released back in 1998. Probably due to the fact that it had a huge budget. There are rarely scenes where the characters are out of propotion with the rest of the shot. It is a very darkly colored show overall and they knew how to use them specifically. For example: Something I noticed is how they use the color red. Red is rarely used compared to a lot of the colors in the show. The Swordfish (Spike's ship), The rose, Ed's hair, the Bebop logo, etc. They use it in a way to bring out specific things in certain scenes. This makes scenes where characters are wounded more poignant or emotional to the viewer when they view the blood because of the rare use of red. Naw mean? A lot more to include here but I dont want this to be a ridiculously long read. Thisll just give you an idea of how much detail and thought they put into things even this simple.

    The dub is considered by many to be the best dub in all of animation. Many think it is even better than the Japanese dub (How many times have you heard that before?) They put a lot of time into the dub over here in the states. The cast is about as close to perfect as it gets. Steve Blum is Spike Spiegel. He was the perfect cast for Spike's character. He has the epic voice that represents Spike's coolness and his tragicness at the same time perfectly. Wendee Lee did a fantastic job as Faye as well. She has the delicate but still badass female voice down pat. Beau Billingslea was also spectacular as Jet. He has the gritty and tough voice but also that warm fatherly voice down to a Tee (He was also the narrator for Outlaw Star. Just a little fun fact there.)

    Yoko Kanno is a pure genius. She made all the music for the show based on just shots that Wantanabe showed her previously. The music in Cowboy Bebop is near perfect IMO. She represents every scene and the style of the show in general flawlessly. The show has so many different genres of music in it. Jazz, Blues, Spaghetti Western esque, Metal, pop, soul, operatic, choir, and even country in the movie. This is even more remarkable considering she wrote all the music herself. I honestly believe that the music in CB is some of the best music in general. The soundtracks are some of the highest selling of anime OSTs of all time. Little fun fact: Yoko Kanno doesnt listen to music outside of when shes working anymore.

    I think the plot for Cowboy Bebop is maybe where some anime fans are turned off. But I absolutely love it. It is refreshing to watch an anime that isnt about saving the world, or things of that nature. Its all about specific characters past, and their own selfish intentions. I love the Space Western genre. It is very interesting to see Wantanabe's take on the future of humanity. You get to witness the colonization of new planets, the wars of the future (Titan), and how humanity reacts to catastrophy. Also cant deny the badassness of the prevelance of Bounty Hunters and all the different types of crime.

    Direction and interesting things:
    Shinchiro Wantanabe is a damn genius. Thats all there is to it. I'll just list some of "hidden" abstractions I have personally noticed.

    1. This 2 shots right here blew my mind when I first noticed from the beginning of the show and session 5:

    Showing the contrast yet similarity in Spike and Vicious. Used sessions a part. Pure genius in my opinion.

    2. In the infamous session Toys in the Attic. I noticed how at the end of the session when the ballet music is playing (Cant remember the name at the moment) The unconsious characters are rotating in a clock like motion. Could this be some kind of symbolism of the limited time the characters have together or some kind of symbolism of how the watcher views the framework of the show? Lets not forget the Cowboy Bebop is all made to appease how the viewer interprets the series.

    3. Another thing I noticed. In the session "Cowboy Funk", Jet and Faye compare Andy and Spike's personalities. Check out this little number I noticed:

    Very interesting observation. Here we see Andy's reflection in Faye's eyes and Spike's Reflection in Julia's eyes. As I mentioned previously, we know how similiar Spike and Andy are. But there is also a striking similarity in Faye and Julia. The creators made them opposite in appearance as a way to throw off their true similarities. I could go on all day about this as well but there is articles all over the internet on it if youre interested on seeing their similarities.

    These are just literally A FRACTION of the parallels and musings in the show that the creators leave for the viewers to find. Now back to direction. Wantanabe has so many references to real life culture throughout the series. All the characters are modeled after real life people such as Kareem Abdul Jabar, Bruce Lee, George Clooney and even Biggie Smalls. Wantanabe also portrays a commentary on out current world. Just one example: In the session "Brain Scratch" we still the use of manipulation of the media and the use of ridiculous infomercials. Another thing I could literally go on all day about.

    Quite possibly the best aspect of Bebop. The way the series is portrayed is perfect in the time-line of how we see characters develop. You get a taste of Spike's past at the beginning show and then they throw in random shots and sessions about it as the series progresses. I could go on all day about this as well. So I'll just throw out some interesting facts I've read about in the past.

    Spike and Vicious's relationship: We see how similiar and opposite they are at the same time throughout the series. We see how they were both in the Syndicate. We see how ruthless they both are and how they both seem very reckless with their own lives. Spiegel in some language (I cant remember exactly, I think German?) means mirror. Could this be a play on Vicious? We see how they both loved Julia and how she chose Spike. This making Vicious bitter and resentful of Spike. Again..could go on all day

    The Ending
    There is a lot more to it then some may think. We see Faye hearing the conversation between Punch and his mother at the airport where she says something about not wanting to cause anyone trouble. Faye then realizes that she doesnt also doesnt want to harm the members, even though she did unintentionally of course, anymore. Throughout the series we see how Spike comes and goes to the Bebop without any remorse to how Jet feels about it right?. But session 25 I noticed something. When Jet gets shot in the bar, they focus a lot more on Jet's pain and his injury then the previous injuries to characters in the show. Then we see the change in Spike. His going to his death means more than just vengeance for Julia. He realizes the that by staying with the Bebop, all he is going to do is cost Jet and Faye their lives. He leaves to go to his uninvetable death to protect them. This is a serious change from the carefree Spike we knew. Spike is also going to face his past. Again there is ALOT more to this.

    Different ending theories:
    Another interesting side to Bebop is all the theories to the actual fate of Spike and the members of the Bebop. There is some theories that all the members actually died in "Toys in the Attic" and the rest is Spike's dream. Some theories say Spike actually died in Session 5 and the rest is a dream. Both these theories end with Julia's last words to Spike "Its all..just a dream". Then Spike's last words to Julia "Im going to find out if Im actually alive" when he goes to fight Vicious. I dont believe these theories but they are definitely interesting to think about. Again, Cowboy Bebop was made to be whatever the viewer wishes it to be. All apart of its genius.

    Wrap Up
    I would like to say that I wrote this whole thing based on my own knowledge of the show lol. I will say it again. These are just a FRACTION of the things that make Cowboy Bebop what it is. I didnt really go into the plot or things of that nature too much because I just wanted to let you guys know a few of the interesting things I have noticed. If you want to find out even more parallels and musings to the series do some research. You will find some very interesting things you may not have noticed. I think that Cowboy Bebop is so highly regarded because of all the abstractions, and lessons(which I also didnt even touch). I didnt cover the whole dream thing, Spike's eye, or anything else crutial to understanding it.

    This "essay" was just something to throw out somethings you may not have noticed in the series. Someone could literally write a book on it. But like I said just a piece of the puzzle that makes Cowboy Bebop not only the greatest anime of all time, but the greatest show of all time. Let me know if you wanna know more because I can find some great links.

    This series actually changed my life. It made me appreciate life more and it taught me some very well learned lessons. It is an epic master piece. I hope you read it all and enjoyed it.


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  2. #2
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    Today 06:33 PM
    Manchester, UK

    RE: The epic Cowboy Bebop

    Damn man, this is very well-written stuff. Good job. I totally agree with the animation. Despite loving the animation of many series from the '90s, it's easy to see a lot of Cowboy Bebop's budget went into it, and yes, I did notice the use of red and some other repeated colours. I think generally the primary colours are emphasised, but red more so. (Though I don't want to bring Outlaw Star into this, you could say the same about primary colours for that too!)

    A lot of people will recognise the narrator of Outlaw Star being Jet (okay, I'll bring Outlaw Star into this a little) but I'm surprised you haven't mentioned Suzuka and Faye both having the same VA, Wendee Lee. (Who, incidentally, managed the English dub. Not sure about Bebop.) I have sometimes thought English dubs were great, but I will certainly agree that Cowboy Bebop is amongst the best of the best. I'm not sure if you know about this, but even the Japanese creators (not sure who, if it was more than one) thought the English dub was the best.

    I don't think Cowboy Bebop's music (as a whole, with some tracks really standing out) is for everyone, as predominately it is jazz. (Though I agree it covers quite a few genres.) I do think there are some tracks for everybody, and I did enjoy the OST and sometimes listen to it. A lot of it is certainly very memorable. I can agree with the plot turning some watchers off. For me, it seemed a bit mishmashy (new word) at times, with too many fillers that arguably (certainly to first-time viewers) bear little or no relevance to the main plot. However, despite a lack of integrity, unlike a lot of anime those fillers are damn good. Cowboy Bebop is a series that in my opinion deserved some extra episodes. I just don't think enough justice was done to the main storyline.

    I would say a lot of Cowboy Bebop (as with many series or films) observations are highly speculative, but the ones you've raised are interesting. Toys in the Attic was one of my favourite episodes for sure. Hmm. About your character observation, I can't quite put my finger on it, but I'm sure there was something else German in Bebop. I might be wrong. It makes me think of the Ehefrau in Outlaw Star, even if it doesn't really hold as much of a possible meaning as Spiegel. I'll just go right ahead and admit I'm cynical about the ending theories, since they are purely speculative. But hey, isn't that what makes things with a mystery element so great? By the way, though I think this is very well-written overall, "all apart of its genius" has the exact opposite meaning of what you intended.

    Great analysis of a great anime, and an enjoyable read.

  3. #3
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    1st August 2012 02:33 AM

    RE: The epic Cowboy Bebop

    Thanks for the reply Mantis. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I realized that I forgot about Wendee Lee right after I posted it lol. And yeah I meant " a part" haha..my bad. Like I said in the post, there was a lot more stuff than what I mentioned. If youre interested in some very interesting articles and sites on it, I can show you some links that Ive found in the past. Theyre pretty insightful. Well thanks again for the reply Mantis

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  4. #4
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    5th June 2015 01:14 AM

    RE: The epic Cowboy Bebop

    By sheer coincidence yesterday, I found myself on Toonami Aftermath just as 'The Beautiful Assassin' was finishing. Next, the first episode (which I now know to be called 'sessions') of Cowboy Bebop was beginning. From all this news and comparison to Outlaw Star (which I can vaguely see - with it being a space-western), I thought I'd finally get around to watching it.

    Now that I've seen the first episode, I'm going to have to see the rest.
    "A boy has the right to dream. There are endless possibilities streched out before him. What awaits him down the path, he will then have to choose."
    - Narrator; World Of Desires.

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