- Episodes :26
- Genre :Action, Adventure, Space
- Airing Date : Apr. 1998 – Apr. 1999
- Producers :Sunrise
Spike Spiegel Preview (No Spoilers)
The year is 2071 and several planets and moons throughout the solar system have been colonized. Despite certain locations thriving in the new era, a good portion of space consists of abandoned frontiers and squalor. To help keep the peace, the Inter Solar System Police relies on the assistance of vigilante bounty hunters, known as ‘Cowboys.’
The story line follows one such group of ‘Cowboys,’ and their constant misadventures. Jumping between gun-toting action and obnoxious frogs, the crew of the Bebop keeps events interesting as we discover little by little each member’s past. There’s the mellow but stubborn Spike, the steady and capable Jet, the tricky and eloquent Faye, the eccentric and intelligent Ed, as well as the genetically engineered Welsh Corgie Ein. This highly volatile collection of people leads to an incredible array of journeys across space.
Spike Spiegel Bio
Spike Spiegel is a tall and lean bounty hunter with a normally carefree and mellow attitude. He is one of the original members of the Bebop, along with Jet, and really only dislikes three things: “kids, animals, and women with attitudes.” Much to his chagrin, the next three members that are picked up by the Bebop happen to cover that entire range. This ends up creating a playful, if not outright antagonistic, mix match of relationships and back-and-forth dialogues.
An iconic character in the anime world, Spike Spiegel’s entire character design is one of the most unique. With his disheveled tangle of dark green hair, reddish brown eye tint (one slightly lighter than the other), blue leisure suit with a yellow suit and tie, and cigarette in mouth; Spike eclectic features come together in quite the handsome portrait.
Though he generally comes off as nonchalant, his life is anything but a picnic. On the run from a crime syndicate and his past relationships, Spike’s only possible course of action was to become a ‘Cowboy’ outlier. So now he quite frequently has to deal with an intensive carbohydrate only diet. Guess, it’s good that “hunger is the best spice.”
Spike Spiegel Highlights
1. Smooth ‘Cowboy’
He’s a trained fighter and can keep his cool in almost any situation. Whether he’s fighting some drugged up thug or the head of an organized crime syndicate, he moves with a grace and strength that few can match in anime. Outside of being an elite pilot with the Swordfish and an expert marksman with his Jericho 941, Spike is clearly skilled in a mix of martial arts. However, his preferred methods seem to be taekwondo and judo. In his first fight, he essentially keeps his hands in his pockets as he dances around Asimov, who’s speed and strength have been increased due to the drug, Bloody-Eye, he’s taken.
In episode eight, “Waltz for Venus,” his expertise in judo is heavily depicted. During this episode, Spike mentors a young man, Rocco Bonnaro, who’s trying to care for his little sister as gang members are out for his blood. While giving the man lessons, we get a nice little insight into why Spike is always so calm and fluid: “Water can take any form. It drifts without effort on moment, then pounds down in a torrent the next.” This also explains why he never seems to use more force or energy than is necessary to take someone down.
This is very much tied to his judo training. With the mixture of these two martial arts as well as a few others that are on display in the movie, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” his style seems to be more of a mixture of styles similar to Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do.
2. Man of Few Words
Whether or not you believe in the idea of bottling up emotions, the way Spike is able to keep to himself for most of the series is quite the impressive quality. He simply doesn’t want to divulge into the past and discuss such aspects of his life, because he wants to focus on the future. That’s the whole reason why he’s a ‘Cowboy’ in the first place, and why his story is so enthralling. It’s all about knowing when to give the right details, and that’s something Spike is an expert at with his concise narrative and defining one-liners. As he tells Faye when overhearing her story: “too long, your story needs editing.”
Even when life seems to be throwing him a curveball demanding that he either breaks his stoic façade, he generally can maneuver his way around it. Considering some of the heartbreaking situations that he finds himself in, this is quite an astounding feat. However, when he does feel threatened by someone’s interrogation he generally becomes quite sarcastic or emotionally detached. In fact, when he feels threatened by someone’s interrogation he generally becomes quite sarcastic or emotionally detached.
It’s hard not to respect his quiet demeanor and go with the flow attitude. He doesn’t need to be a dramatic show stealer, like Light Yagami or so many other top characters. No, he’s not one to invoke the muse and beg for attention. He on the other hand would much rather fade into obscurity. “Whatever happens, happens,” as he would say.
3. Dark Past
Spike Spiegel’s past is by no means a simple one. He was part of a crime syndicate and had taken his fair share of lives. By the time he decided to call it quits, his lover scorns him and one of his closest friends (respected colleague/rival might be a more appropriate term) puts a hit out on him.
The implication of their congruent betrayal leaves Spike on the run without any human connection. Let’s not forget that an accident has left him with one artificial eye that tortures his existence with past memories. Essentially, he’s alone with only his past to keep him company.
It’s not a pleasant existence, which has left him bitter in several ways. It definitely plays a part as to why he actually prefers keeping people distant, and why he’d prefer to keep the Bebop crew to just Jet and himself. No reason to get involved with the stories and complications of other people.
4. Hidden Heart
Spike might not seem to care about much, but he does have an appreciation for those who push themselves and disregard the society’s standards. He enjoys meeting the outliers of society as they are the few who can provide him with any type of solace. Whether it’s because they share in some of his suffering or he finds their experiences enlightening/invigorating, they bring out the best in him.
Two great examples are in the episodes “Jupiter Jazz (Part 2)” and “Heavy Metal Queen”. In the second part of “Jupiter Jazz,” Gren has been waiting to get his revenge on Vicious and finally come to terms with is personal predicament. It’s a desire that is never fulfilled, but Spike has the kindness to send the dying man off to Titan per his last request. In “Heavy Metal Queen”, Spike finds himself working alongside the trucker VT. Her predicament gets his blood going and taking on a mission that most would find impossible. By the end, he doesn’t even take his due from her, telling her to use the money to buy her deceased husband a drink in heaven.
Outside of such endearing moments, Spike is pretty tender in the love department as well. Being scorned by Julia left him with a rather massive scar. Not only does his love for her act as a major catalyst for taking on Vicious, but also for leaving Faye. It’s a painful scene to watch as he forgoes his future to finish sewing up his old wound.
5. Doesn’t look at Explosions
We all know cool guys don’t look at explosions. That’s a fact. Well, Spike kicks a grenade and moves right past the explosion without even giving it a second thought. In fact, he basically sets the entirety of the Red Dragon Crime Syndicate’s building ablaze with explosives, and he never takes the time to watch his own handiwork. That’s some dedication to keeping cool while putting on a show.
However, such scenes aren’t just about putting on a cool demeanor that no one can touch, but also demonstrates his resolve. Spike Spiegel is a man who can’t leave business unfinished. He will do just about anything within his power to tie up the loose ends and find peace. It’s this type of focus and unflinching courage that has him push past Faye, declaring, “I’m not going there to die. I’m going to find out if I’m really alive,” before boarding the Swordfish.
It’s one of the few moments of pure emotion that we get from Spike. Thankfully, he takes the time to blow our minds and hearts away with one final “BANG” before the ending credits roll. It’s pretty obvious Spike was a soldier to the end, accepting his fate once he gave everything he could.
Spike Spiegel is the epitome of a man. He’s strong, capable, endearing, wise, and a little bit of a smartass. All of these traits come together in a way that’s impossible not to adore. In the end, his story is one that everyone who watches Cowboy Bebop will have to carry.