- Episodes : 26 + 1 Movie (Cowboy Bebop: Heaven’s Door)
- Genre : Space Western, Action, Adventure, Drama, Comedy
- Airing Date : April 1988 – April 1999
- Producers : Sunrise
Cowboy Bebop Preview / Plot (No Spoilers)
Welcome to the year 2071. The Earth is no longer inhabitable due to a space gate accident 60 years ago that destroyed it. Humanity has now spread across the solar system inhabiting many of the planets and moons. Unfortunately as the reaches of humanity have expanded, so has the grip of crime. To that effect, the Inter Solar System Police (ISSP) has been established to round up these criminals. They have established a system where bounty hunters, referred to as cowboys, chase criminals across the solar system for big, fat rewards.
Spike Spiegel and his partner Jet Black live on a ship, aptly named the Bebop, and hunt down criminals. Eventually, Faye Valentine, a foxy con artist, Ein, a welsh corgi with superhuman intelligence, and Ed Wong, a superhacker with a strange personality join up. Each character has a past and a future. Some are some are dangerous. Some are sad. All are interesting. Join them as they try to capture bounties and get rich travelling across the Solar system.
Who does Cowboy Bebop cater to?
If this is your first time seeing this show, or you haven’t ever brought yourself to watch it. Stop anything you’re watching now and watch Cowboy Bebop. Guns. Space. War. Gangs. Western. Comedy. Romance. A classic. It’s an enjoyable adrenaline rush from start to finish! Cowboy Bebop was been listed many times as one of the top, if not the top, anime of all time. A great look at what our lives could possibly become in 100 years, Cowboy Bebop gives us a semi-realistic look into the future. The story is great because it hits the ground running with little to no introductions.
The character’s backstories are then introduced bit by bit almost like a puzzle. With only a few main characters, one isn’t confused as to whom is whom and it keeps the plot moving along nicely. It’s sure to become one of your favorites as well, so this is an anime to watch and enjoy for years to come.
What's so appealing about this piece of work.
Cowboy bebop was one of my first anime. A total classic, this show is incredibly easy to get into. Some common, yet hilarious, themes are the lack of money (and sometimes even fuel!), hunger, Jet’s special “beef ‘n peppers,” Faye’s obsession with herself, the chases., and of course, lots and lots of flashbacks. Classic cops and robbers chases are always fun, but why not in space? Or in the air above a sprawling metropolis? Recklessly firing guns too? What a great twist!
Not only are we talking about everyone’s favorite theme of good guys versus bad guys, we now have spaceships that shoot lasers, or double machine guns on space ships that fire incredibly fast, or barely squeezing through narrow spaces to catch the bad guy! Don’t forget too, there’s planet hopping! Today is Mars, but tomorrow is Jupiter! That’s awesome!!
I still don’t have you yet? Well for you plot driven viewers, what about things like, Faye’s unclear backstory? Where did Ein exactly come from? Is Ed a boy or a girl? Where is Ed’s family? Who is this mysterious woman Julia? Why does someone named Vicious make Spike’s blood boil? Why is Jet suck a sucker for women? What’s with all the random flashbacks? Ha! Got ya! There’s lots of questions that need answering, and it’s up to you the viewer to figure it out.
Now, I cannot write an article about this show without mentioning the soundtrack. This show’s brilliant soundtrack written by the genius composer Yoko Kanno and is hailed as one of the best soundtracks as well. I should also point out, that this is one of the few and far inbetween anime where I really like the dub. I know it sounds crazy, but this show is hailed in Japanese and English for its voice acting! It’s an all-around triple threat. It has a great plot, a great soundtrack, and great voice acting in either language! No need to take my word for it though, just go watch it!
Check out a trailer with the OP, “Tank” written by Yoko Kanno playing in the background.
Cowboy Bebop Main Characters List
Voice Actor :Yamadera, Kouichi
Spike Spiegel is one of the main protagonists. 27 years old, he always wears a blue suit and a yellow shirt underneath it. He has blackish green hair and reddish brown eyes. He excels at martial arts and hand to hand combat. The producers credit their inspiration for Spike from Bruce Lee. He’s incredibly adept as firearms as well and flies a pink ship called the Swordfish II. Spike always chases down his targets and is very stubborn. Spike loves to smoke and will often be smoking in places where smoking is clearly prohibited.
He makes humorous comments throughout the series. Usually they are aimed at the other characters who he opposes joining in on his and Jet’s operations within the Bebop. Spike is seldom serious, but when he is, you feel very sympathetic towards him because he seems to have lead a hard life. His short temper cannot go unmentioned because it’s what usually leads to very comical encounters.
Voice Actor :Ishizuka, Unshou
Jet Black, also known as the Black Dog, is Spike’s partner aboard the Bebop. Jet’s a 36 year old ex-cop from Ganymede. He’s tall and muscular with a robotic arm. He sports a beard and is bald. Jet enjoys bonsai trees, cooking, blues/jazz music, and driving Spike nuts sometimes. Jet commands the Hammerhead and is also fairly good with handguns like Spike. Jet was also the one who took the Bebop and converted it from a fishing ship into a livable ship that could travel space.
Jet also has a somewhat checkered past with women and clearly has been hurt as he can be a grumpy old man. He’s the main chef of the Bebop and when Spike tries to cook… well let’s just say that Jet’s old “Beef ‘n Peppers” look significantly more appetizing. Jet also seems to be quite the shitake chef.
Voice Actor :Hayashibara, Megumi
Ahh. Good old Faye. She throws herself at us as a criminal with a large debt paying it off by being forced to work in a casino with shady connections. Through some mishaps, she ends up on the Bebop working with the boys. She has this thing about leaving and sometimes with everyone’s money. She is about 23 years old and serves often as a comical foil to the boys. Faye will dole out what she considers to be advice, but it’s really just a hilarious mask for her being lazy and everyone knows that she doesn’t take herself that seriously.
She is self-centered, obsessed with gambling, pampering herself, and very lazy. However, even though she may say that she expects the boys to do all the work, she can hold her own if she needs to. She even goes toe to toe with Spike in one instance. Albeit she loses, but not by much! She commands the Red Tail as her ship, and she is quick with her hands and her tongue. One would be a fool not to take her seriously. Her best trait is that she looks innocent and will lure guys in, only to have them staring down the nose of a gun seconds later.
Edward (Ed) Wong
Voice Actor :Tada, Aoi
Normally there are only three characters introduced, but Cowboy Bebop has 4 main characters. Ed is the final addition to the Bebop quartet. He/She is a 13 year old individual that is very confusing and yet unique to the characters of the Bebop. Ed is a superhacker that runs around everywhere barefoot, and he/she joins up with the members of the Bebop go back to Earth looking for a bounty.
Ed can hack into anything using a tomato computer, and looks quite funny while doing it. He/she is quite quirky and enjoys mimicking others. Ed is also a fan of naps and can be seen dozing regularly. Ed has a father-like relationship with Jet and a sister-like relationship with a very reluctant Faye. Ed also is the only one who can understand what Ein is thinking.
Cowboy Bebop Review
Okay. Let’s talk shop! Cowboy Bebop is an amazing series from start to finish. Just like with the article I wrote recently about Ergo Proxy here, I’ve seen Cowboy Bebop many times and I enjoy watching it whenever I can!
There are a couple central plotlines that I’ll get into as well as some of the recurring themes. I actually find this show quite hilarious and I’m sure you did too!
The good old bounties… that they can almost never manage to succeed with. It’s quite hilarious how even when they are on the hunt and close to catching the perp, they still manage to screw things up, lose their chances of getting money, or they just come up no dice. Heck, that’s how they got Ein essentially. As for losing out on the bounty, what about when they meet Ed on Earth and it’s a satellite that’s doing the damage, or the time that they go up against chess master Hex?
20 perps are up for grabs for rolling gates of money. They get 19 suspects, but the old man is the one behind everything and they can’t bring him in. Poor guys can’t get a break! They can also get sidetracked as with the experience with V.T., and Rocco on Venus who is just trying to get his sister’s eyesight returned. Which is great because it shows that they are not purely driven by a want of money.
Food. If there is anything that this series is focused on, it’s food. All they want is food!... and very rarely do they get it. In episode 1, Jet makes his famous “beef and peppers”… with no beef. The episode with the crazy lady with the drug, “monkey business,” is also about people who are obsessed with protecting an animal from not being eaten. They hilariously get trapped in space with no fuel or food in another episode and crash land on Io. Ed is so hungry that she goes looking for food.
She finds watermelons, but can’t afford them… Only to find hallucinogenic mushrooms that she feeds the crew one by one! Eventually, though they get ahold of safe to eat mushrooms… that the poor crew has to eat for weeks! Shitake stir fry, Shitake stew, shitake salad, and shitake on ice are their dishes… Ew. That just sounds gross! All Faye and Spike do is complain, but Jet rebukes them and tells them to be happy because for once, there is food on the ship.
One would think that with Jet being an ex-cop and Spike being an ex-crime syndicate member, that there would be more tension and yet, there isn’t. Jet has been hurt because he was set up by his ex-partner and burned by the woman he loved because she left him with just “farewell” written on a note. Spike had to fake his death to leave to be with Julia and … oh boy let’s talk about that. Julia comes to us in flashbacks and Spike acting rash and running off to find her.
They do eventually become reunited at the end of the series, but Julia is tragically shot to death. Spike goes after Vicious and finally does kill him. Third time’s the charm? He confronts Vicious in the beginning, but nothing seems to happen other than him being blown up. The second time, Spike is shot. The final time however, does see resolution as Vicious is shot and killed. Spike makes his way down but seems to be in a bit of a pickle as he too seems to be fatally wounded. He raises up his finger and says “bang” aaaaaaaaaaaaaand curtain.
Is he alive or dead? I’m not sure myself but I did do some digging and it seems that the director set up the ending as such in order to let the viewer decide. I can’t stand open endings so I’m going to say, that given his record, Spike somehow survives. What do you think?
This show oddly for being so heavy on the action, shooting, and chase scenes, is also pretty heavy in comedy. Ed exists just to be a bit humorous, but Faye is where the comedic talent of the four really is. I always snicker at her self-righteous comments about how she should be treated better or women have special needs only to be lazier than the others. When there is that weird thing attacking the members of the crew, see squishy black blob, Faye dresses up like a mummy and actually lays down like one! Too young to go~ or something like that.
The mushrooms, mentioned before, are funny too. Poor Ein eats a hallucinogenic one and hops around town on a trip. Then Ed feeds them to the shipmates, who are now out of commission for the rest of the episode! I also find it quite funny that the crew can’t seem to round up the bad guys when they are really trying hard as evidenced with the guys robbing the ships at the gates. And of course, the humor with the “teddy bomber.” I mean really, who puts bombs in teddy bears?? Cowboy Andy is also hilarious and annoying at the same time. The fact that he’s so into himself that he infuriates his perp, and Spike for good measure, is also hysterical.
One more thing I do want to highlight are the chase scenes. Barely squeezing through places is pretty cool. The space chases are the best overall though. Wave after wave of shots are fired and Faye or Spike narrowly miss them by the skin of their teeth! You almost find yourself cheering them on to go faster and faster!
Overall this series is a fantastic adrenaline rush from start to finish with a great action plot and full backstories for the most part. It’s been credited as one of the most successful anime of all time on more than one account and has millions of fans around the globe. Don’t forget to check out the movie which is supposed to fall between sessions 23 and 24! It’s a great watch as well!
The last point I will make is this: this is an anime that is good for anyone. Even people who don’t care for much anime or Japan can enjoy this. It’s not overtly too strong in one genre, but branches out into others. Why not introduce it to others? You can probably make them an anime fan with this show.
1. The Bebop
This is the home for the ships and for all the characters. Everyone becomes attached to it throughout the series and it’s what unites everyone. Floating timelessly through space or floating on water, it’s an amazing staple within the series. Even half of the title alludes to its name!
2. The Setting
How cool is it to have one of the genre defining animes of all time be set in space! It could be a normal western, but this has an intergalactic setting! The characters move between places such as Mars, Venus, and Earth, and there’s even time spent near Jupiter and Saturn! Yes! How cool is that?!? Don’t forget the space stations and the space gates either!!! You can see places that we all know that are currently inhabitable, but in the future? Who knows what could happen!!
3. The Crew
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, no matter how you look at the bebop crew, they are as unique as they come! Spike’s impulsive, Jet’s stubborn, Faye’s hilariously vain, and Ed’s just plain weird. An odd family for sure, but a great, functioning one. Each supports the other, even if it may not seem like it.
As I stated toward the beginning of this article, it gives me great job an honor to be able to present this masterpiece of a show to you, the readers. This is a show that if I could rate, would get an easy 10 out of 10 for three reasons. First, the characters are all three-dimensional and very well thought out. Second the soundtrack! It’s Yoko Kanno! What’s not to love about the genius composer? Third would be the plot. Never too slow, this show keeps it moving.
There are a few slow spots, but nothing that makes you debate about ever dropping the show. They exist for plot explanations As a bonus consolation for the series, I love the art style and aesthetic as well. Don’t take my word for it though, watch the series, potentially again, in order to enjoy it (potentially once more)!
Let’s chat about it now in the comments. Is Spike alive? Who is your favorite character? How do you feel about this show? Who is your favorite villain? How would you rate it? Fire off below!