Anime 
TL;DR
Cowboy Bebop Season 1 (1998)
カウボーイビバップ (Kaubōi Bibappu)

Synopsis

The year is 2071 AD. With the systematic collapse of the old nation-states, a mixed jumble of races and peoples were driven out of their terrestrial Eden and spread to the stars, taking with them the now confused concepts of justice, freedom, violence, and love. New rules were established, and a new generation of bounty hunters came into being. People referred to these bounty hunters as “cowboys”.

Meet Spike Spiegel and Jet Black, a drifter and a retired cyborg cop who have started a bounty hunting partnership. In the converted ship The Bebop, Spike and Jet search the galaxy for criminals with bounties on their heads. They meet a lot of interesting characters, including the unusually intelligent dog Ein, the bizarre hacker child prodigy Ed, and the voluptuous and vexing femme fatale, Faye Valentine.
Directed by
Written by
Screenplay by
Music by

Rating

  • The overall rating of the show.

Poor < Fair < Good < Great

Animation

  • Animation quality and consistency for that time. 

Poor < Fair < Good < Great

Story

  • How well the story flows and keeps you engaged.

Poor < Fair < Good < Great

Pros

Character design
Character development
Combat/Action
Dialogs
Music
Plot
Visual
World building

Cons

PROs CONS

Overview

The twenty-six episodes (“sessions”) of the series are set in the year 2071 and follow the lives of a bounty hunter crew traveling on their spaceship called the Bebop. Although it covers a wide range of genres throughout its run, Cowboy Bebop draws most heavily from science fiction, westerns and noir films and its most recurring thematic focal points include adult existential ennui, loneliness and the difficulties of trying to escape one’s past.

The series premiered in Japan on TV Tokyo from April 3 until June 26, 1998, broadcasting only twelve episodes and a special due to its controversial adult-themed content. The entire twenty-six episodes of the series were later broadcast on WOWOW from October 24 until April 24, 1999.

Cowboy Bebop became a critical and commercial success both in Japanese and international markets (most notably in the United States), garnered several major anime and science fiction awards upon its release, and received wide acclaim for its style, characters, story, voice acting, animation, and soundtrack. In the years since its release, critics have hailed Cowboy Bebop as a masterpiece and frequently cite it as one of the greatest anime titles of all time. Credited with helping to introduce anime to a new wave of Western viewers in the early 2000s, Cowboy Bebop has also been labeled a gateway series for the medium as a whole.

Alternative titles

– Cowboy Bebop
– カウボーイビバップ
– Марсиански каубой
– Csillagközi fejvadászok
– Kovboj Bebop
– 星际牛仔
– 星際牛仔
– 카우보이 비밥
– Kaubojus Bebopas
– Kaubojus Bibopas
– Kovboy Bebop
– Ковбой Бибоп ТВ
– Ковбой Бібоп ТБ
– راعي البقر بيبوب, کابوی بیباپ
– Bebop
– CowBe

TL;DR Review

Cowboy Bebop (カウボーイビバップ Kaubōi Bibappu) is a Japanese animated science-fiction television series animated by Sunrise featuring a production team led by director Shinichirō Watanabe.

The early part of the season were introductory episodes that could almost stand on their own. The show covers many genres including one episode paying homage to Alien with its horror science fiction vibe, but with a slight touch of comedy. Some episodes even tackle other philosophical debates like can you have a soul without a body?

As the series progress, we gradually see some back story to each of our ensemble casts. Each has a tragic history that makes you feel closer to them. There isn’t an overall story-arc for Cowboy Bebop, but repeating individual story arc that may pop in and out throughout the season. The crew of the Bebop has a recurring motif of constantly having no food and being broke.

The gorgeous animation and art styles are dark with a somber color palette. The quirky and seldom goofy comedy help to lighten up the mood. The music is also excellent with the jazzy opening and the soothing melancholy ending theme. The aerial dog fights are also impressive, not quite to the level of Macross Plus, but it is still remarkable.

The show was deeper than your normal anime and treat its audiences with respect and assume we aren’t idiots. It is one of those rare shows that defines what anime can be and converted many viewers to the medium.

I highly recommend the series to everyone. Cowboy Bebop contains graphic violence and some suggestive themes/dialogs. Intended for mature audiences.

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Music

Opening Theme

– “Tank!” by Tim Jensen (eps 1-25)

Closing Theme

– “The Real Folk Blues” by Yamane Mai (eps 1-12, 14-25)
– “Space Lion” by Kanno Youko (ep 13)
– “Blue” by Yamane Mai featuring Ootsuka Souichirou, Gabriela Robin (ep 26)

Insert/Image Theme

– “Want It All Back” by Yamane Mai (ep 2)
– “Green Bird” by Gabriela Robin (ep 5)
– “Rain” (Demo Version) by Yamane Mai (ep 5)
– “Live in Baghdad” by Endou Masaaki (ep 7)
– “Cats on Mars” by Gabriela Robin (ep 9)
– “The Singing Sea” by Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch (ep 10)
– “Words That We Couldn`t Say” by Steve Conte (ep 13)
– “Flying Teapot” by Emily Bindiger (ep 15)
– “Call Me Call Me” by Steve Conte (ep 24)
– “Papa Plastic” (ep 24)
– “Wo Qui Non Coin” (Shonbori Short Ver.) by Tada Aoi (ep 24)
– “Adieu” by Emily Bindiger (ep 25)
– “See You Space Cowboys” (Not Final Mix Mountain Root) by Yamane Mai (ep 26)
– “Sora o Torimodoshita Hi” by Shakkazombie
– “Rain” by Steve Conte
– “Wo Qui Non Coin” by Tada Aoi

Credits

Photo

All images are copyright to their respective owners.

Photo by Nicolas LB, Jon Flobrant, and Yvette de Wit on Unsplash.

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