While anime may be one of my favorite pastimes, I have yet to properly the explore the medium’s history to any significant degree. Sure, I’ve seen Akira, but that’s about as far as my jump back through time goes. Honestly, it kind of makes me feel like I am missing out on a lot, so I have been trying to rectify that little by little, and this marks one of my biggest steps so far: Cowboy Bebop.
Bebop that exists in a lot of people’s mind as the pinnacle of anime, and I can now definitely see why. The first episode was a well-paced thrill ride that got me invested right from the beginning with a scene from Spikes past that will likely be addressed later.
After listening to/seeing one of the best anime openings of all time, and yes you can quote me on that, we are introduced to life on the Bebop with Spike and Jet. You can tell immediately based on the roughed up look of the ship and by the fact that Jet cooks Bell Peppers and Beef with no beef that they are flatly broke. The two work as bounty hunters, finding targets and collecting the money afterward.
The first episode has them going after Asimov Solensan, a man who works selling a dangerous drug called bloody-eye which heightens a person’s senses. The drug is exceptionally hard to make and is worth millions of dollars. While searching for the man, Spike runs into his girlfriend Katerina, and she explains that she wants to get to Mars in order to find a good life. Spike explains that he was born on Mars, and also tells her that its only good if you’re rich. The conversation establishes that she isn’t really the bad guy in all of this and that Asimov is actually kind of insane, as evidenced by the fact that he tries to choke out Spike.
The three of them meet again when Spike reveals that he stole a vile of bloody eye when they last met. Asimov and Spike for a bit before the police show up, to which Asimov responds by running away with Katerina. Spike chases the two in his ship, following them to exit of the planet. Katerina realizes that Asimov has become insane and that she likely isn’t ever going to get to Mars, so she proceeds to Asimov in the head. a barrage of bullets gets fired at their ship from a blockade in front of them, destroying the ship and leaving Katerina to fall to her death.
As far as a first episode goes, I was impressed. The shows animation holds up very well, even compared to shows that are coming out now in the age of digital animation. This even more impressive when you realize that Cowboy Bebop was one of the last anime to use Cell animation, as in totally hand-drawn frames.
The music is another one of the show’s high points, and boy did it deliver. Yoko Kanno not only manages to bring a diversity to the sound and tone of her composition but also manages to make each of her songs sound incredibly good on their own. Tank, the show’s opening theme, is a prime example of this. Its fast pace jazz sound gives the feeling that the show you are about to watch is anything but calm. This has truly been an amazing beginning to a journey back in time, and I can’t wait to finish the rest of it.
What do you guys think of Cowboy Bebop? Love it? Hate it? Overrated? Underappreciated? Let me know in the comments. By for now, Friendos!