Genre(s): Sci-fi, Action, Comedy, Drama
Age-Appropriateness: 16+ (Violence, profanity, everybody smokes)
Platforms: Hulu, Funimation
TheAwersome Rating: 8.9 / 10 (You really should watch this)
Premise: In the year 2071 humanity has colonized several of the planets and moons of the solar system, leaving the uninhabitable Earth behind. The Inter Solar System Police try their best to maintain order throughout the system, aided heavily by bounty hunters, sometimes referred to as “Cowboys.” Join the mellow and carefree Spike and his level-headed partner Jet as the pair track down bounties aboard their ship, the Bebop.
TheAwersome’s Thoughts: Cowboy Bebop is likely a name you’ve heard, and for good reason. There’s a satisfying amount of everything in Bebop: Great animation, character design, writing, action, voice acting, pacing, excellent music, atmosphere, etc. It’s hard not to get taken in by the charm of the characters who are a group of flawed individuals doing their darnedest to make it in the vast emptiness of space. The series is very episodic, with most episodes being entirely self-contained, which was a very good formula back in the day when, if you didn’t tape episodes on your VHS, you’d be done for if you missed one. There’s a bit of every genre in the different episodes; you’ll have one that’s very Noir, another one will be horror, with another one being pure light-hearted comedy, then another hits you with serious emotion. The pacing in general is somewhat relaxed which I felt added to the charm of the series.
Nearly everyone is exceedingly easy on the eyes too, so that’s a bonus. Yes, even the corgi.
TLDR: An amazing Space Western that’s a great gateway to anime.
So why does Cowboy Bebop have such a name? It came out back in the late 90’s when anime hadn’t really taken off yet in the U.S., and has clear heavy Western influences. Similarly to how Avatar: The Last Airbender is American-made but done so to look like it’s of Asian-origin, Cowboy Bebop is Japan-made but done to look and feel American. It had a decent dub back in the day as well, so it wasn’t nearly as off-putting or outlandish as other anime seemed. The character names are also very Western (Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Faye Valentine, etc.) so it was a great way to ease an uninitiated Western audience into a medium that would eventually become commonplace.
In addition, of course, to it being a fantastic show.
There’s a movie called “Cowboy Bebop: The Movie” or alternately “Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” that I’ll be reviewing next week.