Cowboy Bebop (1998-1999)


Cowboy Bebop (1998-1999)

Director: Shinichiro Watanabe
Studio: Sunrise
Starring: Koichi Yamadera, Unshou Ishizuka, Megumi Hayashibara
Episodes: 26

A pair of hard-up bounty hunters pick up new crewmembers during their misadventures across the solar system.

If you were an anime fan back in the early Aughts, this was basically the Citizen Kane of anime. I was actually surprised to see some of the younger fans these days not having the same enthusiasm for it, but I suppose it's the generation gap at work. I was a big fan when I first saw it and watching through it again for the first time in over ten years, my regard hasn't been dampened any. This was one of the three space Westerns of 1998 and I believe it's the best of the bunch both in terms of production values and overall quality. (I like Trigun quite a bit, but it's much more uneven on both counts and I'm entirely ambivalent to Outlaw Star.) There isn't a single front where I personally find fault with the series, but much like The X-Files, you have a split between episodic pieces and a larger myth arc and if you favor one or the other, you may wish there was more of a focus on your preferred kind of story. For me, however, I like the variety. You get plenty of action, neo-noir drama, comedy, and even horror. In some ways, it's sort of a next generation Lupin III (sometimes Spike seems particularly Lupinesque), so if the idea of a scifi Lupin III with bounty hunters instead of thieves appeals to you, there you go. Production values are high and nearly 20 years later, it still looks outstanding. There's great worldbuilding with the sort of used future aesthetic I love. We have another amazing score by Yoko Kanno with a lot of variety that really shows off her versatility as a composer. (Guitar pieces by her Seatbelts bandmate Tsuneo Imahori will make you think about Trigun as he was the composer on that series.) Also, for seiyuu aficionados, a great many of the big names at least have cameo appearances, so that's always nice. Now, from what I understand, the series enjoys a much higher regard overseas than in its home country (where it's respected but not quite revered). For my money, though, this is about as good as you can get. If you're an anime fan, this one belongs in your collection (and chances are, you've already got it).

Treasure It