Thanks to Viceland actually airing anime on TV in the UK, I’m finally getting around to watching Cowboy Bebop. And because it’s such a popular series, I decided to do something different and live-blog my thoughts at the same time as watching it…
This probably contains some spoilers so if you want to avoid them, click away now.
Episode 1 – Asteroid Blues
- The opening of this series is absolutely iconic. I’ve heard it so many times before but this is the first time I’m properly listening to it as part of the series and I’m loving it.
- The silhouettes and overlays in the opening animation remind me of Evangelion’s Cruel Angel’s Thesis, which makes sense as they’re both popular sci-fi series of the mid to late 90s.
- I like the mix of different cultures. It may be the future and humans have moved away from Earth, but they’ve still kept their own unique heritage rather than becoming a generic, standardised human race.
- The background music works so well. The contrast between jazz and the sci-fi setting definitely makes it sound interesting.
- So far, I’m reminded of the cult classic Firefly, with a down-on-their luck spaceship crew chasing the next paycheck. The fusion of different cultures and genres is similar, especially the space western concept.
Episode 2 – Stray Dog Strut
- It’s nice to know Corgis still exist in space.
- “I knew that, I was testing you” is hands down the best line in the whole episode; Steven Blum’s delivery was perfect.
- Nothing makes things interesting like a good old fashioned car chase.
Episode 3 – Honky Tonk Women
- FAYE!! (I’ve been waiting for her to show up, I’m glad I didn’t have to wait long)
- I instantly fell in love because I’m a sucker for badass women with purple hair. I mean, Misato Katsuragi, Motoko Kusanagi, Faye Valentine… I’m sensing a pattern here.
- I wonder how many languages everyone can understand because I definitely want a multilingual future.
- The animation on the fight scenes is so fluid.
- Those three old men are everywhere.
Episode 4 – Gateway Shuffle
- My crush on Faye is certainly growing.
- Should Spike really be kicking the very valuable, very dangerous object?
- The terrorism theme is interesting. I wonder if it would be handled any differently two decades later?
- The CGI is a bit dated.
- I’ve clearly been pronouncing Spiegel wrong for years.
Episode 5 – Ballad of Fallen Angels
- That was just a bit of a dramatic start to the episode.
- “Don’t get salty.” If that’s not a reaction gif then what is the internet even doing.
- We’re starting to get some real backstory now.
- And we’ve been introduced to the antagonist.
- I like the lack of music in parts of the church scene. It emphasises the echoes of their voices and adds more intensity to what they’re saying.
- I also liked the flashback montage as Spike was falling.
Episode 6 – Sympathy for the Devil
- The kids sounds like Conan the Detective but sounds like Digimon’s Izzy (I’m watching the English dub).
- The plot of this episode makes more use of the sci-fi setting.
- The CGI is definitely dated now. Like, seriously.
- The rest of the animation holds up, though.
Episode 7 – Heavy Metal Queen
- Yay for protective older women in bars.
- Those old men are back again.
- I love the concept of truckers in space.
- Spiiike, floating in space kills people. You’re not even wearing a spacesuit.
Episode 8 – Waltz for Venus
- I like how money works in the future.
- Angry helium-voice Spike is actually adorable.
- Cowboy Bebop Drinking Game Rule #1: Drink every time Faye says ‘chump change’ or something to that effect.
- God Faye, learn to knock.
- The ending was surprisingly sad. I was hoping that the siblings would get to be happy.
- I wasn’t sure about the ending to start with but it’s growing on me.
Episode 9 – Jamming with Edward
- The team’s dynamic is developing. They’re starting to work together and the arguing is steadily turning into banter.
- I really liking the diversity in space – the character designers are including people from different races and cultures.
- Like other series in the sci-fi genre, this episode raises the “What is human?” question. And like I talked about in my Time of Eve discussion, where is the line between human and machine drawn?
- Ed gave the crew a run for their money by hacking the Bebop.
- I wasn’t sure about her to start with but she may just fit in.
Episode 10 – Ganymede Elegy
- Jet now has his time to shine. He’s been overshadowed by Spike so far.
- That was some very smooth animation as the ship flew over Faye; arguably more sexy than the actual fanservice.
- They used silence during memories again, with only sound effects of the sea and Rhint’s lighter. It’s just as effective as last time.
- This episode subverted my expectations because Jet and his ex-girlfriend reconciled but didn’t get back together. I thought they’d either get back together or fail to let the past go.
Episode 11 – Toys in the Attic
- I like when sci-fi series have episodes set solely in the ship, allowing us to explore the characters instead of the world they live in. Doctor Who did this back in 1964 with The Edge of Destruction and decades later, it still works.
- There was some excellent use of classical music here. I wasn’t expecting to hear Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers but that’s what makes it so funny.
- Moral of the story: always clear out your fridge.
Episode 12 – Jupiter Jazz (Part 1)
- Spike’s reaction to hearing Julia’s name was perfect. His face was drawn so expressively.
- I’m not sure if they’re relying too much on stereotypes when characterising the drag queens.
- I’ve noticed there’s a lot of gay background characters in this series, from casual comments about same-sex relationships to seeing them outright. However, I don’t know if it’s exactly the same in the original Japanese dub.
- “I am both at once and I am neither one.” Is that a genderfluid character in a 90s anime?!
- This is our first multi-parter, breaking away from the standard stand-alone, episodic format.
Episode 13 – Jupiter Jazz (Part 2)
- I like the juxtaposition of present-day weapons and equipment against the backdrop of a war in future space. The contrast makes it seem familiar and out of place at the same time.
- Gren’s gender fluidity is explained by drugs rather than his own personal identity.
- I love Jet being concerned about Faye, despite the fact that she’d just stolen from him. It shows his character development and how much their relationship has grown over the last ten episodes.
- I also like Faye and Ed bonding. This may just be a found family trope and I can’t resist those.
- The three way battle between Spike, Vicious, and Gren reminds me a little bit of Naruto’s Sannin in the 3 Way Deadlock.
If you like this post format; let me know in the comments! Part 2 with episodes 14-26 will be out next week.