Monday, May 28, 2018

Cowboy Bebop (1998)

Next lesson in my anime studies is Cowboy Bebop. You have probably seen I have gone through anime classics lately. Cowboy Bebop is one of the biggest. Is it really that good? Yes and no. More no than yes. Cowboy Bebop is very uneven series. Good episodes are really good. Others are quite boring. Some episodes are somewhere in between. I heard you should start from episode five because that is where it gets really good. I tell you a secret. Fifth episode is first really good episode. Series doesn't get better after that. You just see what it can be when it really works. I will get back to this later.

Cowboy Bebop tells story of bounty hunters living in space ship Cowboy Bebop. It starts with two bounty hunters Spike and Jet. Spike is former crime syndicate member. Jet former police. Later they are joined by Faye, woman running huge debts and crazy hacker girl Edward. They hunt bounties in our solar system where Earth has become wasteland and other planets and moons are inhabited.

Cowboy Bebop gets its style from westerns, film noir and 60's movies. All this is set into science fiction setting. There is not too much world building. They just happen to be in science fiction world. Style is more important than building worlds or studying science fiction themes. Darker episodes work better than humorous and action oriented episodes. Action works better in darker episodes. Episodes which end with one or two shots are more intense than episodes where they shoot rapid fire.

Edward was only character I didn't like. Faye had potential to be more. She is woman hanging with Spike and Jet until she finds something better. She was wasted too often to be someone trying to get others' money and not to pay for anything. Good thing was she didn't have forced romance with other crew members. Jet and Spike were laid back bros. All their backstory and story arc episodes were among good episodes. I don't count Feng Shui episode Jet's backstory episode even though it had characters from Jet's history.

I think you should watch Cowboy Bebop even though there are more bad episodes than good episodes. You probably don't need to watch every episode. Episodes  5, 6, 10, 12, 13, 16, 20, 23, 24, 25 and 26 are good episodes. With those episodes you miss Faye's introduction (episodes 3 and 4), Faye's backstory (episodes 15 and 18) and Edwards introduction (episode 9). You get good Cowboy Bebop experience with these 16 episodes. You get 11 good episodes and 5 episodes required for backstory and not missing anything important. Other 10 episodes are more or less fillers. You can watch them if you want to see every episode.

Almost half of the good episodes are among last seven episodes. This is why you are left remembering Cowboy Bebop is really good. Last episodes are really good but to get there there are more not so good episodes. If Cowboy Bebop had only 16 episodes I mentioned before it would be one of my favorite anime. Now it is close to those.

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