Cowboy Bebop: you don't even have my curiosity


Oh Cowboy Bebop, how do I love thee! I’m thrilled to see this series, Tom; it will be a fun ride. Like for a lot of American kids, Bebop was my first anime, taken in random spurts when I stayed up late enough to catch a piece of it on Adult Swim. It made no sense except that I could tell it was amazing. A mix of silly and haunting and adventurous. It wasn’t until years later, when I bought the DVD set, that I watched every episode in series and finally understood the arc and mystery of Spike’s life. What a show. Can’t wait to hear what you have to say about Faye.


Seconded. Especially given how much grousing about “good writing” there is on this site.


I’m due for a rewatch of Bebop, but I think I might like Space Dandy more.


Episode 5 is where the season long story arc comes into focus.

Interestingly enough, I watched this show during the Toonami original run in 2001, and they didn’t air Episode 5 that week due to 9/11 happening in the previous weeks, due to some of the imagery early in the episode. They aired it a week later, they also cut out the later season episode about the terrorist that Spike was chasing that was blowing up skyscrapers.

It is surprising how good this dub is, given the era that this show came out. I mean, it is one of the best dubs in existence, and it came out during the early days of modern anime dubbing.

Fuck are the Seatbelts and Yoko Kanno amazing though.

Also, if you can’t handle Bebop, don’t watch any other anime. It is probably the most western friendly show (Radical Edward is about as anime as you get in Bebop)


Hell even if you can handle Bebop most other anime is hard to watch. I’ve tried other stuff that’s commonly held up as a classic, like Ghost in the Shell and Akira and they’re damn near impossible to watch for me. I’ve just accepted that Cowboy Bebop has a special place for me, and that’s ok.

My favorite episode by a long way is “Pierrot le Fou”, and I’m curious to read Tom’s impressions, though I guess since it’s in the back half it will be a bit of a wait.


I never was as big of a Bebop note as all of my anime nerd friends in high school; I tend to blame the ending, which is thoroughly not up my alley, but also I think the whole show was stylized in a way that never quite caught my attention.

Thus, I was the weirdass kid whose favorite “gang of plucky lovable characters in a space ship do missions and live life on the edge” scifi anime was Outlaw Star, which really is excellent in a lot of ways, though I recognize that it’s probably much worse on an objective level.

But c’mon. The spaceships in OS have fucking grappler arms that can also hold axes. And then at some point the show just accepts that magic is fucking real, and this one dude can store magic spells in his big gun’s bullets, and sometimes he has spell wars with wizards via his gun.

Goddamn I love Outlaw Star.


Like a few of you, CB was one of the only anime I ever got into. The other one was Trigun, another space western. I haven’t watched either in over 15 years, though. I wonder if they hold up.


Ghost in the Shell is a confusing mess. And Akira has style but I can see why someone would bounce off it as well. I don’t know that I would recommend them as onramps into anime, even though they ended up serving that function for a lot of people in the early days of anime coming west.


Actually now that I think about it, I guess Hayao Miyazaki’s work must be considered anime as well I guess? And I’ve seen a bunch of his movies and every one has been a goddamn delight to me, so I can’t say Cowboy Bebop stands totally alone.


IMO Miyazaki is a vastly better entry point into anime than GitS or Akira. Ungh so good.


I don’t think SAC is particularly confusing. The movies, sure.


No, Standalone Complex is great. But divedivedive was referring to the movie, which is often lauded but as I say, is actually a confusing mess. I have seen it multiple times and the only reason I understood anything in the later viewings was having read the manga in the interim. But honestly if the concept appeals I would just watch SAC and skip literally everything else with the GitS brand.


The only problem with that is it sets a bar virtually nothing else competes with.


I don’t know, the titular “stand-alone complex” is pretty difficult to grok when it starts getting explained late in the season. Maybe I’m just dense, but I’ve seen the series twice and still couldn’t explain exactly what it means.

As best I can recall, the idea of a “stand alone complex” is some kind of concept that’s touching on A.I., consciousness, and philosophical societal concepts all wrapped up in and then pushed into a second language for us English-speakers/readers, and it’s hard to really figure out exactly what’s metaphor, what’s literal, what’s sci-fi, and what’s “real”. Some of it was apparently what The Laughing Man set in motion, other events were from unplanned copy-cat reactions, or something?

Like I said, that central aspect of it loses me every time.

On top of that, it’s dense with political intrigue and a sprawling cast to keep track of, and that’s the kind of thing I’m pretty good at tracking, but could be another layer of confusion for someone.

Ultimately I think GitS: SAC and 2nd Gig are both excellent and rewarding even if I can’t really figure out that central aspect of it.


In my view, anime movies and TV shows are as different as…well, as movies and TV shows. The stylistic differences and cultural context that join them together do constitute something, but those similarities kind of pale next to the structural differences between a show and a movie.

One isn’t better than the other, necessarily, but I think they’re different enough that they bear discussing separately.


I think anime is already diverse enough across television that throwing films into the mix isn’t making the media any broader. It may just help highlight the range.

Pretty much just like animation in the US. It’s a medium, not a genre.


After this I’d recommend Elfen Lied and Gunslinger Girl (good soundtrack on both).


Just wait until you throw manga into the mix!


Is Cowboy Bebop streaming anywhere these days?


In the UK at least, it’s on Netflix.