Cowboy Bebop Poster

Cowboy Bebop (1998)

Animation | Adventure 
Rayting:   8.9/10 98K votes
Country: Japan
Language: English

The futuristic misadventures and tragedies of an easygoing bounty hunter and his partners.

Episode Guide

Best Cowboy Bebop Episodes

Cowboy Bebop Trailer

User Reviews

wilko_3000 30 December 2002

Cowboy Bebop is a truly post-modern show. Not in the tired "Scream" sense of self-awareness, but in its willingness to mix genres and blur boundaries. At the most basic level it's a Space Western. But Bebop is not content to be merely that, so there are added dashes of film noir, gothic horror, creature-feature, black comedy, screwball comedy, spy action, crime, romance, tragedy, action, philosophy, science, spirituality, fatalism, optimism, buddy-buddy stories, slapstick humour, parody-- just about every type of tale under the sun appears in some shape or form during Bebop's run. It's a show where each episode really is different from the last. Were it not for the recurring characters, it would be hard to believe that the brightly-coloured blaxploitation parody "Mushroom Samba" could possibly come from the same series as the bleakly violent "Real Folk Blues".

The world that the series inhabits is distinctly post-modern, too; space ships fly through hyperspace gates, but once on the ground their pilots fight with twentieth-century handguns. Scenic bays would look for all the world like they were taken from modern-day Japan were they not dwarfed by Jupiter, the enormous gas giant looming in the sky like some enormous benevolent god.

And the music - tribal drums and chants give way to electronic pulses that give way to jazz sax and trumpets that give way to rock guitars that give way to blues harmonicas... composer Yoko Kanno faultlessly turns her hand to an eclectc selection of genres and instruments, ably backed up by her band, "Seatbelts".

All of which sounds terribly impressive, but why on Earth should you watch it? Because, buddy, it's one of the finest television shows ever made.

I have to admit I'm not a big anime fan. Most anime that makes it over here seems to be either about schoolgirls with supernatural powers who battle evil, or adolescent boys who - for some convoluted reason - wind up having to pilot big giant robots. And whilst I'm assured that shows such as Escaflowne (schoolgirls and magic) and Evangelion (boys and robots) are actually rather good, they completely fail to get my blood pumping.

Enter Bebop. Ultra cool Spike, grumpy strategist Jet, trigger-happy Faye, nutball Ed and intelligent dog Ein are as far away from the usual brats and bots anime as you can possibly get. Their motivation, too, is far from the usual anime fare. These guys aren't bounty hunters because they want to fight crime and keep the peace - all they want is a wad of cash, and bounty hunting seems like the best place to make big money fast. Although they will do the right thing when pressed, they rarely forget their true motivation - and if they do, their perpetual lack of food will soon remind them. Life isn't easy, and when you're a bounty hunter it's even harder.

Not that the crew of the spaceship Bebop are one-note characters. As the series progresses, our initial assumptions about the characters are overturned. At first Spike appears to be the cliched laid-back slacker (who just happens to be a mean jeet-kun-do fighter), but we then learn of his fall from the criminal underworld and of a loss that killed him emotionally. Jet's the obvious gruff authority figure, until we realise that he actually cares for the crew of the Bebop as if they were his kids (and seems to have dabbled in pot and psychadelic drugs when he was a teenager). Faye's the usual feisty stand-offish female lead but only because her

Rirath_com 10 February 2003

Cowboy Bebop is a series that should need no introduction to anime fans. However, for anyone unfamiliar with the show, it's basically about space bounty hunters set to an old time jazz music soundtrack with plenty of classy old time stories and dark morals along the way. If you like action, space, jazz, or comedy, you may like Cowboy Bebop. If you like old time bounty hunter, private eye, or detective movies, you'll probably like Cowboy Bebop. If you like dark stories with twists that really make you feel for the characters, you'll like Cowboy Bebop. This is one series you don't have to be an anime fan to appreciate, but you have to be willing to give it a fair chance.

A single episode of Cowboy Bebop packs more punch than several entire anime series I know of. If you're not a fan of the show by the end of episode one alone, you probably won't be. The characters are as real as any old time bounty hunter / detective movie, and every bit as interesting. The sci-fi space twist doesn't take away from the show in the slightest, it adds much. A good way of thinking about the show is Lupin the 3rd mixed with Outlaw Star, with more depth. With episode titles like Asteroid Blues, Honky Tonk Woman, Waltz for Venus, and Jupiter Jazz, the space, class, and jazz heavy style is quite apparent from the beginning. This isn't just some theme slapped on top of an anime, rather a critical part of the show.

The characters are well rounded and all very interesting. Unlike a lot of anime, there is no annoying character you wish they would have left out. Each character is given equal importance, though the show centers on the bounty hunter Spike.

Spike describes himself as an "old fashioned cowboy." He spends a lot of the series searching for someone he once knew, I'll avoid details so I don't spoil anything. He could be a master thief if he so choose, his dexterity and fighting skills are nearly unmatched. With a good 'whatever' attitude, he's great fun to watch.

Jet is more of an old time detective. He's the owner of the ship "Bebop", and best friend of Spike. He does his fair share in bounty hunting like Spike, mostly gathering information and providing backup to Spike.

Faye is pretty much the anime embodiment of the women from detective movies. A fiercely materialistic woman, she does whatever it takes to get what she wants. She's not against stealing from anyone or using anyone to get it, then leaving them cold. An incredible bounty hunter in her own right, she joins the team without invitation or welcome. Much hilarious bickering and bounty thefts come between Faye and Spike from the outset.

Ed is a hacker genius girl who joins the group after a promise from Faye to get information. They try to leave her dry after they get what they need. but Ed's hacking skills make that impossible. She's often comic relief, and may be insane. Who can tell? In any case, when hacking or computer skills are needed, Ed is there. When not needed, she's. still there, being a hilarious pain in the neck. She's often with Ein, a seemingly ordinary mutt that gets picked up along the way with a few not so hidden talents.

In any case, Cowboy Bebop is a series anyone should watch. It has some language, a lot of violence, and some dark stories, but nothing that any kid these days hasn't seen a hundred times over. Even if you're not a bounty hunter or jazz fan, give this series a shot. Don't be surprised if you s

hyperexcel 22 July 2003

Cowboy Bebop should need no introduction; it's more than a uniquely defining series on several levels. Shinichi Watanabe crafted this mostly episodic anime with a beautiful plot arc that doesn't detract a bit from any moment in the series.

Following the misadventures of a crew of unlikely bounty hunters through the future solar system, Bebop liberally dabbles in jazz, both the music and the attitude. The lead character, Spike Spiegel, is as much an antihero in the anime tradition as he would be in a Hemingway novel- witty and gutsy, with a twist of nihlistic worldview. Along with Spike, each part of the ensemble main cast do more than enough to stand out on their own, with perfectly human qualities. Jet Black, the gruff pilot, is truly epitomized in the episode "Ganymede Elegy," where he confronts an old flame. Ed and Ein, the genius teenage hacker and her supersmart Corgi dog, throw the limits of standard comic relief out the window. And who could forget Faye Valentine, the eat-your-heart-out sprite of a woman with pizazz, flair, and a penchant for gambling.

If you're not a fan of anime because of its tendency to be far-fetched and downright weird at times, Bebop is the right starter series for you. A melodrama, a jazzy jam session, and a sci-fi detective thriller all wrapped into a tight, upbeat package. Superb.

mattwakeman 3 June 2002

a series that is so good it is just a shame that so few people will ever get to see it. its not the thing to get around loads of people and there are so many others that would refuse to watch it because: 'it's just a cartoon'.

well they are the unlucky ones. because this series is not only the best anime series that i have ever seen but it is the best series of any kind that i have ever seen. the characters, the dialogue, the awesome music, but most of all the writing. this is food for adults. for people that will be able, and willing, to empathise with what is in front of them.

and the end, my god the end. get a hold of this series. watch it. it really is that good.

"bang"

jaden-1 16 July 2004

Cowboy Bebop is by far the best anime series I've ever had the pleasure and privilege of experiencing. This is not a kid's show, by any means. Finally, a REAL anime feature that doesn't involve something dealing with putrid children's themes and overly flagrant characters. Cowboy Bebop is none of these. It has its share of comical scenes, but it seamlessly integrates them into a web of other predominant emotions; drama, action, thriller, suspense...

Cowboy Bebop is the epitome of cool and intelligent anime. An art I thought had long since been forgotten.

You will enjoy the witty dialog as well as the action scenes, dramatic sequences, and most of all the incredible musical integration; jazz and other cultural music that allows for an incredibly open palette of emotions as you view the action on the screen. (Expect the unexpected.)

The voices they chose to play the dubbed, English version of the Original series couldn't have been planned better. It strays from the stereotypical high-pitched whiney and otherwise annoying voices that usually plague a good anime port. Not this one. The roles are taken seriously and were performed VERY well.

This series is definitely speaking to an older audience, something rare in ported/dubbed anime series these days. I am grateful for having the opportunity to experience this wonderful masterpiece.

Cowboy Bebop is, by definition, art.

whose_your_daddy_1999 6 June 2004

Cowboy Bebop will break any prejudgement you've ever had on anime. Simply put, the show is amazing. From the art, to the music, and most importantly, the story line - Cowboy Bebop delivers. Although most reviewers have summed up the storyline fairly well, I'll give a brief overview.

In the not so distant future, many planets have been colonized and huge technological advancements have been made, but enough with the obvious. Two men, Spike and Jet meet up with future comrades Faye and Ed and team up (or fly it solo) to form the most effective bounty hunting team in the universe. Technology benefits both bounty hunter (known as Cowboys) and criminal as the crew of the Bebop Ship try to make an honest Wulong (the futuristic form of currency) while each member encounters shades of their illuminous past.

A huge bondship amongst the characters is felt almost from the start, despite on-going tensions on the Bebop. Furthermore, each character is given at least two whole episodes, which elaborate on their past, which intertwines oddly with the present (an on-going theme in Cowboy Bebop).

Their pasts are as diverse as their personalities and at some points you'll have a hard time even figuring out who the main character is. One is a former worker of a crime syndicate, one a former police officer, one a thief, and the last a computer hacker. Some similarities do exist though, namely stylish outfits and attitudes, but even then, these similarities are VERY few.

The coolest thing about Cowboy Bebop is it's ability to give you something drastically different each session (don't call it an episode, it's a session). Some sessions wrap you up in action, some make you cry, still some sessions will make you roll on the ground in laughter. One thing for sure is you will get a very satisfying feeling once the credits hit.

The soundtrack for the entire series is another high point. Virtually each session is entangled in some form of sophisticated music, usually Jazz, which is a welcome breeze from the stagnation of today's modern music.

Compared to other anime, Bebop reigns supreme (along with a couple of others), and puts kids shows like Dragon Ball Z (which are virtually plotless in the light of Cowboy Bebop) to shame. This is definitely worth viewing if you're looking for something new to watch, but worried you might just fall victim to another piece of trash reality show or sitcom. Your previous conceptions of anime are about to be shattered.

Fisherguy 12 September 2003

"One ship, one crew, one destiny" indeed. If you had to sum anime up into two words, it would undoubtably be "Cowboy Bebop." It's a 26 episode series that redefines what animation is and what it can do. The character developement is beyond comparison and the voice acting is unforgettable. If you see only one anime in your life, make it this one. I can't sum it up and give it the credit it deserves, but what I can say, is that it is the most compelling story to be turned into an anime that will have you laughing, and the more sensitive may even cry, but you will get goosebumps. All I can say is, don't forget to watch this before you die, it is worth it and then some.

Xander77 13 June 2004

Cowboy Bebop is the best anime ever. I'm 21, don't tend to be fanboyish, and have seen plenty of others. And it's the best anime ever.

What other anime features a mix of the best choreographed/energetic/ kick-ass fighting scenes - hand-to-hand, hong-kong gun fights and air-space battle?

An unbelievable mix of comic, tragic, violent and fairy tale style episodes...

An incredible sound track - Yoko Kanno is a genius that can do memorable and emotional jazz, blues, classical, fantasy-style, j-pop and even heavy metal. I wouldn't even consider buying the soundtrack to any other anime.

It quite literally oozes "cool" - characters (Spike is probably the coolest - not awsomest, but stylishly coolest) music, action and narrative.

Hell, it's the only show that has both a "cute animal" character and a "cute annoying kid" character that I don't wish a horrible death upon. And if that doesn't convince you, then nothing will.

suffer-smart-magnet 7 January 2003

CB is a happy blend of story, action, and characters.

Set in the future, CB takes its name from the spaceship, around which the story loosely revolves. The main characters, Spike and Jet, try to make their living while not getting killed, traveling around looking for bounties.

Technically, the animation is very good, though a friend pointed out that sometimes the frame rate is low, or they use a still in a shot. These didn't bother me because they were used tastefully, and were balanced by action shots that carried a lot of energy.

The voice acting for the english version is great, and adds to character depth. They seem to understand who the characters are and how they would react.

The story line is interesting. With each episode being around 25 minutes, the time is filled with a balanced blend of action, character development, and plot. The story within an episode develops rapidly, while the whole series moves more slowly, with the exception of the last few episodes (where they were trying to wrap things up).

If you've never tried any anime, this would be my first choice. I watched it on DVD, and would definitely watch it again.

marblespire 3 October 2002

I'm not a big fan of anime. When I hear that word I think of Cartoon Network, of the overly wordy internal monologues from 'Speed Racer,' of the pseudo-interesting transformation scenes from 'Sailor Moon,' of one person rushing at another from what appears to be several hundred yards away in 'Dragonball Z,' of convoluted plots and robots that pull mile-long guns out of thin air in 'Gundam 0083.' It's all overly ridiculous, and in their attempts to look 'cool' a lot of animes instead end up looking stupid.

So boy was I surprised when I first saw 'Cowboy Bebop.'

I'm still in the process of watching all 26 episodes, so I don't know everything about the series, but from what I've seen, it's head-and-shoulders better than any anime out there.

It's a fairly simple premise: around 2020 there was a weird explosion which took out part of Luna and put moon rocks in orbit around Earth in a miniature asteroid belt. Earth was rendered more or less uninhabitable, but the same weird explosion also held the keys to Hyperspace Gates, a safe and reliable form of transportation which the planetless Earthlings used to colonize their solar system. With this expansion came an explosion in the Mafia, the black market, the criminal underworld; to control it, InterStellar Space Police was created. But even the ISSP wasn't enough, and so the Police began to put out bounties on criminals. A subculture of bounty hunters evolved; best estimates suggest that there are over 300,000 in the Sol system alone. They have revived and adopted an ancient title: "Cowboy."

'Cowboy Bebop' focuses on the travels of bounty hunter Spike Spiegel, a tall, lanky martial artist who oozes more style than Baz Luhrmann. He and his partner Jet Black travel the solar system in their ship, the Bebop (hence the title of the show), tracking down bounties and entertaining their audiences again and again. But it's not entirely accurate to say that the show FOCUSES on Spike and Jet, because there are two main characters who join the show in later episodes--Faye Valentine, a sexy, outrageous woman with a shadowed past and no tact (and a wardrobe that the animators seem to enjoy making look like it might fall off at any given moment) and a bizarre 13-year-old girl named Ed (don't ask) who can basically hack into any computer system and provides surreal comic relief on the side. But it's not entirely accurate to say the show focuses on THEM, either, because the star is undeniably Spike. The show starts and ends with his past. What about that past? Ah, but that would be telling.

In a medium where characters routinely jump fifty feet into the air and then produce huge beams of energy from somewhere, CB's realism is welcome and refreshing. The animation is fluid and subtle--watching Spike fist-fight the week's bounty in the premier episode is a sight to behold. It's obvious that the animators have put a lot more thought into realistic movement than they normally do. These cel-bound wonders are mixed with a sprinkling of CGI that would do Babylon 5 proud. All together, it creates a visually appealing mix, made even more endearing by the fact that the laws of physics evidently still apply. Despite his extensive martial arts training, Spike produces no energy beams, makes no Matrix-esque leaps, and more or less keeps his feet planted on the earth, the same as the series does.

Characters are handled exquisitely.

TheLittleSongbird 5 November 2012

Animation and anime I have loved for as long as I can remember, and Cowboy Bebop is one of the greatest examples of anime at its best. Everything about this show is exemplary. The animation is just wonderful, right from the detailed character designs, beautiful and haunting colours and the ethereal backgrounds to the coupling of the dazzling action and some of the most jaw-dropping futuristic spectacle in animation or otherwise known to man. The music stays in your mind for a long time and not in an irritating sense, always fits with the drama and shows complexity in mood and orchestration even with its very jazzy feel. Cowboy Bebop also displays some really fine writing, it is poignant and intense yet also humorous and thoughtful, and balanced without any qualms at all. The storytelling shows evidence of great ideas thoroughly and entertainingly explored with little too dark or too light-hearted, there is an ideal combination of both. The characters are interesting and not revolved around clichés, these characters especially Spike are well-developed and any person watching the show would relate to them. The voice work is very dynamic. In conclusion, an outstanding show in every aspect, don't miss it. 10/10 Bethany Cox

chesster0011 19 October 2002

Spike's classic line sums up his views on life. As a seemingly apathetic bounty hunter, he teams up with Jet Black on the good ship BeBop. Seeking those with hefty bounties, they run into Faye Valentine- a mysterious young vixen with a chip on her shoulder and an even larger price on her head.

This is by far one of the best anime series I've ever seen. It's funny, action-packed, and has a killer soundtrack. As with all anime, I recommend the subtitled version, but watch what you can get your hands on of this awesome series!

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