When did I miss the memo of Netflix adding some serious anime weight to their anime category? I can hear the hollers of disapproval and will be the first to admit that there are some great anime titles on Netflix. Netflix has already upped their place in the world when it comes to anime with adding some of the bigger series and even some newer series most might not know. However in my opinion they have seriously upped the ante with adding the classic favourite Cowboy Bebop.
I do not make a secret of the fact that I truly love this series and it is most definitely one of my top anime and one that if it’s on I am guaranteed to binge watch. Seen as one of the greatest anime released where even if you’re not a fan you cannot deny this series has had a massive impact on the anime industry and community. So, in honour of its release on Netflix this week we will look at Cowboy Bebop.
For anyone who has lived under a rock for the past few decades or are new to the anime world Cowboy Bebop was originally a two-volume manga that ran all the way back in the 90’s by Cain Kuga. An anime series and long running manga series soon followed in 1998 and Cowboy Bebop would become one of the first anime to be aired as part of Adult Swim in the United States.
Set in a universe which is set in 2071, nearly fifty years after an incident which left Earth almost inhabitable leaving the people of Earth to leave and colonize on different planets of the Solar System. To combat the rising levels of crime in the Solar System the Inter Solar System Police created the bounty contract system where registered bounty hunters or Cowboys as they are also known can bring in a bounty for a reward. The series introduces us to the bounty hunters who work from the spaceship Bebop, Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Faye Valentine, Edward and Ein the corgi. Never will you see a more mishmash of people who are thrown together and must work to work together so they do not die of starvation. Each of them have their own demons to fight and while also going out to catch bounties the series gives us the past and lives of each member of the Bebop.
What stands out about Cowboy Bebop is the fact that among a lot of similar anime it has truly stood the test of time. It has aged incredibly well that even twenty years later it is one of the best and most loved anime series. Realistically in my opinion it is the anime that all futuristic, sci fi, action and comedy anime must live up to, it set the bar and again in my opinion has yet to be beat.
The main thing about this anime is its fantastically fluid narrative that goes throughout the series whether it is from the character development or their interactions and relationship development. There are so many aspects to this story, each of the members of the Bebop, including Ein the corgi has their own stories that flow along with the story of anime which is mainly based around Spike and how his past is slowly catching up with him. Something that I liked about this series is that despite only being a twenty-six-episode series it has some filler episodes in there. Usually this is a killer for an anime but here the few filler episodes are still used for some sort of character development or story progression that is subtle to the usually comedic value these episodes had.
The story would not be anything without these fantastic characters that the anime creators have given us. They are all so personable even though they have intricate pasts and reasons for being where they are, yes even Edward and Ein. Jet Black a former member of the Solar System Police is your typical gruff older hard man who has a serious moral compass and does not like going against it, he isn’t as to the foreground of the series but he gets some good screen time often keeping Spike on the straight and narrow. Faye is the temptress with no past but hers is probably one of the best back stories in terms of sci fi where she is connected to the event that took place on Earth nearly fifty years ago. We see her go through some serious changes of mind and question her being in this series especially toward the end as her new world starts to crumble. Edward and Ein are probably two of my favourite characters of all time, Edward is a kid genius but idiot who the Bebop end up adopting to the ship and despite the fact she isn’t the main character and often only gets the comedy parts her last scene near enough made me weep. Ein the same, a genetically modified corgi he brings the adorable part to the series and it just cute to look at.
Of course, Spike is the main be all and end all the anime and it is a worthy title to give him. He in my opinion was a perfect character; he is the action and the comedy. His entire story is quite tragic and at points you wonder how has this man keep going? An ex member of the Red Dragon Syndicate crime group where he must fake his own death. No spoilers here for anyone that has never seen this anime but if you want a good character that is nearly already developed and winds up developing in another way this is the anime for you. Spike wants to work alone (even with Jet) but winds up in this group of misfits who towards the end you know he has now grown close to. There is action, comedy and genuine sadness in Spikes story and it is worth staying with it to the end.
Cowboy Bebop will forever be known as one of the greatest anime of all time and for any space, sci fi, action and comedy anime to come have big shoes to fill. If you are looking for a series that has all aspects of enjoyment and not too excessively long this anime if for you.