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       COW BOY BEBOP
                 ( DIBA BEBOP YUN NAME NG MUTANT PIG NA KALABAN NG NINJA TURTOLS)

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Once upon a time, in New York City in 1941... at this club open to all comers to play, night after night, at a club named "Minton's Play House" in Harlem, they play jazz sessions competing with each other. Young jazz men with a new sense are gathering. At last they created a new genre itself. They are sick and tired of the conventional fixed style jazz. They're eager to play jazz more freely as they wish then... in 2071 in the universe... The bounty hunters, who are gathering in the spaceship "BEBOP", will play freely without fear of risky things. they must create new dreams and films by breaking traditional styles. The The work, which becomes a new genre itself, will be called... "COWBOY BEBOP" 

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The Cowboy Bebop Review

Recently, I have noticed an alarming discovery after watching several new anime TV shows that have been coming out. It seems that it is easier to just have a TV remake of an old OVA series, rather than come up with something original. A good example of this is the enormously disappointing Record of Lodoss War TV series (now unfortunately slated for US release).

The Lodoss OVA series is my second favorite of series of all-time, but did we really need a TV rehash with lower acting and writing standards? This with one notable exception (Vampire Miyu) has been the recent trend, to my dismay.

To get back on point -- my one saving hope for the just finished TV season of last year was a highly anticipated, original TV series called Cowboy Bebop....

DESCRIPTION

Cowboy Bebop is a shonen series that focuses on Spike Spiegel -- a space-age bounty hunter that formerly was a Chinese Mafia boss. Putting his past behind him, he has teamed up with his partner Jet Black to solve various cases and collect their bounties (of course).

Added to the mix by the third episode is Faye Valentine (played to perfection by Megumi Hashibara), a seductive women with a history of various crimes that would make her a nice catch for Spiegel in more ways than one. ;-) Unfortunately, she is not going to be that easy to catch....

Also joining the show in the second episode is a mysterious dog that is more intelligent than Spike and Jet (even though they don't seem to know it) and you have the trappings of a great action series.

Speaking of action -- there is PLENTY of it. The opening credits scene looks very familiar to James Bond fans, giving you an idea of the show to come. Add to this a space and futuristic setting, and you have a good idea of what to expect here. This is the show Outlaw Star could have (and SHOULD have been).

EVALUATION

ART/ANIMATION

This series has become my new reference in both of these areas, replacing Escaflowne (which coincidentally had many of the same people working on it). The show is really a high budget OVA series shown on TV (actually only half of the series was shown on TV, with the other half direct to video).

Computer graphics like in Escaflowne are used tremendously well -- in a way that adds to the series visual appeal, rather than looking cheesy like some recent shows I have seen (can anyone say Brain Powered?). The background art is HIGHLY detailed and colorful, and the animation is VERY fluid and realistic. Needless to say, both art and animation are uniquely stunning.

CHARACTER DESIGN

When I first saw the designs of the series, I was not impressed. They did grow on me quite a great deal the more I watched them, however. Now I would say they are considered "good."

MUSIC

Oh YES! Another score from Yoko Kanno. Everyone who reads my reviews knows her Escaflowne soundtrack is my reference in this area, and I am pleased to say that the jazz/blues score in Cowboy Bebop -- while in a completely different music genre than the classical musician Escaflowne, approaches Escaflowne's greatness! The opening number called "Tank" is performed flawlessly and the ending song combines the music genres of jazz, rock and the blues to perfection.

The jazz played during the show fits the mood of the series perfectly, and is definitely in the top 5 performances I have heard. The CD to the series is also a MUST HAVE for everyone, even if you are not a jazz fan. -- Yes, it IS that good!

STORYLINE

Here lies the series' sole "weakness." I found the storyline to be very episodic and lacking character development and depth. I will say though, that in this case, it really did not bother me.

The characters are all likable, and the series has an action focus -- character depth is not as important to me in this kind of a series. Also, apart from the great action scenes -- the series is also very funny at times. Finally, I should mention that while the storyline may not be deep, each episode is presented EXTREMELY well. The series has a very stylish and refined feeling to it. You just get that feeling you are right there on the screen with Spike and company. I rate the storyline as above average, to good overall.

OVERALL

Cowboy Bebop is definitely not for everyone. It is an extremely slick and well presented series that probably will not appeal to the "anime based on a video fighting game" crowd -- but everyone else should run and buy the LDs or DVDs to this series -- and pick up the fansub when it is available (there is no doubt that SOME sub group will definitely be doing the series). Yes, the storyline is not tremendously powerful, but boy, those visuals will keep your jaw gaping open throughout the series, and your feet will be tapping to that great Kanno jazz score. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Review By: David Seid

Art/Animation: Storyline: Character Design: Music:
10.0
8.0
8.5
9.8

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Spike Spiegel

Spike Spiegel
Profile 
 
  • Name: Spike Spiegel
  • Birthday: June 26, 2044
  • Sign: Gemini (Earth: Cancer)
  • Age: 27
  • Birth Place: Mars
  • Blood Type: O
  • Height: 185 cm 
  • Seiyuu: Kouichi Yamadera
  • Spike Spiegel is the leading man in Cowboy Bebop. With his tall, lanky build, rumpled necktie, and poofy greenish-black hair, Spike may look like a total slacker, but don't be deceived. Spike is a bounty hunter with a dark past. Oftentimes memories of past days will haunt him, especially images of a beautiful woman with blond hair named Julia, and a fierce man named Vicious. These two play a prominent role in Spike's life, even though it has been 3 years since he let that life 'die'. Since that time, Spike has watched the world through one eye that looks out, and another that faces the dream.  
    A former member of the Red Dragons mafia group, Spike left his past behind 3 years ago and now lives the life of a wanderer, sailing the cosmos alongside his trusted partner, Jet Black, in their ship, the Bebop. Always after a new prize to restock their dwindling money supply and put food on the table, Spike and Jet will get into all sorts of scrapes to hunt criminals down. Spike's skills at martial arts and with his gun help make him one someone you definitely do not want to mess with. 
    The Bebop isn't Spike's only spaceship. He is also the ace pilot of the Swordfish II, a smaller, faster vehicle that can be flown at planet level as well as in space. It is with the Swordfish II that Spike often has to make a hasty retreat from sticky situations. But through it all, Spike manages to keep a level head and oozes the aura of coolness that make him one of the best anime guys ever!

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    Faye Valentine
    Faye Valentine 
    Stats 
     
  • Name: Faye Valentine
  • Birthday: August 14
  • Age: 23
  • Sign: Leo
  • Blood Type: B
  • Height: 168cm
  • Seiyuu: Megumi Hayashibara
  • If Spike Spiegel is the leading man, then Faye Valentine is definitely the leading lady of Cowboy Bebop. She is cool, confident (well, most of the time) , and not afraid to take a risk if it means getting her hands on the bounty first. 
     
    Yes, Faye Valentine is a bounty hunter. She is daring and competitive, and has managed to win the prize from Spike on several occasions. She always comes prepared. She has communications devices and tiny gadgets hidden in her jewelry that help her get out of many tight situations. Like Spike Spiegel, much of Faye Valentine's past is cloaked in mystery, but apparently she has an impossibly large debt looming over her that perhaps provides some of her motivation and enthusiasm for her bounty hunter work. She is also a lot older than she looks, thanks to some sort of cryo-chamber. Lets just say that the modern world took quite a bit of getting used to for Faye :) 
    Faye is a gal you want to avoid in a shooting match or a card game. Not only is she an experienced gambler, she also pilots her own ship. Similar to Spike's Swordfish II, Faye's Redtail is light and maneuverable. It is responsible for getting Faye away from many unpleasant situations. All she has to do is send out a signal from one of her bracelets, and the Redtail arrives on auto-pilot ready for her to take control. 
    Faye is Spike's rival, yet she has managed to invite herself to live aboard the Bebop on occasion. Of course her time on the Bebop is usually either spent in handcuffs while Jet and Spike rummage through her belongings, or lounging around tormenting poor Ein the dog (who she does not get along with) and waiting for news of a bounty she can race ahead and try to beat Spike at acquiring.
    Faye's voice actress is none other than Megumi Hayashibara, a very talented and prolific artist. She is doing a more adult, mature voice for once, instead of her usual over-genki teenage voices. While I have been getting tired of hearing Megumi's voice in everything these days, I actually like her portrayal of Faye Valentine.



    Jet Black

    Jet Black 
    Stats 
     
  • Name: Jet Black 
  • Birthday: December 3
  • Age: 36
  • Sign: Sagittarius
  • Blood Type: A
  • Height: 188cm
  • Seiyuu: Unshou Ishizuka
  • Jet Black is one of the few people that Spike Spiegel trusts. He is Spike's partner in bounty hunting. Jet seems to be in charge of the piloting of the Bebop, and has been seen piloting Spike's Swordfish II when bailing Spike out of trouble. Jet is also a former ISSP (a space police force) before becoming a bounty hunter, and will often use his contacts still on the police force to get onfo on the criminals they are after .  He has some sort of a cybernetic arm, and some more circuitry on his right eye. How did he get these? Did it have something to do with his past as a police officer? Even Spike doesn't know how Jet lost his real arm and why he has a cybernetic one. The origin of his need for the cybernetics is revealed during the series, but I won't spoil it for you :) Jet's nickname is the "Black Dog" because once he gets his teeth into something, he never lets go.

    Another randome note, Jet apparently does all the cooking aboard the Bebop, as Spike is usually too busy watching Big Shot or practicing his martial arts to do any 'chores'. Another hobby of Jet's is tending and maintaining little bonsai trees. Jet is the older, more mature and level-headed member of the bebop crew. The Bebop really belongs to him, in fact.  
    Just like Spike has his Swordfish II, and Faye has her Redtail, Jet also has a smaller craft than the Bebop that he can pilot when going down to planet level. His ship is called the Hammerhead.

    Jet's life is filled with lost loves, old partners, and past betrayals. In this way he reminds me of Spike. During the course of the series, he settles most of the old business from his past that is haunting him, or at least finds resolutions.


    Ed and Ein

    Ed and Ein
    Stats
     
  • Name: Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky 4th 
  • Birthday: January 1st 
  • Home Planet: Earth
  • Age: 13
  • Sign:Capricorn 
  • Blood Type: AB
  • Height: 136cm
  • Seiyuu:  Tada Aoi
  • Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky 4th, or plain "Ed", is a kid-genius hacker. And despite the very masculine name, Ed is actually a 13 year old girl. (Personally I found this hard to believe for awhile, just from seeing pictures of her but I guess the eternal blush on her cheeks is a sign. Once you hear her voice, it's pretty obvious ^_^) She lived on Earth before she joined the happy crew of the Bebop. She can hack into just about any computer, and even uses the hacker name 'Radical Edward'. Why the strange name? Well she liked the name and named herself! When we first meet Ed, she is living all by herself in this abandoned heap on earth with a huge pile of home-made fun computer devices. She uses them to control other people's computers (and space ships) and in general have a lot of fun. When the Bebop arrives on Earth to investigate the source of a bunch of animal shapes laser burned into the desert ground from somewhere in space, they find Edward, who helps them find the old USA satellite system that is creating the laser engraved earth images. (The satellite also has a personality when she 'talks' to it, and she decides to give it a name too ^_^) It seems that Ed has been a fan of the Bebop before she encountered the crew because she has pictures of the ship pasted all around her living area. In exchange for helping Spike and crew, Ed forces the Bebop via computer to turn around and pick her up! She makes her presence known by this goofy smiley face appearing on their computer screens. No computer is safe from her hacking! Ein and Ed, both smarter than average, bond pretty quickly :) 

    Ein is a little Welsh Corgi dog that Spike is saddled with at the end of Session #2. He is a dog that was born and raised in a laboratory and was experimented on. The result of the lab life is that Ein is now smarter than your average pooch. The dog is worth a lot of money to some groups, and when Spike first encounters the dog, it is when it was being stolen by the criminal Spike is chasing. At the end of Spike's chase after the criminal, he ends up losing his man but gaining a new pet. Ein seems to have taken a liking to Spike, and now lives aboard the Bebop with the rest of the crew. Ein is often seen either sleeping in a hallway, sitting by his food dish, or being tormented by Faye. Yes, one of Faye's hobbies appears to be 'tormenting Ein' :) Her dislike for the dog is probably caused by Ein's gloating presence around her when she is handcuffed the first few times she is aboard the Bebop. Faye has not been able to get along with the dog since. My favorite Ein and Faye moment so far is when Faye is looking in the refrigerator for something to eat and finds only one can of dog food. She looks at Ein, who is sitting by his dish, giving her these big hungry-puppy eyes, and what does Faye do? She opens the dog food and eats it herself, right in front of the dog. Ouch, Harsh! :) 

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