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Review: Cowboy Bebop

This is a rework of the original review, which read simply as follows:

—–
A pair of hardy adventurers foray through the solar system bounty hunting and having fun. Many subplots; an excellent cast; it all wraps up with a really cool ending you’re surprised to discover they’ve been building up to the whole time.

Genre: adventure
emotion: awesome
—–

The previous attempt didn’t do the series justice.

Cowboy Bebop isn’t a series I often hear discussed these days, which is a shame, because it was one of the incredible series which first drew me into the anime genre. However, before I go much farther with the review, I must make the following note:

When reading descriptions of excellent food or wine, you tend to see terms like ‘complex’ and ‘subtle’. These are ways of saying that the overall flavor captures many elements, any of which might form the basis of a good, but lesser dish, and merges them to produce a result greater than the sum of its parts.

Cowboy Bebop is complex and subtle. You could pick up nearly any episode at random and have an enjoyable half hour watching it with no context. Some episodes are goofy and off the wall, others are deadly serious and full of action, a few could be described as horror. All of them are fun to watch. Let me repeat that for clarity: there are no bad epidodes in this series. There are no episodes that you could miss with no regrets and a five-minute recap from someone who saw it. The nature of the enjoyment varies, but the enjoyability itself does not.

There is an overall story arc which ties the whole thing together, but it doesn’t get much direct development. It’s mainly tied into the two episode pairs which occur near the middle and at the end of the series. I won’t say much, except that it doesn’t lose out for having relatively little screentime; it dives into the personality and motivations of a main character, which have been unfolding onscreen for the entire series.

I would be remiss to review this series without mentioning the music. The series isn’t a musical in the sense of Chicago or Moulin Rouge, but the creators were certainly aware of the power of good music to enhance a story. The episode titles generally refer both to a form of music, and (obliquely) to the content of the episode itself. The soundtrack is nothing short of amazing; the pieces both fit perfectly with the scenes with which they are paired, and they are well worth listening to on their own.

This series is a requirement, as far as I am concerned, for anyone interested in anime. It won’t disappoint.

Genre: science fiction
Emotion: the series had a powerful story and a good ending. how many can say that?
BTFS: .99
(Beyond the Fifth Star ratings are normalized from 0 to 1)

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