on 3 May 2013
Complete collections of Shinichiro Watanabe's masterpiece 'Cowboy Bebop' have always popped up for sale on Amazon intermitently over the years, but more recently all that's been available online has been a clutch of used copies costing an arm and a leg, so it's great news that this series is getting a new release.
Kastuhiro Otomo's anime film Akira is often cited as being one of the most influential works in its genre, but Cowboy Bebop is equally as seminal. The series takes aspects of the Wild West and sets it circa 2071. Underpinning the entire thing is a blues and jazz soundtrack of pure perfection. The opening theme 'Tank!' merits its own appreciation society while the scene played over Yoko Kanno's 'Green Bird' in episode 5 is beautifully hypnotic and enchanting. Those enamoured with the prominence of hiphop music and subculture in 'Samurai Champloo' will find this series every bit as appealing- no surprise when you discover Watanabe is responsible for both anime!
Story-wise, the series is similarly paced to 'Samurai Champloo' as well. It follows the crew of the spaceship Bebop as they meander through space and fail to live up to their bounty hunter profession. The characters' pasts are all explored as the series progresses, but beyond that is just the sheer quality of the ideas behind each story. Some are absolutely inspired! Antagonists, too, in the series such as Mad Pierrot are ingeniously developed.
To some, 'Cowboy Bebop' might seem a little ramshackle with too much kitchen sink, but really the whole thing is held together by its musical underpinnings and the strength of its individual stories. Plus, a handful of the episodes are named after Rolling Stones songs so I mean what could POSSIBLY be better?
It might not be as instantly accessible as 'Samurai Champloo' (a slow burner might be an accurate description) but it'll suck you in and live long in the memory way beyond its 2071 setting. There's a reason it garnered international critical acclaim, and those reasons combined put it head and shoulders above everything else in the anime canon.
EDIT: There's been a few space cowboys fretting over whether this will be both dubbed as well as subbed. The answer's yes, and a big thanks to Buzzkillington for finding out!
on 22 February 2015
Cowboy Bebop is generally said to be one of the best anime series in the catalog, but this isn't just for anime connoisseurs, this is for anyone who wants an entertaining space western romp filled with meaningful narratives and set to gorgeous music. Think Firefly's cast and atmosphere fused with the soundtrack and laid-back style of The Beiderbecke Affair and you'll be getting a rough idea. To start off, many of the episodes here are not for younger children, the delicate-minded, or people expecting all-action and no plot: the stories frequently deal with violence, drugs, the darker side of crime and punishment, and themes involving the perception of life and a person's sense of self and presence. These are not gratuitous inclusions, but an integral part of the experience: do not skip. Also remember: this is twenty-six episodes across six discs, each roughly half an hour long and as dense as they can come. If you want to appreciate it properly, you should not take in the whole series in a single sitting, but spread it out over a few days. Also note, Cowboy Bebop: The Movie is not essential to the enjoyment of the series, but it's a nice edition and provides a great introduction for newcomers nervous about plunging head-first into the series itself.
Without spoiling anything, the stories of each episode are very good, and some are almost hypnotic the way they draw you in. They range from saddening to electrifying to utterly hilarious, and the homages to classic western films are many and enjoyable. The main attraction here is the characters, which are some of the best realized not just in anime but in television in general. Spike may be touted as the main character, but that's a bad mistake to make. This is an ensemble piece, with each character going through their own sagas and reaching their own conclusions, however bleak they may seem on a first watch. Frequently, the performances will alternately have your heart breaking from emotion and your lungs bursting from laughter.
The animation quality is superb, and the remaster shows this off in the best way possible. The music, by Yoko Kanno and her band The Seatbelts, is a wonderful mix of jazz, pop, blues and occasional choir. The extra features are nothing spectacular, but the commentaries offer behind-the-scenes insights on the episodes (both from Japanese staff/cast and those involved with the localization). The localization itself can also be considered as one of the best around: speech synchronization is generally very good, the voice actors are top-notch, and the sound quality is consistently excellent. All in all, this is one of the best anime series around, possibly the very best of its time alongside series like Neon Genesis Evangelion, and anyone who wants to see the genre at its peak and in perfect visual and audio condition need look no further.
on 28 January 2014
i love cowboy bebop, only problem i have is with the DVD audio, its inconsistant, normal volume on the title menu but quiet during playing. other than that great :D
on 12 December 2013
Cowboy Bebop is one of my all time favorite anime and it's the show that really made me interested in world of anime, the guys at Anime Ltd did a superb job with their release. the packaging is fantastic, the best packaged DVD I own. the video quality is superb and the menus are great, my only problem with this product is that both English dub and full English subtitles are on by default which i find strange.
This is a fantastic dvd and i would recommend it to anyone interested in anime or sci-fi, full marks from me.
on 19 November 2015
I've only been into anime for about a year now and for a while, I felt like nothing would surprise me. Nothing would really jump off the screen and captivate me.
Then, I joined this group on Facebook and soon learned that I have paid no attention to the classics such as Evangelion, Ashita No Joe, Fist Of The North Star and well...Cowboy Bebop.
Cowboy Bebop is one of the best works of fiction that I have ever had the sheer pleasure of watching. It truly shows what anime is capable of, even without digital animation, which has become commonplace in modern anime (not that I'm knocking digital animation, see the Fate Series).
It concerns Spike and Jet, two bounty hunters on board the starship Bebop. They go looking for bounties in order to get some food on the table, and on their way they pick up femme fatale Faye Valentine, hacker whizz-kid Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivruski IV (no, I didn't copy and paste that!),
Spike, being an ex-member of a criminal syndicate, has a past, a past that catches up to him in the form of Vicious, one of the best villains in anime.
The series doesn't really get going until episode 5, which is my favourite episode in any anime ever.
The animation, for it's time, bearing in mind that this was released in 1998, is absolutely phenomenal. It's so wonderfully detailed and coloured.
The dub is, in this reviews humble opinion, one of the best dubs ever, with the talents of Steve Blum and Beau Billingslea as Spike and Jet, respectively.
The music really does speak for itself, this being a Watanabe vehicle you can bet that it has a heavy emphasis on a certain genre - this one being jazz. The opening is one of the most well known openings of all time (dada-dada-dada-dadaaaaa-daaaaaa) and for good reason, it's incredible.
However, that's not my favourite piece of music, that would go to the ending, 'The Real Folk Blues'. It's incredibly atmospheric and it's beautiful.
To summarise, this is an anime masterpiece that you should definitely watch.
on 3 April 2014
Maybe. Deep characters that don't conform to clichés, relatable story themes, humour, action, sorrow... It pretty much has it all.
Each episode usually tells a short story about the bounty head whilst giving development to the main characters and sometimes revealing bits about their past in a realistic way (for example, when certain things naturally come up in conversation or characters from their past return). As most episodes are a story of their own, some will be more entertaining and relatable to some than others and with varying themes and atmospheres to each, you're bound to find some you love and some that you don't. However, there was never an episode I thought was boring or stupid and the high points in the anime were extremely high. Unlike most animes I have seen, I thought it was consistent and ended with a satisfying and believable conclusion which left me with a positive lasting impression.
The animation is also very fluid and impressive, especially for an anime created in 1998, it's better than a lot of today's animes. Voice acting is good, the English dub is very good for the main characters, some characters who were only in one episode were a bit expressionless though, however, the vast majority were very well portrayed.
I'd definitely recommend to any anime fan and even to those who don't like anime because it doesn't suffer from most of the problems common in animes (such as annoying, boring or generic characters, plot holes and fan service).
on 26 December 2015
A must own for any anime fan/collector.
Cowboy Bebop is an anime which easily stands the test of time, being made prior the establishment of overused anime tropes and archetype characters allowing for an original ensemble of characters that for anime fans will feel refreshingly new and for fans of Western sci-fis or Westerns will feel comfortably familiar with.
It is an anime which pays a lot of homage from Westerns to horror sci-fis, the direction by Watanabe is perfectly apt and visible (especially when he reuses imagery first established here in his later works). The English dub and soundtrack is perfect, you can really tell that this was during the era where the English redubbing business was really beginning to mature and put effort into the translation and character portrayal and the English dub actors are seamless throughout. As for the soundtrack it is truly unique and not limited to one particular genre of music ranging from it's jazzy opening to rock and even choir melodies. Overall a must watch and must have in mine, and a lot of anime fans, opinion.
on 8 January 2016
I saw the movie a while ago and enjoyed it, so when I saw the series (26 episodes with the ones they didn't originally air) at a really good price I jumped at the chance to see it. I'm glad I did.The animation is good and the characters well designed but that does nothing without a good story and personalities. And Cowboy Bebop has these in spades.
Every character has a backstory and hidden depths, even Ed who is the most "anime" in drawing and animation despite being designed on the shows composer!. The ending made me sad as I didn't want things to wind up that way (no spoilers from me, sorry) but most of the episodes were enjoyable with even some unconsidered things adding to the overall story arcs.
Well worth watching and savouring - 6 discs with "commentary episode" extras for the most part, disc 1 has things like clean credits, music video for Tank!...
Oh by the way the music is also famous and justly so. The only thing better would be the BluRay...
on 15 September 2013
Because Cowboy Bebop was heavily influenced by western sci-fi greats and music, it does away with almost every anime cliche in the book. The end result is the perfect marriage of what makes anime great, and what makes western sci-fi great.
The good -
The story and script is perfect. Shocking moments, amazing and hilarious dialogue, great characters. EVERY corner of the storytelling puts other anime and TV shows to shame. Action in this is masterful - certain fight scenes are done so well that I found myself rewinding the episode just to watch it again.
The art style and direction is jaw-dropping. There are so many memorable scenes where you'll think "this could be a painting!". All the ships, locations and characters look original and just plain cool.
The music is probably my favorite part of the show. It's a mix of neo-noir jazz and 90's indie rock, but with a few other genres thrown in. Every music track is used expertly and fits the scene so damn well. You'll find yourself grinning at how well the music accompanies certain scenes.
The bad -
There is a reason this is considered the greatest anime that ever lived. It throws away everything you know and hate about anime, but keeps everything you love. It combines everything great about western and eastern TV into a sprawling sci fi epic. Dark action and themes have never been married so well to feelgood comedy and characters. Music, art and atmosphere has never been so perfectly achieved. I literally cant find enough words to describe this masterpiece. Just buy it!
oh, and the english dub is very good.
on 26 March 2014
Anyone who has never seen cowboy bebop owes it to themselves to witness one of the greatest animes of all time. Its as near to perfect as you can get, everything about it flows together buetifuly, from the great animation to excellent cast and voice acting, it all just works. This anime also features a very good musical score and primarily make suse of jazz,funk,blues, metal and even a bit of drum and bass. Very ewmotional but also makes you laugh too with not a boring moment in a single episode.
Do the right thing, buy it and enjoy the ride!