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No More Real Folk Or Asteroid Blues
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!