Conner’s Critique: Cowboy Bebop (Original Anime)

We are really excited about getting to jump into the world of Cowboy Bebop again. A lot of us here at Nerd News Social loved this series as children. Me personally, I’m not a huge fan of Anime, but there are just some shows that stood out and I loved. Inuyasha, Trigun, Fullmetal Alchemist, and of course Cowboy Bebop. Thanks to the release of the live-action series, the whole and only season of Cowboy Bebop Anime is available for watching on Netflix.

So to prepare for the new series, and ultimately our review, I jumped back into the world of cowboy bounty hunters and soulful jazz! As always we break down the critiques of the three categories: Story, Acting, and Overall.

STORY: 7/10
The story of the anime is about two bounty hunters who struggle in an over corporate future, where it’s hard to make an honest buck. With a lot of backstories and something to run from, the pilot Jet and his ever-skilled partner Spike end up usually doing more damage which costs them their coveted bounties.

As they journey through space, they encounter villains and locations that create a vivid universe that somehow feels like the wild west and sci-fi at the same time. It probably doesn’t hurt that this series was released in the late 90s, and it was hard to predict the future would be so… small.

My one frustration, which you guys will understand in a couple of days, is that the stories of this series are disjointed and formatted in a way that does not support linear storytelling. The series seems like it was designed to be more like a bounty of the week series, then halfway through the show, it turns into a deeper story with the characters delving into their history. While right after a two-part episode, it goes right back to bounty of the week, it once again returns to a deeper story at the end.

I would have liked a more linear story personally, but we’ll get to that soon.

ACTING: 9/10
All the acting in this series is of course performed by voice actors, and the skilled and prolific Steve Blum voices the main character from the series Spike Spiegel, and without his gruff and subtle snark, the character wouldn’t have been as charismatic for a younger me. As an adult, I can still appreciate the skill of this actor as he makes the show as powerful as it is. Beau Billingslea does an amazing job as a straight man and constant adult in the room Jet Black. There is a lot of pain, frustration, and love behind this character, although he may never outwardly say it. With a character so stoic, you need a skilled voice actor to perform it, and Billingslea does a great job.

Oddly enough Faye Valentine is usually viewed as a one-dimensional femme fatale by people looking back into the series, but those people have been blinded by time. Faye, as voiced by Wendee Lee, is the most layered character with the biggest character growth. While she starts off as a con artist, the voice actor gets the chance to act in many ranges depending on the con at the time. Additionally, as she finds growth through the series, and her past, we get to see a very deep and emotional character.

I am going to say something that might get me a bit of hate… I hate Ed. As a child, I loved the screeching voice of Melissa Fahn playing the hyper super-intelligent Edward. Now as an adult I find the voice grating, and the character frustrating. Maybe I’m just old, maybe she is a vestige of a different time, it’s hard to tell as a now fully grown-up man in his late 30s.

All this said, even if I hate Edward now as an adult, I loved the whole cast and how well they performed their complex characters.

One of the things I really liked about this series was the music. Almost every episode felt unique, with its style and design almost matched to the music and genre of the episode, all with a space western bow on top. Whether it be jazz, classical, or even heavy metal, the series really introduced its viewers to the wide and amazing world of music.

While its violence and adult nature was probably a bit too mature for me when I originally enjoyed it, I honestly feel like its unique world helped me appreciate different styles as it took me on a journey throughout varied genres and cultures showcased within the series.

While this definitely isn’t a show you should watch with the little ones, it definitely has held up, with the exception of a couple of outlier episodes that are a bit boring.

Conner Eric’s Final Thought(s):
The original series premiered on April 3, 1998, the show Firefly premiered on September 20, 2002. I don’t want to say that Joss Whedon stole the idea from the series, but there are so many facets of that live-action show that reminded me of Cowboy Bebop, and part of the reason that I loved Firefly.

A lot of people are upset that the actions of Whedon might re-color and taint our well-loved favorite shows, but for those who loved Firefly, but are hesitant to celebrate the series anymore, then you should check out the Cowboy Bebop anime, and the live-action show later this month!

Make sure to watch the live-action series Here on November 19, 2021 when it arrives on Netflix!

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