Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop was one of the first series to get me interested in the 'anime' genre. Set in the year 2071, its twenty-six half-hour episodes follow the exploits of a group of oddball characters, most of them travelling on the spaceship Bebop.

It was the style of the animation that first drew me to the series. It is primarily anime, but has definite hints of european works, especially the film-noir genre. I was also reminded of Herge's Tin Tin series in the way the characters move and interact, and Sergio Leone's movies in the pacing of many of the action sequences.

I can vividly recall watching it with my kidz on a Eurocamp holiday in Britanny (when they were still young!). The Cowboy Bebop viewing became the finale to each day. After an evening meal at a nearby restaurant, we would walk back to our caravan to huddle around my Pismo laptop and watch a few episodes. I can still remember the four-part chorus of 'Oh Dad, just ONE more episode!'.

The music is excellent, and an integral part of the series. Many anime films employ cookie-cutter eurodisco-influenced intros and outros. The Bebop soundtrack (performed by Yoko Kanno and The Seatbelts) mixes jazz, blues and American-rock styles. Many of the action sequences are set and timed to music.

The first two characters we meet are Spike Spiegel and Jet Black, down-on-their-luck bounty hunters piloting their ex-fishing trawler spaceship from mission to mission. Spike is a good-looking, free-living former member of the Red Dragon Crime Syndicate. Jet is a world-weary former Police officer and owner of the Bebop.

Ein is a Welsh Corgi and former lab animal. He is treated as a pet, but humour is generated by the fact that he obviously possesses quite advanced intelligence, a fact that is ignored by the rest of the crew.

Faye Valentine is a gorgeous, intelligent, infuriating, gambling-addicted crazy-lady who doesn't wear very much. The mysterious nature of her past is gradually unravelled during the series.

Edward is a likeable, child-like computer genius. Boy-like but female, she spends most of her time with Ein.

Most of the episodes follow the chasing of a specific bounty, while investigating and connecting the backgrounds of the main characters. Action, humour and intrigue are high in the mix of most epsiodes. And unlike most anime, the plots are tight and complex.

Writing this has reminded me how much I enjoyed it. Word of warning to my kidz, I'm packing the DVDs for our trip to Frejus this year.

1 comment:

soraneko said...

*jumps in front of the screen and wiggles hands up and down to "Tank"*

S'fine by me, I've been meaning to re-watch that for ages! Hehe