9/3/10: The Best Damn Anime Series. Ever.

Today’s recommendation: Cowboy Bebop.

Cowboy Bebop only ran for one season in 1998. Unlike most other amazing, genre shows, it was not cancelled before its time. The show was always intended to finish in a single season. When the story was complete, that was it. Nobody tried to drag it out.

It’s not a perfect show, but it’s close.

Wikipedia lists the following genres that are applicable to Cowboy Bebop: space opera, planetary romance, action-adventure, crime fiction, tech noir, tragedy, science fiction, and black comedy. If absolutely none of these genres interest you, then . . . okay, maybe you wouldn’t like it. But for everyone who doesn’t only watch documentaries, this is a phenomenal series, people. It’s dark, funny, layered, and brilliant. Also, it has great jazz and blues music. Music’s is hugely important to the show. There’s, like, musical themes and everything.

Super briefly: the Bebop is a space ship. Spike (antihero with a dark past), Jet (ex-cop with a cybernetic arm), Faye (femme fatale with a gambling problem), Ed (oddball child genius hacker) and Ein (the smartest Corgi ever) are bounty hunters on it. Okay, Ein’s not really a bounty hunter, but trust me: he does a lot of the work. They chase around the galaxy, trying to catch a bounty while simultaneously trying to keep their respective pasts from catching up with them. It doesn’t usually work.

As a side note: the English dubbing of this show is really, truly incredible. I know it’s a Japanese show and all, but honestly, I prefer the English voicework. It’s hard for me to listen to the characters without the great voice-actors behind them. They aren’t interchangeable for me, as they are on some other animes. Of course, this is a matter of personal preference. If you like it with subtitles better, have at it. It’s still awesome.

I should also mention: a Cowboy Bebop movie was made, and I’d own it for the collection, but it’s really only so-so. It’s certainly not a great example of the series as a whole. Rumors have circulated for some time now that people want to make a live-action Cowboy Bebop movie. Rumors for the casting of Spike Spiegel? Keanu Reeves.

I hope that if this ever happens, you will join me in an Annual Day of Spike Mourning.

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