I just finished the last episodes of the anime classic that is cowboy bebop. And I must say the series still holds up to its legacy after 20 years. It’s not just the animation style and quality that keeps me glued to the screen. It’s also the excellent musical score but above all, the storytelling.
Let’s just start with stating that it was not the story that triggered me in the first place rewatch it. It was the question why Cowboy Bebop holds a special place in my, and many other people’s heart. It was about halfway through the 26 episode series that I discovered why: Cowboy Bebop tells a story about humans.
Human behaviour and emotions are the foundation of this series. And this behaviour and emotions that is so skillfully crafted around these characters that slowly pulls you in. And it all seems to centre around a main theme of people who are searching for a place where they belong while struggling with personal issues.
For example Spike is trying to find if he’s alive. He feels like he’s trapped in his past while witnessing present event unfold before him. Because of his past experience, he keeps other people at a distance so they cannot be involved and possibly get hurt by his actions.
When we look at Faye we see at first glance a character with no past or future, so she is trying to find meaning in her life while living in the present, not thinking or wondering about both.
These character developments are explored in several episodes, with an eventual resolution of some kind in the last two episodes (though probably not the one these characters envisioned). But it is certainly not the main bulk of the series. The show is highly episodic in nature, which allows for watching most episodes in a random order. It also rewards the viewer for a rewatch of the series, just so you better understand the decisions characters take at certain points during the episodes. And it allows you to have a deeper understanding of the human stories that are told in the episodes.
It sure helps that the entirety of the series is drenched in a stellar (pun intended) and methodically crafted blues and jazz soundtrack which increases viewing pleasure, and deepens the human emotion of the action on screen.
To me, Cowboy Bebop is one of the rare series that can be watched and enjoyed by almost everyone. It just shows that, no matter the fantastical setting of your show, human behaviour and emotions connects viewers with the characters.*
Until next time.
*The Game of Thrones tv series is a current example