Cowboy Bebop

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Cowboy bebop)
Jump to: navigation, search
Cowboy Bebop
Cowboy Bebop Limited Edition DVD Box Set
(Kaubōi Bibappu)
Genre Crime fiction, sci-fi noir, space western
Anime television series
Directed by Shinichirō Watanabe
Produced by Masahiko Minami
Kazuhiko Ikeguchi
Written by Keiko Nobumoto
Music by Yoko Kanno
Studio Sunrise
Licensed by
Anime Limited
Network TV Tokyo (1998)
WOWOW (1998-1999)
Animax (2008-present)
English network
Razer (2006)
Adult Swim (2001-present)
Original run Aborted TV Tokyo run:
  • April 3, 1998 – June 26, 1998
Complete WOWOW run:
October 24, 1998
April 24, 1999
Episodes 26 (List of episodes)
Cowboy Bebop: Shooting Star
Written by Hajime Yatate
Illustrated by Cain Kuga
Published by Kadokawa Shoten
English publisher
Demographic Shōjo
Magazine Asuka Fantasy DX
Original run May 1998October 1998
Volumes 2 (List of volumes)
Written by Hajime Yatate
Illustrated by Yutaka Nanten
Published by Kadokawa Shoten
English publisher
Demographic Shōjo
Magazine Asuka Fantasy DX
Original run April 1999April 2000
Volumes 3 (List of volumes)
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Cowboy Bebop (カウボーイビバップ Kaubōi Bibappu?) is a 1998 Japanese anime series developed by Sunrise. It featured a production team led by director Shinichirō Watanabe, screenwriter Keiko Nobumoto, character designer Toshihiro Kawamoto, mechanical designer Kimitoshi Yamane, and composer Yoko Kanno. The twenty-six episodes (sessions) of the series are set in the year 2071. It follows the adventures, misadventures and tragedies of a bounty hunter crew travelling on the Bebop, their starship. Cowboy Bebop explores philosophical concepts including existentialism, existential ennui, loneliness, and the past's influence.[1]

The series premiered in Japan on TV Tokyo's 18:00 timeslot originally occupied by Kodomo no Omocha, from April 3 until June 26, 1998, broadcasting only twelve episodes and a special due to its controversial adult-themed content. The entire twenty-six episodes of the series were later broadcast on WOWOW from October 24 until April 24, 1999. The anime was adapted into two manga series which were serialized in Kadokawa Shoten's Asuka Fantasy DX. A film was later released to theaters worldwide.

The anime series was dubbed in the English language by Animaze and ZRO Limit Productions, and was licensed by Bandai Entertainment in North America and is now licensed by Funimation. For English releases in the United Kingdom, it was licensed by Beez Entertainment and is now licensed by Anime Limited. Madman Entertainment has licensed it for releases in Australia and New Zealand. In 2001, Cowboy Bebop became the first anime title to be broadcast on Adult Swim in the United States.

Cowboy Bebop became a critical and commercial success both in Japanese and international markets, most notably in the United States. The series garnered several major anime and science fiction awards from Japanese publications, and received universal praise for its style, characters, story, voice acting, animation and soundtrack. In the years since its release, critics and reviewers, from the United States in particular, have hailed Cowboy Bebop as a masterpiece and frequently cite it as one of the greatest anime series of all time. Credited with helping introduce anime to a new wave of Western viewers in the early 2000s, Cowboy Bebop has also been labelled a gateway series for the medium as a whole.



The series is set in the year 2071, when the entire Solar System has been made accessible through hyperspace gates. In 2022, an explosion of an experimental hyperspace gateway severely damages the Moon, resulting in a debris ring and meteor bombardments that eradicate a large portion of the Earth's population. As a result, many survivors abandon the barely habitable Earth to colonize the inner planets, the asteroid belt and the moons of Jupiter.[2][3]

Mars has become the new central hub of human civilization, and interplanetary crime syndicates exert influence over the government and the Inter-Solar System Police (ISSP), limiting their effectiveness. As a result, a bounty system similar to that in the Old West is established to deal with fugitives, terrorists, and other criminals; the bounty hunters involved are frequently termed "cowboys".[2] The standard currency is the woolong, which is roughly equivalent to the present-day Japanese yen.[3]

The technology in Cowboy Bebop's world is a mixture of futuristic (cybernetics, jump gates, energy weapons) and modern (wheeled cars, handguns, zippo-styled lighters). Yet, even advanced technology often looks a bit older and battered.[3]

The three main classes of vehicles present are ground vehicles, air vehicles and space vehicles. Ground vehicles are wheeled automobiles not much different from modern automobiles. Aircraft are mostly jet-powered, although helicopters are also seen. Spaceships range in size from small one-man fighters to immense passenger liners and cargo ships.[3]


The series revolves around the adventures undertaken by the crew of the spaceship Bebop. The crew is made up of five main characters: Spike Spiegel, an exiled hitman of the ruthless Red Dragon Syndicate; Jet Black, a former ISSP officer who retired following a mob hit that cost him his arm; Faye Valentine, an amnesiac con artist who awakened in the future after a lengthy period of cryogenic hibernation; "Radical" Edward, a barefooted preteen girl who is a prolific computer hacker; and Ein, a hyper-intelligent, genetically-engineered Welsh Corgi dog.

Throughout the series, Bebop crew members deal with unresolved issues from their pasts, and the show regularly utilizes flashbacks to illustrate the history of the main characters. The day-to-day life of the crew is also explored throughout the series.


From left to right: Ein, Edward, Spike Spiegel, Jet Black and Faye Valentine
  • Spike Spiegel is a former member of the Red Dragon Crime Syndicate. Spike is a master in firearms and hand-to-hand combat, practicing Jeet Kune Do, and is also a skilled pilot. He flies a red customized Mono Racer, an atmosphere-capable spacecraft called Swordfish II. His right eye is cybernetic. He is haunted by the memory of his time in the syndicate, and particularly by his romantic relationship with a mysterious woman named Julia, and his conflict with arch-rival and former syndicate partner, Vicious. He is also a pickpocket. He is the first bounty hunter to debut.
  • Jet Black is a former ISSP (Inter-Solar System Police) detective and is the owner of the Bebop. Once called The Black Dog by his fellow officers, he left the ISSP in disgust due to its corruption and red tape, and turned to bounty hunting as a way to apply justice. Although medical science could replace his lost arm, he voluntarily wears a cybernetic prosthetic as a reminder of the consequences of rushing into danger. He also owns a small yellow utility ship called Hammerhead. The Hammerhead has been equipped with a mechanical claw, and a harpoon that can be used as a tow cable. Like Spike, he too is haunted by the memory of a woman, Alisa, his longtime girlfriend who left him without reason. He is the second bounty hunter to debut.
  • Faye Valentine is a novice bounty hunter with a gambling addiction. She joins the crew of the Bebop uninvited, to the consternation of Jet and Spike. Though she abandons the ship several times during the course of the series, her attachment to the crew always brings her back. These feelings are apparently reciprocated, as Jet and Spike always allow her to return despite claiming they're pleased to see her leave. She pilots a generic heavy spacecraft called Red Tail, which gets its name from the red flap on the back of the otherwise pale blue ship, and has been heavily modified with armament and tracking sensors. Her gambling, cheating, and competitive skills are unrivaled except by Spike. Much of her past and her real last name are a mystery, however it appears that she was severely injured in a space shuttle accident and was then cryogenically frozen until she could be healed. This expensive medical procedure left her deeply in debt, made worse when she inherited the debts of her husband (a man who married her shortly after her surgery, then later faked his death in an automobile accident). She emerges from the cryonic sleep in an amnesiac state, from which she eventually recovers. All vestiges of her past — home, family, possessions — are gone. She is the fourth bounty hunter to debut.
  • Ed is a young computer genius and master hacker. She uses the alias Radical Edward when hacking. Ed is a girl, though her name and androgynous appearance suggest otherwise. She had followed the travels of the Bebop before encountering the ship, and agrees to help the crew track down a bounty-head in exchange for becoming a member of the crew. Although extremely intelligent, Ed is still a child, and looks up to the crew of the Bebop as members of her family. She uses the fanciful name Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivruski IV, but an odd encounter with her father reveals that her real name is Françoise Appledelhi. She spends much of her time with Ein. She is the fifth and last bounty hunter to debut.
  • Ein is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, a former lab animal identified as a "data dog" by the scientists who reared him. The scientists used him for unspecified experiments, enhancing him to give him extraordinary data-sniffing and pattern-recognition abilities. It is suggested that he possesses enhanced intelligence, which he subtly displays throughout the series, including showing the ability to speak to other animals (and possibly Ed), and perfectly hacking the Scratch website in session #23. The rest of the Bebop crew, with the exception of Ed, often fail to notice these qualities and treat Ein as an average pet. He is the third bounty hunter to debut.
  • Vicious is a grim enforcer of the Red Dragon Crime Syndicate, a former friend of Spike and now his nemesis. Vicious wields a katana for a weapon and is always accompanied by a strange, crow-like bird perched on his shoulder. He lives up to his name both through his violent actions and his treacherous scheming within the syndicate. Vicious is the series' only recurring antagonist, appearing in five episodes.


In the late 1990s the space adventure genre was a very popular TV theme in Japan. Notable examples of such include Sunrise's Outlaw Star and Madhouse's Trigun. Sunrise became very enthusiastic to create a series of the same genre and consequently assigned its top talents towards its development.[4]

The leader of the creative team was director Shinichiro Watanabe, most notable at the time for directing Macross Plus, the futuristic adventure anime OVA series, and Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory.[4] Other leading members of Sunrise's creative team were screenwriter Keiko Nobumoto, character designer Toshihiro Kawamoto, mechanical art designer Kimitoshi Yamane and composer Yoko Kanno. Most of them had previously worked together, in addition to having credits on other popular anime titles. Nobumoto had scripted Macross Plus, Kawamoto had designed the characters for Gundam, and Kanno had composed the music for Macross Plus and The Vision of Escaflowne. Yamane had not worked with Watanabe yet, but his credits in anime included Bubblegum Crisis and The Vision of Escaflowne.[2]

Watanabe wanted to create a program that would also appeal to adults, exploring a number of philosophical concepts and themes in the process. The most important of the many elements of Cowboy Bebop were its existentialist and philosophical concepts.[2] The dialogue of the series was kept "clean", but its level of sophistication was appropriate to adults in a criminal milieu. Themes such as drug dealing and homosexuality were key elements of some episodes.[5]

The series' art direction centers on American music and counterculture, especially the beat and jazz movements of the 1940s–1960s and the early rock and roll era of the 1950s–1970s, which the original soundtrack by Yoko Kanno and the Seatbelts defines.[6]

The atmospheres of the planets and racial groups in Cowboy Bebop mostly originate from Watanabe's ideas, with some collaboration from set designers Isamu Imakake, Shoji Kawamori, and Dai Satou. The staff of Cowboy Bebop established the particular atmospheres early in the production. In early production, ethnic groups were not fully established. Watanabe wanted to have many racial groups appear in Cowboy Bebop.[7]

Mars was the planet most often used in storylines in Cowboy Bebop. Satoshi Toba, the cultural and setting producer, explained that other planets "were unexpectedly difficult to use". Toba explained that each planet in Cowboy Bebop had unique features, and in the plot the producers had to take into account the characteristics of each planet. Toba explained that it was not possible for the staff of Cowboy Bebop to have a dramatic rooftop scene occur on Venus, so "we ended up normally falling back to Mars".[7]


Style and appeal[edit]

Several planets and space stations in the series are shown to be made in the Earth's image. The streets of celestial objects such as Ganymede resemble a modern port city, while Mars is replete with shopping malls, theme parks, casinos and cities. Cowboy Bebop's universe is filled with video players and hyperspace gates, eco-politics and fairgrounds, spaceships and Native American shamans. Futuristic elements are combined with the modern elements, "allowing audiences to easily connect with the Cowboy Bebop world".[8]

In his review of Cowboy Bebop, Miguel Douglas, editor-in-chief of, describes the style of the series:

the series distinctly establishes itself outside the realm of conventional Japanese animation and instead chooses to forge its own path. With a setting within the realm of science fiction, the series wisely offers a world that seems entirely realistic considering our present time. Free from many of the elements that accompany science fiction in general — whether that be space aliens, giant robots, or laser guns — the series delegates itself towards presenting a world that is quite similar to our own albeit showcasing some technological advances. Certainly not as pristine a future we would see in other series or films, Cowboy Bebop decides to deliver a future that closely reflects that of our own time. This aspect of familiarity does wonders in terms of relating to the viewer, and it presents a world that certainly resembles our very own.[9]

Daryl Surat of Otaku USA commented on the series' "broad-ranging" appeal due to its style:

Cowboy Bebop was that rare breed of science-fiction: "accessible". Unlike many anime titles, viewers weren’t expected to have knowledge of Asian culture — character names, signs, and the like were primarily in English to begin with — or have seen any other anime series prior.[10]

Susan J. Napier argues, in her book Anime from Akira to Princess Mononoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation, that anime increasingly "exists at a nexus point in global culture…an amorphous new media territory that crosses and intermingles national boundaries". Napier goes on to point out that many Japanese commentators refer to anime with the term mukokuseki, meaning "stateless".[11] This implies that much anime is not specifically Japanese and therefore lacks a distinct national identity. Napier states that this "very quality of 'statelessness' has increasing attraction in our global culture". It is said that Cowboy Bebop reflects this and it is a great part of the show's appeal.[8]

Genre and cultural references[edit]

Cowboy Bebop pays homage to several films. This scene from "Ballad of Fallen Angels" is influenced by John Woo's The Killer.[8][12]

Watanabe's main inspiration for Cowboy Bebop was Lupin III, a crime anime series from the late 1970s through the mid-1980s.[4] According to Watanabe, the series paid subtle tribute to his favorite American films and series, which were shown in Japan during that time, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Bruce Lee films, films with blues or jazz soundtracks, as well as Blaxploitation films. Individual movies from Alien to Midnight Run were pastiched.[2]

The series covered genres such as comedy, detective caper, action and thriller. The musical style was emphasized in many of the episode titles, which were in English, such as: Asteroid Blues, Honky Tonk Woman, Ballad of Fallen Angels, Heavy Metal Queen, etc.[2] The anime draws heavily on Western sources, such as pulp detective stories, film noir, and American Westerns. There are also strong Hong Kong influences, mainly of the heroic bloodshed mold which includes films such as The Killer or Hard Boiled.[3][13][14]

These continual borrowings from other genres and cultural products create a familiar access point for a western audience and perhaps in some part explain Cowboy Bebop's popularity. The sense of the familiar is emphasised and reinforced by popular culture references throughout the series. Kung fu films are an obvious influence. In Stray Dog Strut the final fight between Spike and Hakim is influenced by Bruce Lee's Game of Death while in Waltz for Venus, Spike's kung fu lesson is similar to a scene from Lee's Enter the Dragon.[8]

Big Shot, the fictional news source within Cowboy Bebop which provides information on various bounty heads.

The genre of the western is another influence on Cowboy Bebop. The most obvious reference is in the title of the show, immediately suggesting a lawless society. There are further examples throughout; a show called Big Shot informs the characters of the current bounties, the crew continually come across saloons and desert worlds and engage in gunfights and stand-offs. The show has a perpetual sense of lawlessness – both from the bounties they chase and from within the crew of the Bebop itself.[8]

Similarly science fiction is another key influence, not only in the spaceship and the futuristic setting. A homage of the Alien films is made in the episode Toys in the Attic when an unseen predator stalks the crew. In Wild Horses the influence of Star Wars pervades throughout.[8]

The flavor of film noir permeates Cowboy Bebop. This is especially prevalent in the character of Jet Black, a former cop who rails against the corruption of the police force but is thrown into a semi-lawless state of bounty hunting. As in film noir, characters are morally ambiguous – none more so than Faye Valentine who betrays her allies in the pursuit of a big bounty. The big-city rain-slicked settings of film noir are continually used, especially in the episode Ganymede Elegy. Other visual and aural cues are also taken from film noir, in Pierrot Le Fou for instance, Spike battles an enraged homicidal clown across a fairground, accompanied by lighting and camera angles film noir would use.[8][15]


One of the most notable elements of Cowboy Bebop is its music. Episodes follow a different musical theme,[16] and episode titles are borrowed from notable album or song names (e.g. Sympathy for the Devil and Bohemian Rhapsody) or make use of a genre name (Mushroom Samba and Heavy Metal Queen).

Performed by Yoko Kanno and Seatbelts, a band Kanno assembled to perform music for the series, the jazz and blues themed soundtrack helps define the show as much as the characters, writing, and animation. Cowboy Bebop was voted by IGN in 2006 as having the greatest soundtrack for an anime.[17]

Theme songs[edit]

Opening themes
# Transcription/Translation Performed by Episodes
1 "Tank!" The Seatbelts 1–25
Ending themes
# Transcription/Translation Performed by Episodes
1 "The Real Folk Blues" The Seatbelts feat. Mai Yamane 1–12, 14–25
2 "Space Lion" The Seatbelts 13
3 "Blue" The Seatbelts feat. Mai Yamane 26



Cowboy Bebop almost did not appear on Japanese broadcast television due to its depictions of graphic violence. It was first sent to TV Tokyo, one of the main broadcasters of anime in Japan. The show had an aborted first run from April 3 until June 26, 1998, on TV Tokyo, broadcasting only episodes 2, 3, 7 to 15, 18 and a special, after which it was canceled due to low ratings.[18] Later that year, the series was shown in its entirety from October 24 until April 24, 1999, on satellite network WOWOW. Because of TV Tokyo's cancellation of the anime, the production schedule was disrupted to the extent that the last episode was delivered to WOWOW on the day of its broadcast.[clarification needed][19] The full series has also been broadcast across Japan by anime television network Animax, which has also aired the series via its respective networks across Southeast Asia, South Asia and East Asia.

In the United States, on September 2, 2001, Cowboy Bebop became the first anime title to be shown as part of the U.S.Adult Swim Launch.[20] It was successful enough to be broadcast repeatedly for four years. It was rerun again in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013. In the United Kingdom it was first broadcast in 2002 as one of the highlights of the ill-fated "cartoon network for adults", CNX. From November 6, 2007, it was repeated on AnimeCentral until the channel's closure in August 2008. In Australia, Cowboy Bebop was first broadcast on pay-TV in 2002 on Adult Swim in Australia. It was broadcast on Sci Fi Channel on Foxtel. In Australia, Cowboy Bebop was first broadcast on free-to-air-TV on ABC2 (the national digital public television channel) on January 2, 2007.[21] It has been repeated several times, most recently starting in 2008.[22][23] Cowboy Bebop: The Movie also aired again on February 23, 2009, on SBS (a hybrid-funded Australian public broadcasting television network). In Canada, Cowboy Bebop was first broadcast on December 24, 2006, on Razer.

Home media[edit]

DVD name Content Release date
Session One

Episodes 1–5

April 4, 2000
Session Two

Episodes 6–10

May 2, 2000
Session Three

Episodes 11–14

July 13, 2000
Session Four

Episodes 15–18

April 4, 2001
Session Five

Episodes 19–22

May 2, 2001
Session Six

Episodes 23–26

July 13, 2001
The Perfect Sessions
  • Episodes 1–26
  • Cowboy Bebop OST 1
  • Collectors Art Box
November 6, 2001
Best Sessions


Nov 19, 2002

Cowboy Bebop has been released in three separate editions in North America.

The first release was sold in 2000 individually, and featured uncut versions of the original 26 episodes. In 2001, these DVDs were collected in the special edition Perfect Sessions which included the first 6 DVDs, the first Cowboy Bebop soundtrack, and a collector's box. At the time of release, the art box from the Perfect Sessions was made available for purchase on The Right Stuff International as a solo item for collectors who already owned the series.[24]

The second release, The Best Sessions, was sold in 2002 and featured what Bandai considered to be the best 6 episodes of the series remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS surround sound.[25]

The third release, Cowboy Bebop Remix, was also distributed on 6 discs and included the original 26 uncut episodes, with sound remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 and video remastered under the supervision of Shinichiro Watanabe. This release also included various extras that were not present in the original release.[26] Cowboy Bebop Remix was itself collected as the Cowboy Bebop Remix DVD Collection in 2008.

A fourth release in Blu-Ray format was released on December 21, 2012 exclusively in Japan.[27][28]

In December 2012, newly founded distributor Anime Limited announced via Facebook and Twitter that they had acquired the home video license for the United Kingdom. Part 1 of the Blu-Ray collection was released on July 29, 2013, while Part 2 was released on October 14. The standard DVD Complete Collection was originally meant to be released on September 23, 2013 with Part 2 of the Blu-Ray release but due to mastering and manufacturing errors, the Complete Collection was delayed until November 27.[citation needed] Following the closure of Bandai Entertainment in 2012, Funimation and Sunrise had announced that they rescued Cowboy Bebop, along with a handful of other former Bandai Entertainment properties, for Blu-ray and digital release in 2014.[29][30]

Related media[edit]


Two manga series adaptations were published by Kadokawa Shoten and serialized in Asuka Fantasy DX. The first manga series titled Cowboy Bebop: Shooting Star (シューティングスタービバップ―カウボーイビバップ Shūtingu sutā bibappu - kaubōi bibappu ?, lit. "Shooting Star Bebop - Cowboy Bebop") was written and illustrated by Cain Kuga, distributed in North America by Tokyopop and was collected into two volumes.

The second manga series simply titled Cowboy Bebop written by Hajime Yatate and illustrated by Yukuta Nanten. The manga was released in Japan by Kadokawa Shoten, in North America by Tokyopop, in Poland by JPF and in Australia by Madman Entertainment. It was collected into three volumes.[31][32]

Video games[edit]

Bandai released a Cowboy Bebop video game in Japan for PlayStation in 1998. A PlayStation 2 video game, Cowboy Bebop: Tsuioku no Serenade, was released in Japan, and the English version had been set for release in North America during the first quarter of 2006. However, in November 2007, GameSpot reported that the release had been cancelled, likely due to the Bandai-Namco merger.[33]


An anime film titled Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (also known as Cowboy Bebop the Movie: Knockin' on Heaven's Door (劇場版 カウボーイビバップ 天国の扉 Gekijōban Kaubōi Bibappu: Tengoku no Tobira?, titled Cowboy Bebop: Heaven's Door in English) was released in Japan on September 2001 and in the United States in 2003.

On July 22, 2008, If published an article on its website regarding a rumor of a live-action Cowboy Bebop movie in development by 20th Century Fox. Producer Erwin Stoff said that the film's development was in the early stages, and that they had "just signed it".[34][35] Keanu Reeves was to play the role of Spike Spiegel.[36][37] Variety confirmed on January 15, 2009, that production company Sunrise Animation would be "closely involved with the development of the English language project". The site also confirmed Kenji Uchida, Shinichiro Watanabe, and series writer Keiko Nobumoto as associate producers, series producer Masahiko Minami as a production consultant, and Peter Craig as screenwriter. This was lauded by various sources as a promising move for the potential quality of the film.[38] At the time it was slated to release in 2011, but problems with the budget delayed its production. The submitted script was sent back for rewrite to reduce the cost and little has been heard about it since an interview with producer Joshua Long on October 15, 2010;[39] the project currently languishes in development hell. On May 31, 2013, Watanabe stated that the film is currently "underway" but the "details are a secret."[40] On October 20, 2013 Reeves stated "Cowboy Bebop does not look like it is going to happen with me in it [...]" in a reddit IAmA.[41]


An official side story titled Cowboy Bebop: UT tells the story of Ural and Victoria Terpsichore (V.T. from the episode Heavy Metal Queen) when they were bounty hunters. The story was available in its own official site, however the site was closed and is currently available at the site mirror hosted by[42]


Cowboy Bebop has received universal critical acclaim, and upon release, it garnered several awards and rankings from different anime publications. Several reviewers from various anime websites have praised the series for its style, characters, story, voice acting, animation and soundtrack. Over the years since its release, Western critics and viewers in particular have hailed Cowboy Bebop as a masterpiece and frequently consider it as one of the best anime series of all time.

Critical reception[edit]

Anime News Network's Mike Crandol gave the series an 'A+' rating for the dubbed version, and an 'A' rating for the subbed version. He claimed the series was "one of the most popular and respected anime titles in history," before adding that it was "a unique television show which skillfully transcends all kinds of genres." Crandol praised its characters as "some of the most endearing characters to ever grace an anime," and commended the voice acting, especially the "flawless English cast," believing they "actually one-up the Japanese originals." He also complimented the series' "movie-quality" animation, "sophisticated" writing, and its "incredible" musical score. Crandol hailed Cowboy Bebop as a "landmark" anime "that will be remembered long after many others have been forgotten", and went on to call it "one of the greatest anime titles ever."[43]

T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews gave the entire series a perfect score of 5 out of 5 stars, with reviewer Christina Carpenter believing Cowboy Bebop as "one of the best [anime]" and touting it as a masterpiece that "puts most anime...and Hollywood, to shame." She described it as a "very stylish, beautifully crafted series that deserves much more attention than it gets." Carpenter praised the animation as "a rarity and a marvel to behold" and that it was "beyond superb," and the plot and characterization as having "a sophistication and subtlety that is practically one-of-a-kind." She also praised the soundtrack, and hailed the opening theme as one of the best intro pieces she had ever heard. Carpenter went to say that Bebop was a "must-have for any serious collector of Japanese animation."[44]

The Nihon Review's Kavik Ryx awarded Cowboy Bebop a maximum 10 out of 10. He praised the "fluid like water" animation, the "brilliant" jazz style soundtrack, the "quirky, dynamic, [...] likable" characters, the "epic" moments, the "fun" battles, and the English dub; he also described the story as "one of the most fun and addicting plots in anime." Ryx applauded Bebop as a "visually stunning" series with a style "that seems unique to anime," before noting the series' one drawback was that it "so well done" that it "could have gone longer."[45]


In the 1999 Anime Grand Prix awards for the anime of 1998, Cowboy Bebop won two 1st place awards: Spike Spiegel was awarded the best male character; and Megumi Hayashibara was awarded the best voice actor for her role as Faye Valentine. Cowboy Bebop also received rankings in other categories: the series itself was awarded the 2nd best anime series; Faye Valentine and Ed were ranked the 5th and 9th best female characters respectively; "Tank!" and "The Real Folk Blues" were ranked the 3rd and 15th best songs respectively; and "Ballad of Fallen Angels", "Speak Like a Child", "Jamming with Edward" and "Mish-Mash Blues" were ranked the 2nd, 8th, 18th and 20th best episodes respectively.[46]

In the 2000 Anime Grand Prix awards for the anime of 1999, Cowboy Bebop won the same two 1st place awards again: best male character for Spike Spiegel; and best voice actor for Megumi Hayashibara. Other rankings the series received are: 2nd best anime series; 6th best female character for Faye Valentine; 7th and 12th best song for "Tank!" and "Blue" respectively; and 3rd and 17th best episode for "The Real Folk Blues (Part 2)" and "Hard Luck Woman" respectively.[47] In the 2000 Seiun Awards, Cowboy Bebop was awarded for Best Media of the Year.[48]

A 2004 poll in Newtype USA, the US edition of the Japanese magazine Newtype, asked its readers to vote the "Top 25 Anime Titles of All Time"; Cowboy Bebop ranked 2nd on the list (after Neon Genesis Evangelion), placing it as one of the most socially relevant and influential anime series ever created.[49] In 2007, the American Anime magazine Anime Insider listed the "50 Best Anime Ever" by compiling lists of industry regulars and magazine staff, and ranked Cowboy Bebop as the #1 anime of all time.[50] In 2012, Madman Entertainment compiled the votes of fans online for "The Top 20 Madman Anime Titles" and ranked Cowboy Bebop at #7.[51]

Cowboy Bebop has been featured in several lists published by IGN. In the 2009 "Top 100 Animated TV Series" list, Cowboy Bebop, labelled as "a very original -- and arguably one of the best -- anime", was placed 14th, making it the second highest ranking anime on the list (after Evangelion) and one of the most influential series of the 1990s.[52] In 2011, Bebop was ranked 29th in the "Top 50 Sci-Fi TV Shows" list, once again being the second highest ranking anime on the list (after Evangelion).[53] In 2006, Cowboy Bebop's soundtrack was ranked #1 in "Top Ten Anime Themes and Soundtracks of All-Time" list, with the series being commented as "one of the best anime ever and certainly is tops when it comes to music."[54] Spike Spiegel was ranked 4th place in the "Top 25 Anime Characters of All Time" article.[55] IGN Movies also placed Cowboy Bebop in their list of "10 Cartoon Adaptations We'd Like to See".[56]


In March 2009, the print and web editions of The Onion's A.V. Club called Cowboy Bebop "rightly a huge hit", and listed it as a gateway series to understanding the medium of anime as a whole.[16]

American film director Rian Johnson has cited Cowboy Bebop as a visual influence on his film Brick.[57]

Continuation rumors[edit]

After the creation of the series, an interviewer asked Watanabe if he had any plans to create more Cowboy Bebop material. Watanabe responded by saying that he does not believe that he "should just keep on making Cowboy Bebop sequels for the sake of it". Watanabe added that ending production and "to quit while we're ahead when people still want more" is more "in keeping with the Bebop spirit".[58] In a more recent interview from 2006 with The Daily Texan, Watanabe was asked if there would ever be more Cowboy Bebop. Watanabe's answer was "someday...maybe, someday".[59]



  1. ^ "STAFF PICKS: OLD SCHOOL CARTOONS". The Vault Magazine. Retrieved May 12, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Patten, Fred (March 31, 2003). "Cowboy Bebop: The Movie… At Last". Animation World Network. p. 2. Retrieved May 2, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Surbrook, Michael. "SEE YOU SPACE COWBOY...GAMING IN THE WORLD OF COWBOY BEBOP". SURBROOK'S STUFF. Retrieved May 2, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c Patten, Fred (March 31, 2003). "Cowboy Bebop: The Movie… At Last". Animation World Network. p. 1. Retrieved May 2, 2012. 
  5. ^ Patten, Fred (March 31, 2003). "Cowboy Bebop: The Movie… At Last". Animation World Network. p. 3. Retrieved May 2, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Yoko Kanno's score is equally eclectic, evoking Charlie Parker, Charlie Musselwhite, Johnny Cash and U2." Kyle Nicholas (June 16, 2006). "'The Work Which Becomes a New Genre Itself': Textual Networks in the World of Cowboy Bebop". Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Dresden International Congress Centre, Dresden, Germany. All Academic, Inc. Retrieved 2009-10-08. 
  7. ^ a b Cowboy Bebop Anime Guide Volume 4. Tokyopop. May 21, 2002. p. 64. ISBN 1-931514-08-9. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Baigent, Robert (2004). "Cowboy Bebop: Complete Sessions Collection Review". Graduate Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  9. ^ Douglas, Miguel (September 1, 2010). "Anime Review: Cowboy Bebop - カウボーイビバップ - Kaubōi Bibappu". iSugoi. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  10. ^ Surat, Daryl (December 16, 2010). "Cowboy Bebop: Reflections on a Modern-Day Anime Relic". Otaku USA. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  11. ^ Napier, Susan J. (2001). Anime from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle: Experiencing Japanese Animation. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 22–23. ISBN 1-4039-7052-1. 
  12. ^ Dustin Blaine Javier (February 7, 2002). "Cowboy Bebop Vol. #1". Retrieved May 26, 2012. 
  13. ^ Deni (January 25, 2006). "Review: Cowboy Bebop (2000)". Heroic Cinema. Retrieved May 26, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Saturday Epic Anime Scene - Final Shootout in Cowboy Bebop". July 20, 2008. Retrieved May 26, 2012. 
  15. ^ Jeffries, L.B. (2010-01-19). "The Film Noir Roots of Cowboy Bebop". PopMatters. Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
  16. ^ a b Robinson, Tasha (2009-03-05). "Gateways To Geekery: Anime". A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved 2009-03-10. 
  17. ^ IGN: Top Ten Anime Themes and Soundtracks of All-Time, IGN.
  18. ^ Sunrise Broadcast 1Sunrise
  19. ^ Sunrise Broadcast 2Sunrise
  20. ^ Cowboy Bebop on Cartoon Network – Cowboy Bebop Spoilers, Episode Guides, Message Board |
  21. ^ Cowboy Bebop: Asteroid Blues
  22. ^ Cowboy Bebop: Asteroid Blues
  23. ^ Cowboy Bebop: The Real Folk Blues part 2
  24. ^ "Cowboy Bebop box set "box" available separately". Anime News Network. 2001-11-07. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  25. ^ "Otakon 2002: Bandai Panel". Anime News Network. 2002-07-29. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  26. ^ "New Cowboy Bebop Special Edition". Anime News Network. 2005-02-16. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  27. ^ "Cowboy Bebop BD Box to Include Novel, Ein Picture Drama". Anime News Network. 2012-08-03. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  28. ^ "カウボーイビバップ". Sunrise. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  29. ^ "Funimation Adds Cowboy Bebop, Escaflowne, Outlaw Star and More". Anime News Network. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  30. ^ Williams, Alex (10 November 2013). "Cowboy Bebop Coming To Blu Ray, 1440p HD on YouTube". Web Pro News. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  31. ^ "カウボーイビバップ 第3巻" (in Japanese). Kadokawa Shoten. Retrieved December 26, 2012. 
  32. ^ Zegarmistrz (August 29, 2006). "Cowboy Bebop". (in Polish) (Warsaw: Małgorzata Kaczarowska). 172 (470). ISSN 1898-8296. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Cowboy Bebop for the PS2". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2007-08-13. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  34. ^ IF Magazine: Live-Action 'Cowboy Bebop' Movie Is In The Works, IF Magazine.
  35. ^ FirstShowing.Net, Cowboy Bebop Movie
  36. ^ "Keanu Reeves Hopes to Star in Live-Action Cowboy Bebop". Anime News Network. 2008-12-17. Retrieved 2009-01-07. 
  37. ^ "Keanu Reeves To Play Spike Spiegel In Live-Action 'Cowboy Bebop' Movie". 
  38. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (2009-01-15). "Keanu Reeves set for 'Bebop' Actor to star in live-action adaptation of anime". Variety. Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  39. ^ "Longview - ANNCast". Anime News Network. 2013-09-24. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  40. ^ Julian, Mark (2013-05-31). "COWBOY BEBOP Director Says Live-Action Film Is In The Works". ComicBookMovie. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  41. ^ "reddit Keanu Reeves IAmA". 
  42. ^ Dai Sato (2001-04-16). "Cowboy Bebop: UT". Bandai. Archived from the original on 2007-07-05. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  43. ^ Crandol, Mike (February 21, 2002). "Cowboy Bebop: The Perfect Sessions DVD Box Set - Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  44. ^ Carpenter, Christina. "Cowboy Bebop Review". T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  45. ^ Ryx, Kavik. "Cowboy Bebop Review". The Nihon Review. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  46. ^ "21st Anime Grand Prix". Animage. June 1999. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  47. ^ "22nd Anime Grand Prix". Animage. June 2000. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  48. ^ "List of Seiun Award Winners". Federation of the Science Fiction Fan Groups of Japan. April 24, 2011. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  49. ^ "Newtype USA Announces the Top 25 Anime of All Time". Anime News Network. October 13, 2006. Retrieved September 10, 2007. 
  50. ^ "Best Anime Ever". Anime Insider, Issues 50-52 (Wizard Entertainment). November 2007. 
  51. ^ "The Top 20 Madman Anime Titles - 2012.". Madman Entertainment. 2012. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  52. ^ "Top 100 Animated TV Series - 14. Cowboy Bebop". IGN. January 14, 2009. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  53. ^ Pirello, Phil; Collura, Scott; Vejvoda, Jim; Schedeen, Jesse; Goldman, Eric; Fowler, Matt (February 21, 2011). "Top 50 Sci-Fi TV Shows". IGN. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  54. ^ Pool, Josh (May 16, 2006). "Ten Anime Themes and Soundtracks of All-Time". IGN. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  55. ^ Mackenzie, Chris (October 20, 2009). "Top 25 Anime Characters of All Time". IGN. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  56. ^ IGN Movies (August 7, 2009). "10 Cartoon Adaptations We'd Like to See". IGN. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  57. ^ Johnson, Rian (April 19, 2006). "The Visuals of Brick". Rian's Forum. Retrieved 2007-03-09. 
  58. ^ "The Director's Voice Shinichiro Watanabe Interview."
  59. ^ Leathers, Kevin (2009-06-10). "Classics of Anime – Cowboy Bebop". UK Anime Network. p. 2. Retrieved May 2, 2012. 


  • Sunrise (October 23, 1998 - April 23, 1999). Cowboy Bebop. Episode 1 - 26. WOWOW.
  • Cowboy Bebop Complete Anime Guide 1. Tokyopop. February 26, 2002. ISBN 1-931514-84-4. 
  • Cowboy Bebop Complete Anime Guide 2. Tokyopop. March 26, 2002. ISBN 1-931514-85-2. 
  • Cowboy Bebop Complete Anime Guide 3. Tokyopop. April 23, 2002. ISBN 1-931514-86-0. 
  • Cowboy Bebop Complete Anime Guide 4. Tokyopop. May 21, 2002. ISBN 1-931514-08-9. 
  • Cowboy Bebop Complete Anime Guide 5. Tokyopop. June 18, 2002. ISBN 1-59182-022-7. 
  • Cowboy Bebop Complete Anime Guide 6. Tokyopop. July 23, 2002. ISBN 1-59182-023-5. 

External links[edit]