Welcome to the Imouri Anime Review, where people vote for an anime that the Imouri team will review. The anime will be reviewed using these four criteria; Story, Animation, Character Development, and World-Building. Each category will be given of score (1-10), and then an overall score will be determined.
This month we get into classic 90's anime. A lot of great anime came out during the 90's. The users from the Secret Anime Club voted for three very popular classic anime series. In a stunning blowout, the anime that got the most votes was none other than Cowboy Bebop for the April 2021 review.
Cowboy Bebop follows a group of bounty hunters known as "cowboys" as they go around the solar system rounding up criminals for a reward. The series protagonist of the spaceship crew Bebop gets involved in dangerous missions to catch criminals. The original Bebop crew consists of a retired Inter Solar System Police Officer or ISSP for short, Jet Black, and an exiled former hitman named Spike Spiegel. Throughout the series, the crew grows in size, picking up a woman with amnesia named Faye Valentine, an eccentric hacker girl named Edward, and Ein, a Welsh Corgi. Often, the crew of Bebop is without money and is constantly hard up for cash, so they take on some of the most dangerous bounties in the system. During the crew's adventures, each one is confronted with people and events of their past. You start to learn about each crew member's backstory.
Cowboy Bebop can be summed up as a space opera with multiple genres such as comedy, westerns, and even cyberpunk. The story is genuinely a masterpiece, making sure the main characters have proper conclusions to their backstory. What makes the show great is its use of pacing. There is the action that gets you excited. There is comedic relief. Some downtime animation is added to cleanse the viewing pallet so you will be able to enjoy another rush of excitement during its action-oriented themes. As you watch the series, you start to see the story unfold between all the characters. An example of this in the series is how Faye slowly discovers who she is as the amnesia begins to clear. Even though there is a grander story at play with each character, every episode has a mini-story that still focuses on the everyday life of a bounty hunter aspect.
Overall, the story is laid out very well. What makes this series great is that the writers and producers could pack such a well-written story into 26 episodes that conclude very well. I will not spoil this anime's story anymore because I feel everyone, from veterans to newcomers, should experience this story if they haven't already. Story Score: 10/10
The animation of Cowboy Bebop combines classic 1990's style animation combined with a noir feel and then combines that with western vibes. Sunrise, the animation studio that made fantastic anime such as Macross and Gundam, was behind Cowboy Bebop's magic. Cowboy Bebop's best animation is during fight and shootout scenes throughout the series. The fast pace movement feels smooth and polished. You can practically feel the action during the sequence.
There is a precise level of detail in the foreground, but the background also gives the series real depth. An example of this is when Bebop is stationed at Tijuana Asteroid Colony. The background animation and details provide so much depth that the asteroid feels more like a giant plant than a colony. One more example is the level of detail on the Bebop. Sunrise made sure you were able to see the details in the mechanics of the ship.
Let's talk about the opening sequence, "Tank" by Seatbelts. Only 2 or 3 sentences of lyrics are all it takes to get this ride started. The opening is almost 100% instrumental and gets you pumped for the series. The sound raises your energy. The animation playing in the background sets the mood. The opening has a fun, classic, seductive side that sets the tone for the series. It is arguably one of the most extraordinary anime openings of all time. Please experience it for yourself. Watch the clip below of the opening. Opening: Tank
Overall, the animation is truly a masterpiece—cowboy Bebop help to solidify Japanese anime as an influential art style. Animation Score: 10/10
All of the main characters go through a transformation throughout the series. Spike is confronting his past on many occasions throughout the series. Faye goes through a life discovery despite her current situation and grows due to the Bebop crew. Ed grows on her journey for freedom or perhaps to find her father. Jet grows close to his crew and stands as sort of a father figure to everyone. Despite Jet's apparent attitude, Jet grows to care for everyone deeply.
Because the story heavily intertwines with the character development of each character, I don't want to get into details with it too much. Remember earlier when I said that each episode feels like a mini-story? The episodes in the series tie directly into the development of each character. The episodes unravel the mystery of each main character, which is part of the fun of watching Cowboy Bebop. As you watch the series, you start to grow on each character, which is part of Bebop's charm.
Overall, it would be best if you experienced this character development first hand. Character Development Score: 10/10
Cowboy Bebop's world-building is probably one of my favorite aspects of Cowboy Bebop. World-building feels small as a term for this series. How about we change it to Galaxy-Building or Universe-Building. Cowboy Bebop does a fantastic job of building the environment. You get to experience the exploration of the galaxy as the Bebop crew tackles various bounties. You see what the world looks like in 2071. There are new government organizations. Criminals have developed new drugs and weapons. Pirates are a thing once more due to the vastness of space. There are even mysterious creatures waiting to be discovered.
Suppose you think about the character-building aspect of Bebop in the sense that it is a micro version of world-building. Each character comes from an entirely different background. Because of their unique backstories, you can see their world being built around an even bigger world. An example of this is Ed's past growing up on Earth and then coming back to Earth years later. Ed's story takes the crew back to Earth, and you get to see how Earth has stood the test of time in the universe of Cowboy Bebop.
Overall, the series world-building is fantastic. Cowboy Bebop feels so grand, with so much to discover and explore as you watch the anime. There is so much happening that you can conceivably continue to build upon it even after the series has ended. World-Building Score: 10/10
Cowboy Bebop is a fantastic anime. It's the perfect anime for veterans and newcomers alike, and the pacing is excellent. You don't need to invest too much time into the series with only 26 episodes. The art style is a lovely gateway into the anime medium. The characters are memorable, and it has a fantastic story. There is a reason why Cowboy Bebop is considered one of the greatest anime of all time, by my account and many other anime enthusiasts and critics alike. It has even garnered worldwide recognition and praise. It is truly one of the greats of anime.
Overall Score: 10/10
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*All images are from the My Anime List website. All videos are from YouTube that the channel owners listed. We do not own any of these images. Credit to all artists of the images and credit goes to the creators of the anime series.