'Cowboy Bebop': the seven best episodes of one of the most tragic and iconic anime in history

Shin'ichiro Watanabe is one of the most iconic creators of the Japanese animation industry of the past twenty years. 'Cowboy Bebop': the seven best episodes of one of the most tragic and iconic anime in history

Something logical considering the prolific career of the creator of classics such as 'Samurai Champloo', 'Blade Runner: Blackout 2022', one of the satellite productions of 'Blade Runner 2049', 'Zankyou no Terror' or the eternal 'Cowboy Bebop', one of the most beloved anime remembered and available on Netflix.

The story of Spike, a space dandy who takes life little or nothing seriously, is perhaps one of the most charismatic of recent Japanese television, although it is not the only reason that makes the series one of the most interesting of his time.

'Cowboy Bebop' equates the narrative function of music and its rhythmic cadence with the evolution of production, making it a striking display with numerous elements of interest, such as its psychological development, the treatment of its characters or its undeniable narrative postmodern.

Perhaps one of the most attractive of the series is the musical, as Jaime Altozano highlighted in his video-analysis on the importance of the soundtrack in 'Cowboy Bebop'. 

The feedback between Watanabe and the Seatbels, led by Yoko Kanno, with simultaneous creations inspired, respectively, by the music and the advances of the series, is another of the main points of interest of this production.

This would explain the rhythmic nature of anime, not only regarding its soundtrack, but also its narrative foundations or the striking decision that its chapters be "sessions", as if it were a jazz performance. Something that also collects its legendary opening credits, one of the most remembered in contemporary anime, and that brilliantly encapsulates the spirit of the series.

'Cowboy Bebop': Fragmentary Narrative and Sad Sessions

This fundamental function of music makes sense considering that Watanabe, in addition to being a creator, has also been a music producer in the world of Japanese animation. 

In fact, he held this position in the very interesting 'Mind game', Masaki Yuaasa's crazy feature film debut, with a new collaboration by Yoko Kanno in creating the movie's soundtrack.

With codes that go from western to thriller, through science fiction and even melodrama, 'Cowboy Bebop' makes convergence its natural language, also expressed in the structure of the series, with almost self-contained chapters that tell stories with little or no connection to each other. 

The continuous grays and their nuances in the construction of characters and conflicts are reflected with a pale palette of colors, and are reinforced by a narrative strategy in which separation and the apparent lack of connection prevail.

Headland Museum: 'Cowboy Bebop' 

The continuous fragmentation, which is not only in the present but also in the past of the characters - expressed through flashbacks or elements that present the memory on the screen, such as videos - also explains their conflictive relationship with their memory and their personal story. 

Something that would explain the tone of the series, bitter, cynical and with a continuous nostalgic smell.

Although each of the twenty-six chapters that make up 'Cowboy Bebop' has its own entity to be included in this list, here are those that, for the writer, specify with more precision the characteristics indicated in this text. Here are the seven great regrets of 'Cowboy Bebop':

Session 1 - Sad Song for an Asteroid

A sad music box is the one that gives the starting sound to the first chapter of 'Cowboy Bebop'. 

A key episode, first of all, because it contains the first fragment of Spike's past, which appears out of context from the rest of the chapter, but also because of its brilliant presentation of characters, its tragic tone and its inclusion of apparent everydayness that brings the futuristic context represented closer to a certain appearance of closeness to reality.

Session 5 - The Ballad of the Fallen Angels

The first glimpse of Spike's past appears during the fifth episode of the series. Definitively revealed as a character tortured by his personal story, the protagonist will have to face Vicious, a former companion who is unable to forgive him after leaving the band of which he was part. 

The flash-back that already appeared during the first chapter returns expanded and fragmented in what will be Spike's first confrontation with his past, the leitmotif of his character arc.

Session 11 - The toys in the loft

Another of the most inspired episodes of 'Cowboy Bebop' is also one of the most existentialist content of the series. 

This particular and fun tribute to space survival, a survival of the strongest verbalized by Faye during the chapter, takes place, like 'Alien', on the Bebop ship, and in which the daily lives of its crew transmute terror with the appearance of a space creature that begins to roam freely.

Session 20 - Cowboy Terror

Spike, dandy and anti-hero par excellence, finds the last of his shoe with another bounty hunter, an eccentric cowboy practically like him. 

Something that will bring to light the most childish attitudes of the protagonist, provoking in him his most irascible reaction when he is supplanted by someone who may be the same or better than him, in a clear sample of the true fragility of the character.

Session 22 - Pierrot le fou

In addition to the Godardian wink of the title, the twentieth chapter of 'Cowboy Bebop' is also one of the most extravagant in its conception. This time, Spike becomes an unexpected witness to a murder in a dingy, grayish city, with dark tones and an exalted animation. 

'Pierrot le fou' is a practically silent chapter where paranoia goes hand in hand with the thriller and film noir with a second half that culminates the pursuit of the floating and deadly murderer in an abandoned amusement park.

Session 24 - Hard luck woman

The closing of the story of Faye, one of the most punished characters in the series, reveals Ed's past at the same time. 

The structure of the chapter goes in parallel to reveal the story of the two women in the group, first, with the inclusion de Faye in a children's snack that is revealed as an unexpected insertion of the adult in a past that she does not remember, and later, with the appearance of Ed's father, who explains his adventurous and lively nature.

The final parting of the two women shows a halo of hope in a hopeless world, while leaving Spike and Jet forced to confront, with all the consequences, the same as both: their past.

Session 25 and 26 - The authentic Folk Blues (1st and 2nd part)

The outcome of the series, divided into the last two chapters, recovers the main plot of Spike to conclude it in the only possible way: with the protagonist forced to confront his story. 

Something to which Jet is frontally opposed, asking his friend to get away from his past and to continue his futile life with him, in the face of Spike's refusal. 

A heartbreaking farewell where the music box that opened the series returns to close the wounds of a story that can never be healed .

Post a Comment