Shin

Cowboy Bebop OST 3 "Blue"

Cowboy Bebop OST 3 Blue
Cowboy Bebop OST 3 – Blue Track By Track

Music Performed By Yoko Kanno And The Seatbelts Produced By Yoko Kanno

Track-list
1. Blue – 5.05
2. Words That We Couldn’t Say – 3.32
3. Autumn In Ganymede – 3.55
4. Mushroom Hunting – 3.19
5. Go Go Cactus Man – 2.28
6. Chicken Bone – 4.57
7. The Real Man – 4.00
8. NY Rush – 5.03
9. Adieu – 5.40
10. Call Me Call Me – 4.43
11. Ave Maria – 5.52
12. Stella By Moor – 1.09
13. Flying Teapot – 3.33
14. Wo Qui Non Coin – 3.43
15. Road To The West – 2.56
16. Farewell Blues – 5.55

Brief Overview

Yoko Kanno is probably the most well-known composer/producer of anime soundtracks going and this soundtrack in particular, shows exactly why that is. “Blue” is the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack most focused on the vocal songs present in the series and as such, some wonderful, epic pieces end up coming to the forefront. The Seatbelts do an excellent performance throughout and due to their consistency in doing so, some outstanding vocal performances are offered, most notably that of Emily Bindinger who is a true find. Although some tracks leave a lot to be desired, their failures are most notably due to Kanno’s desire to experiment with sounds and produce something special rather than the run-of-the-mill adequate performances one can expect to find in an anime soundtrack. “Blue” with containing such tracks as “Adieu”, “Call Me, Call Me” and “Road To The West” is probably the Cowboy bebop soundtrack that best sums up the feelings of the series.

Track 1 – Blue (Vocals performed by Mai Yamane Soprano Voice performed by Soichiro Otsuka with Gabriela Robin)

Slow, fading choir vocals singing a melody of beauty slowing being joined by the hypnotic chords of an organ. And thus the beginning of the Blue OST begins with the epic end of series masterpiece. This simplistic beginning does give way to a simple combination of electric guitar and keyboard backing it up allowing the haunting vocals of Mai Yamane to come to the forefront, effortlessly skating the surface of the piece. The lyrics are the most uplifting I’ve ever heard “I’ve never seen a bluer sky, I can feel like reaching out and moving closer.” Symbolising the epiphany experienced by Spike come the end of the show. The chorus of the piece with the immortal lines “Free. Wanna be Free. Gonna be Free” with each note being held just perfectly stir something up inside the listener that is hard to describe. Yamane is given free reign to attack this piece to her heart’s content and as such, is created an amazingly innovative piece that can rightly be said to be the true sound of Bebop.

Verdict: Repeat

Track 2 – Words That We Couldn’t Say (Vocals Performed By Steve Conte)

Words that we Couldn’t Say is amazingly simple in composition with acoustic guitar being accompanied by minimal strings and percussion and when added to the formula is the mournful voice of Steve Conte. The treat of the track is probably the guitar solo, one that is reminiscent of something that could be in an early George Michael song. Conte is particularly effective in this piece and manages a depth of emotion not many singers can reach. Words That We Couldn’t Say is a very effective track that will bring out a response from the listener but probably is still not one of the best tracks on the album; such is the quality of the soundtrack!

Verdict: Play

Track 3 – Autumn In Ganymede

I’ve heard this piece described as lounge music and that’s the best I can come up with also. The percussion is particularly poignant in this track and it sort of overly relaxes in composition until the big piano and brass are combined for a catchy little melody some way in. It’s not a particularly well composed track however and not only last at least a minute longer than it should, but also loses itself half way through descending into almost a mess of random flair guitar playing. Autumn in Ganymede is not a track that’s going to make you stand up and take notice but rather sit back and ‘endure’.

Verdict: Skip

Track 4 – Mushroom Hunting (Vocals Performed By Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch)

This track made me raise my eyebrows so high when I first heard it that I never thought they’d be on my face again. But truly, this track is something special. Pure innovation in a musical sense by Kanno, daringly throwing together a mad melee of instruments coupled with the most pumping beat you’ll ever hear. The samba origins of the track shine through all the way and most people focus on the great job done on percussion, which is quite justified but commendable mention must go to the bass-line and trumpet section both of which are particularly important to contributing to the pure energy found in this track. The vocalist, Cumberbatch does an amazing job in not taking herself too seriously and her flamboyancy works very well within the track, even from the beginning “Let’s kick the beat” you have the feeling that a more so than usual ‘complete job’ was going to be done by the vocalist. There was never any way that this piece was going to be half-hearted. Just to note, the tune is taken from the episode ‘Mushroom Samba’ which also happens to be an upbeat romp, just to show how Kanno’s music can be functional so well at times. Mushroom Hunting borders on the insane when in musical terms but for some reason works to an amazing standard and is a great achievement that never fails to bring a smile to my face.

Verdict: Repeat

Track 5 – Go Go Cactus Man

Spaghetti westerns, on how I loathe them. This track is taken straight from the score of the worst Clint Eastwood film you could imagine and is so annoying it’s unbelievable. Not until the one minute mark is it listenable to, for until then it’s a horrible blend of sound effects and whistles that could easily have the not so faithful of Kanno fans reaching for a sledge hammer to take to their CD player. After a minute, thank goodness it improves. The guitar is played as well as any that I’ve heard in a Western track and the beat that comes in could have me up and line dancing. It does improve from here on in and can be seen as one of the more humorous tracks on the soundtrack but putting this just after Mushroom Hunting I feel is pushing it. Go Go Cactus Man is an interesting track that is very slow to start off but improves towards the end, although may be a bit too tongue-in-cheek for most people’s liking.

Verdict: Skip

Track 6 – Chicken Bone (Vocals performed by Sydney with Sister R)

Read any review of this soundtrack and you’ll normally get an overly inflated complimentary view of this track. The beat is repetitive and seems very obnoxious and the other instruments in the track are not used to great effect. On my kindest day, I could say that it is an experimental track that simply did not work…on my most honest day I’ll say it sounds like a Britney Spears track being stuck in a blender. I for one, just don’t know what Kanno was trying to achieve with this one, the lyrics have the interesting factor going for them but why so many tongue-in-cheek tracks?! We all know that a better job could be done than this and this is so monotonous and repetitive that ….actually no, that’s it exactly. I don’t know what was going on in this track and why people keep saying it’s so brilliant is beyond me. The vocalist does a very cute job with what’s she given, singing in a sultry way that might inspire some goose pimples but you can only do as good a job as the material allows you to. Chicken Bone is a 10 on the interesting and the “What the hell was she thinking?” scale but will rank quite low on Kanno’s greatest achievements list.

Verdict: Skip

Track 7 – The Real Man

It’s fast, it’s furious and the percussion shows no sign of slowing down! The brass section violates the piece just perfectly and then all of sudden it grinds to a halt at the 1.05 minutes mark. It then comes back with the same percussion but played a bit more as a background with a nice baseline to accompany it. There are a lot of very nice sounds created in this piece from strings, brass and the like but it doesn’t really go anywhere and seems devoid of structure. But it is however, the kind of innovation and experimentation that should be present in an anime soundtrack and for some reason although not pleasing on the ear particularly, it does work as a piece! Ironically enough, the best moment is to finish off, it just suddenly stops completely and abruptly. The Real Man, is in conclusion is very interesting and a really nice track full of high-octane energy but is without structure or purpose completely…but that’s no reason to dislike it!

Verdict: Play

Track 8 – New York Rush

An innovative recreation of the ‘rush’ theme from the first OST. It’s slightly more laid back than it’s predecessor and the percussion is allowed to take a backseat to some outrageous moments from the brass section. It’s another fast-paced jink fitting to be used at the most high-energy moments of the series. The guitar solos are particularly nice, as is the piano that comes in and the bass solo is done to an excellent standard also. As the soundtrack goes on, we are seeing more of these experimental pieces that aren’t usually associated with Kanno but this one is nice. N.Y Rush hasn’t got the beauty of other soundtrack pieces but for simple, functional reasons, it works as a piece.

Verdict: Play

Track 9 – Adieu (Vocals Performed By Emily Bindiger)

Ladies and Gentlemen, we now have musical perfection in one singular piece. The vocalist Emily Bindiger is so talented, it’s unheard of. She is the voice that encompasses all that is Cowboy Bebop in my opinion, as soon as she opens her mouth, you feel that she knows and understands everything that a Spike or a Jet could ever go through. Listening to the beginning of the track, you can be forgiven for thinking it’s a light-hearted jaunt but this is wonderfully deceptive, for it’s after this that the true beauty of the piece can be contrasted. For as soon as the line “And I know by your smile, it’s you” comes in, the listener’s heart will melt guaranteed. Bindinger’s voice once again, is so perfect, each note sounds like it’s a struggle to get out which creates a great air of emotion. These struggling notes are what can get the tears running more than anything else. Lyrically the song is so close to perfect it’s scary and instruments wise, it’s just a piano and nothing else. This is fine however because this song is all about Emily Bindinger and her amazing voice. When she sings, “She feels the pain” no listener could ever doubt it. Definitive line of the song is when the piano cuts out and we’re left with just Emily’s beautiful voice. Adieu is the highlight of the soundtrack without a doubt and has everything that makes Bebop so special, so sorrowful, so beautiful, and more important so right.

Verdict: Repeat

Track 10 – Call Me, Call Me (Vocals Performed By Steve Conte)

One of the more professional songs on the soundtrack. The lyrics are of the highest quality once again and the vocalist Steve Conte does a very good job again and holding his voice just that extra bit longer every note to get a sad overtone. The acoustic guitar is very simple but when combined with clever use of strings and brass in the song, creates a very sad sound that is very sorrowful, very mournful. The track itself is most notably used when Radical Ed leaves the Bebop (Hard Luck Women) and as such, seems almost wasted as it is too deep a piece for her character. It’s one of those songs that is very long but it isn’t overplayed, the length is almost perfect but it is very emotionally draining. Call Me, Call Me is a very strong piece that compliments this soundtrack no end and should definitely be listened to many times!

Verdict: Repeat

Track 11 – Ave Maria (Soprano Vocals performed by Jerzy Knetig)

Well you know what you’re going to get with this one. It is used brilliantly in the series as the song being performed at the opera during “Ballad of Fallen Angels” and it a particularly strong performance of the song. The choir do an adequate job and the soprano in particular puts in a high standard of performance. It’s really a beautiful track but if you’re not a big fan of opera, this isn’t going to win you over just because it features in a Cowboy Bebop soundtrack. It’s five minutes long, so most people will probably want to skip it, but before you do…give it that one listen because it is a good performance. Ave Maria won’t be to everyone’s taste, but what it tries to do, it does well.

Verdict: Play

Track 12 – Stella By Moor

This piece is beautiful and features in I believe both Waltz for Venus and Jupiter Jazz. It’s a music box piece so expect a simple melody performed exquisitely with precision and professionalism. The melody is delightful though and is crammed full with a nostalgic feeling, I find when listening to this track that it’s easy to start quiet personal reflections one-self and I believe that this sort of thought-provocation is what makes a good track. Stella By Moor although short, is a beautiful piece and the type of which that Yoko Kanno writes so well.

Verdict: Repeat

Track 13 – Flying Teapot (Vocals Performed By Emily Bindinger)

The lyrics seem ridiculous at times but the arrangement and composition more than makes up for these inadequacies. I consider it a great honour firstly to hear Emily Bindinger gracing us with her presence on another track. This track gives her even more licence to experiment with her voice than even Adieu and she makes full use of this by putting in a fine personal performance than can make the listener go into a dream-like state. There aren’t enough superlatives to throw at Emily, as she is just so that talented a vocalist that I recommend further investigation into. Instrumentally wise, the song once again remains simple to compliment Emily’s voice by maintaining a simple piano accompanied by a singular brass instrument left to blast out. Flying Teapot is a wonderful piece that fits in with the feeling of Bebop so well and is once again a reflection of the amazing talent of Emily Bindinger.

Verdict: Repeat

Track 14 – Wo Qui Non Coin (Vocals Performed By Vocals by Aoi “ED” Tada)

It’s very difficult to describe this track without using the words ‘nice’ and ‘pleasant’. Wo Qui Non Coin isn’t going to be the best song on any collection but it fits in ok with this soundtrack and offers a different sort of song that adds to the diversity of the soundtrack on the whole. The vocalist Aoi Tada has a very cute voice and adapts the basic concept of the song well to the character of ED. It is a kind of sad song with a simplistic almost French-like beauty. Instrumentally it’s very simple and repetitive but not to the point of being annoying. Wo Qui Non Coin in conclusion, is rather simple and is a pretty decent attempt at a different sort of track but not one to spend too much time over.

Verdict: Skip

Track 15 – The Road To The West

All the sadness, all the longing and all the desperation that are present in Cowboy Bebop are reflected in this one track. The only accompaniment to the saxophone is a simple synth chord that is beautiful and reminiscent of Angelo Badalamenti of Twin Peaks fame. But although, the synth is very nice, Road to the west is all about the single saxophone. It’s use is very symbolic in it’s reflection of the aloneness of Spike and the “something beautiful inside” that he lost a long time ago can be felt in the beauty of the music it plays. The piece has such a sense of longing and of something lost and is one of the best examples of sax music that one could find anywhere. It has that Cowboy Bebop ‘Blue’ feeling to it. The Road To The West is an exceptional piece and the theme for all lost souls everywhere. Perfection.

Verdict: Repeat

Track 16 – Farewell Blues (Vocals Performed By Mai Yamane)

Ah a differentiating version of the “Real Folk Blues”, this is what Cowboy Bebop is all about. This version is played in the last episode just as Spike is taking on Vicious (or taking on his past, however you want to look at it) for the last time. The main difference is that it’s a lot more downbeat than the episode ending version and Mai Yamane contains herself a bit more and is a lot more restrained in not overdoing any of her notes. One would probably prefer the Real Folk Blues as it is heard much more often than Farewell Blues, but this piece has its strengths. Namely, it has got a ‘final’ feeling to it, which is special and can’t be explained in musical terms. Great performances from the band include a great bass line and a lovely percussion job. Farewell Blues is an excellent piece and due to the lack of the Real folk blues on this soundtrack, should be listened to over and over again.

Verdict: Repeat

By Jaimie

Cowboy Bebop Open – "The Real Folk Blues"

The Real Folk Blues
(Cowboy Bebop Ending Theme)

Japanese Lyrics

Aishiteta to nageku ni wa
Amari ni mo toki wa sugi te shimatta
Mada kokoro no hokorobi o
Iyasenumama kaze ga fuiteru

Hitotsu no me de asu o mite
Hitotsu no me de kinou mitsumeteru
Kimi no ai no yurikagode
Mo ichido yasurakani nemuretara

Kawaita hitomi de dareka na itekure

*The real folk blues
Honto no kanashimi ga shiritaidake
Doro no kawa ni sukatta jinsei mo warukuwanai
Ichido kiri de owarunara

Kibou ni michita zetsuboto
Wanagashikakerareteru kono chansu
Nani ga yoku te warui no ka
Koin no omoi to kuramitaita

Dore dake ikireba iyasareru no darou

The real folk blues
Honto no yorokobi ga shiritai dake
Hikaru mono no subete ga ougen to wa kagiranai

* repeat

English Lyrics

It’s too late to cry I love you.
The wind still blowing, my heart still aching

One side of my eyes see tomorrow,
And the other one sees yesterday
I hope I could sleep in the cradle of your love, again

Cry for me, somebody, with dry eyes

*The real folk blues
I just want to feel a real sorrow
It’s not bad a life in the muddy river
If life is once

Hopeless hope, and the chance with traps
What is right, or wrong
It’s like both sides of a coin

How long I must live till I release?

The real folk blues
I just want to feel a real pleasure
All that glitters is not gold

*repeat

(Sidenote: The Opening theme to the Cowboy Bebop series, “Tank!” includes only “I think it’s time we blow this scene. Get everybody and their stuff together. Ok, 3..2..1 Let’s Jam.” so isn’t really big enough for its own topic)

By Raven

Cowboy Bebop – "See You Space Cowboy…"

(Romaji Lyrics)

Subete wa mou owatta to
Mimi o saii da mama de kimi ga iu
kotoba wa tada nagareteku
Yasuragu koto no nai ashita e

Inori sae mo kieta yoru
Nani o shinjite doko e kimi wa iku
Namida iro no ryuusei ga asake warau you ni ima sugiteku

Kawarame mono nado ari wa shinai sato
Tatoe inochi tsuki temo
Kono ai o kise wa shinai

Sore wa towa o ikiru koto
Yume wa yami ni kakure temo

I got a rainbow
In my hands…

Mune no oku o wataru koe ga
Keshite kawarame mono moaru to iu
Shinjitsu no mae ni inoru asa

Ai wa futatabi koko e modoru darou

Love never dies
Love never feigns
Love never ever fades away

Itsuka inochi tsuki temo
Kono ai o kise wa shinai
Sore wa towa ni ikiru koto
Yami o yaburi

Toki no naka de koori tsuku
Maboroshi o oi koshi tatoki
Niji no kare kata ai wa matsu
Ikusen no hikari ga matsu

You got a rainbow
Rainbow in your hands…

(English Translation)

Since I thought everything was over
Closing my ears
What you’re telling me is floating away
Towards tomorrow there is no comfort

When the night even prays it disappears
What do you believe and where are you going?
The shooting star is the color of tears, is like laughing, passing away now.

There is nothing. Don’t change.
Even if life is deceased
You cannot extinguish this love.

To live eternally.
Even if the dreamis hiding in the darkness

I got a rainbow.
In my hands…

The voice goes passing in my deep mind.
The morning I pray in front of the truth
There are some things that never change.

Love will be coming back here again.

Love never dies
Love never feigns
Love never ever fades away

This love won’t be faded away.
You can’t fade away this love
which means leaves forever
Breaking darkness

When you pass the phanton
Freeze in the passing time
then love is waiting
In the far beyond rainbow

You got a rainbow
Rainbow in your hands…

By yokeda

Cowboy Bebop – "Call Me, Call Me"

(English Lyrics)

I close my eyes and I keep seeing things
Rainbow waterfalls
sunny liquid dream

Confusion creeps inside me raining doubt
Gotta get to you
But I don’t know how

Call me, Call me
Let me know it’s alright
Call me, call me
Don’t you think it’s ’bout time
Please won’t you call and,

Ease my mind

Reasons for me to find you
Peace of mind
What can I do
to get me to you

I had your number quite some time ago
Back when we were young
But I had to grow

Ten thousand years I’ve searched it seems and now
Gotta get to you
Won’t you tell me how

Call me, Call me
Let me know you are there
Call me, call me
I wanna know you still care
Come on now won’t you,

Ease my mind

Reasons for me to find you
Peace of mind
Reasons for living my life
Ease my mind
Reasons for me to know you
Peace of mind
what can I do
to get me to you

By yokeda

Cowboy Bebop: Knocking on Heavens Door

Cowboy Bebop: Knocking on Heavens Door
Genre: Action
Length: 154 minutes and some change (thats about 2 and a half hours)

Plot = A
Characters = A
Music = A
Overall = A

General Outlook:
This story takes place between episodes 22-23, and is like an side story to the TV series itself. If youve not seen the TV series, this is really great, as it still has the perfect feel to it. You may not be familar with the characters, but that doesnt matter in this little one shot. You can pick up and end with this movie if you wish, no harm done at all. And it will still be a wonderful experience. However, if you are a Cowboy Bebop fan, you will be delighted with the side story which gives you more of what you wanted. Familar old faces are here for the past fans(crazy oldmen, the hosts of the Bounty Hunter progam), and of course the main antics of Spike and the others. The main story is that while tracking a routine bounty, Spike and the others come across a bigger fish, in the form of Vincent, who unleashes and starts a series of terrorists attacks upon the city itself(which is like a future NYC, with VERY much skyline designs from this). When things get complicated, and the original Hacker bounty ends up dead, with the military sweeping in to clean up the terrorist mess(which we learn more on) its up to Spike and the others to save the day.
Awesome fighting scenes. I forgot i was watching animation at one point, and was comparing to to past fight scenes in my mind. Nicely done, and the gun scenes are intense and believable. This really has something for everyone, with the nice dry humour of Spike shining through at a moments notice.(like crash landing his Swordfish onto a bridge in front of a startled cabby, getting out and shouting “Hey Taxi”). I will admit, i wasnt the biggest fan of the series itself, but this i really enjoyed, and in fact has rekindled a desire for me to watch the series again. I reccomend anyone to see this, fans or not, it has something for everyone.

Music:
Cowboy Bebop has always been noted for its original soundtrack, and espeiclaly for Yokka Konno’s contributions to it. It is a great music expereince as it should be, including a original Yokka pop song, for the opening. the music is really loved, and as a example of this i was recently selling the 5 cd box set of Cowboy Bebop for a lil under 150 dollars. Yet this isnt a large deterrent in its sales. CowBoy Bebop captured the number one DVD sales spot for this movie, as well.

Characters:
Fans familar with the series, will be surprised by the cameos, and typical appaerances of their favorite characters. Some may enjoy the new Ed outfit, involving a Halloween Jack O Lantern which she emplys on some under cover work. However, new people will be surprised(as will some fans) by the new introspection onto Spike and Jet.(Faye is typical Faye, as is Ed and Ein). Spike also for the “first” time tells about his past, to the co-star and his flirtation through the film, Electra. She has a past connection with Vincent, the main antagonist. He is cold, and ruthless, killing with barely a flinch,and he is on a level of skill that surprises even Spike. This makes for some intense action, and one of the coolest showdowns ive seen in recent history. Where the trend is to have apocalyptic faceoffs, and deaths of hundreds with no hope, Knocking on Heavens Door takes the other route. The characters are nicely done, offering new insight into characters for past fans, and giving one time veiwers an ejoyable look as well.

My Thoughts(and spoilers):
Truth be told, i wasnt expecting much. I actually watched this more on a whim and some free time than anything. I was pleasantly surprised. It wasnt like anything i had been watching of late, so it was very refreshing. And i was surprised by the new look i got into Cowboy Bebop with it. The fighting scenes were very memorable, and the twisted Vincent is perfect main villian. Defying every death, and living against all odds. His perfectly evil smile, after Spike “beats” him, and then stands over him, as Vincent counter attacks and nearly rips Spikes heart from his chest, is chillingly awesome. As is his callous care for the lives around him, killing more than a few civilians as he cooly walks along. And still, you get a understanding to Vincent, and i almost felt bad for him at the end. Very good, i dont think i can look at Vicious the same way anymore, as Vincent seems to have a definate spot in my mind as a Villian to remember.

By Darknight ZO

Cowboy Bebop


Cowboy Bebop (Series, Episodes 1-26)

Plot = 7/10
Characters = 8/10
Music = 10/10
Overall = 8/10

Plot
The plot to Cowboy Bebop at first appears to be rather simple, Spike Spiegel and Jet Black fly around the galaxy aboard the Bebop, bringing perpetrators of the law to justice and making themselves a tidy profit whilst they’re at it right? Well no, there is slightly more to it that that.
The key to Cowboy Bebop is it’s flawless ability to mix past and present into a packageable product, a plot that would in most cases prove to be one-dimensional or lacking is given a hint of having a greater meaning when the episodes that relate to the past of the characters are thrown in. For example, at the beginning of the series we have four episodes, broadly speaking, three of these are watchable at best whilst the fourth is nonsense, carrying on like this, the series would be mediocre at best. Then comes along Session #5 “Ballad of Fallen Angels”, a well-crafted masterpiece of an episode which reflects the side of Spike which we have yet to see and poses the questions that will keep the viewer watching through to the end.
That’s Bebop in a nutshell, a small amount of meaningful episodes thrown amongst a great series of ‘fillers’. This is where it gets even more interesting for some of these ‘filler’ episodes are very good! Sessions #6 & #8 “Sympathy for the devil” and “Waltz for Venus” could very successfully be made into a feature-length film themselves and both very easily bring a tear to the eyes of even the most dry of eyes.
Some of the more plot-driven episodes are rather beautiful also, session # 18 “Speak like a child” at the end was one of the most delicate and sensitively handled episodes of anime I have seen for a long time, doing more for building the empathy between myself and the character of Faye than the entire series had managed to do so! Session # 10 “Ganymede Elegy” was probably the biggest surprise to myself. Having written off Jet as a secondary character, this episode threw him into the centre and gave him the dark, sorrowful past that all Bebop characters seem to have behind them.
The pinnacle of the plot in my eyes comes in sessions #12 and #13, the two parts of “Jupiter Jazz”. These don’t advance the plot that much, but are of such quality that I think they show the best aspects of the series. From the showdown between Spike and Vicious to the loneliness of Faye in the Jazz club…showing that the strength of the series is not particularly single aspects but rather the entire product as a whole.
There are a number of problems with the plot however, most namely that a lot of the times the ‘humour’ in the series is then hit with a dark twist behind it (Session #20 Pierrot Le Fou) and in a lot of the cases this works…but it puts the series beyond the enjoyment of the more light-hearted anime fan I feel. The ‘filler’ episodes can also get frustrating unless you’re planning to watch it all in one sitting and some are just of a poor quality not befitting the series (Session #19 Wild Horses and Session #23 Brain Scratch come to mind).
But apart from these problems, the series sticks to its guns…it knows what it does well and tries to accomplish this throughout. Cowboy Bebop fluctuates between brilliance and mediocrity in almost equal measure but due to its fantastic conclusion that I haven’t the literary talent to describe, I have to admit I was gripped by it, even during the weakest of episodes.

Characters
Reminds me of a phrase that I used to see on my school reports, “Good, but can do better.” Many characters in this series are done very well, fluctuating between tremendously life-like to beyond human experience. In short, the characters work. You will feel for them, have your favourites and hate some of them…all you can ask for really.
Spike Spiegel is one of the greatest creations a writer could ever come up with (No, it’s not an over-statement) At first, he comes across as a lovable goofball, trying to act cool in a world that fits him. Slowly but surely Spike is developed into the pinnacle of melancholy, a tragic hero with a past better best forgotten but that he cannot let go of. It’s hard to work out what his reason for living is, is he trying to be free? Or is the only way he can live to be trapped in the past? Either way, Spike will have questions asked of his character a long time after watching the series.
The two secondary characters, Jet and Faye aren’t quite as developed and both struggle to different extents to make an impression on the viewer. Jet is a lovable character. An old, wise head with old-world values in a brave new world. His past is one of lost love and a lost place but due to his easy-going attitude in the present, it’s very easy to like him, very well written and a totally realistic character.
Faye’s a different matter all together. I found her to be a character that just didn’t “work”. The building blocks were there but it seemed that her past didn’t justify her demeanour in the present, she’s a lonesome character but you don’t feel for her because of her abrasive nature and selfish attitude. More is done for her character in one episode (Session #18 Speak like a child) than the rest of the series put together. Her issues aren’t resolved come the end of the series and it’s hard to imagine where she would go from there. In short, Faye Valentine is a bit of a disappointment.
Radical Edward doesn’t really count as a character to be reviewed in my eyes, used for comic relief and maybe the odd functional reason the technical aspects of the series. Poor development and a weak past hamper her ability to be viewed upon as a “serious” member of the cowboy bebop cast.
The characters that appear frequently in the images of Spike’s past are obviously not developed to a large extent but are just used as devices to bring out the hidden depths to Spike. Vicious as the villain does a job adequately but there’s nothing new or innovative in his character and Julia struggles to make an impact as anything more than the woman of Spike.
There are a few standout performances in the series by characters…Rocco in “Waltz for Venus” was brilliant, a decent guy mixed up in things above his head but still having a good heart. Teddy Bomber in “Cowboy Funk” was quite possibly the funniest single aspect in the entire series. To a lesser extent, a romantic, tragic figure is very well presented in the form of Gren in “Jupiter Jazz”.
Most importantly, the background characters such as these were very, very realistic and served as great foils to build a story around.
In conclusion, although some characters failed to make the desired impact, a select few truly came to life and were easy to empathise with; tragic and thought provoking…which is what the series is all about.

Music
What does music seek to achieve during an anime series? Probably most notably, the fit and supplement the mood of the series. If this series achieved nothing else, it surely got this right.
Opening theme “Tank!” when I first heard it, I thought was awful. But when coupled with the outstanding “Real Folk Blues” come the ending credits, I have to admit it work. From the upbeat, lifestyles lived by the characters in the present being reflected in the opening, to the mournful, sorrowful pasts left behind as shown in the ending credits. Sometimes you just have to give Yoko Kanno major acknowledgement when she does something this well.
However, anyone who’s seen anything of Cowboy Bebop knows that the music is much more than just an opening and ending theme…it’s constant, it differentiates and more importantly it works.
The pieces that appear during the series are of such a high quality, it’s ridiculous. Firstly it has to be noted that the choice of where each piece goes is perfect. The ending to Session #13 “Jupiter Jazz (Part 2)” is a brave use of the piece “Space Lion” which is a sorrowful, but majestic sax piece accompanied by tribal drums. Saying it again, it just “works”.
The soundtrack is unsurprisingly blues and jazz based which for a big fan of both these genres is a treat. The vocal pieces can really stand out by themselves, pieces such as “Want it all back” and “Call me call me” are used sparingly in the series but are both magnificent.
Of course grandeur is not the be all and end all. The most poignant tune has to be the wonderfully simple “Memory” which is most notably used in the final episode to great effect and also highly ironically in many of Spike’s recollections of gunfights.
It would be very easy to write an amazingly long review of the music in this series for it is that good! Perfect pieces fit every situation but instead of that…just watch the last episode’s conclusion when the credits come up and “Blue” suddenly begins to play. Perfection!

Conclusion
A fully professional product that is thorough and well done throughout. The series does have its weak points but for pure mood and as an emotional roller coaster there isn’t anything better out there. It is flawed but these flaws can be overcome by even the most lukewarm fan. This is an enjoyable experience full of beauty.

By Jaimie

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Work in progress... not home!
Trying to get all/most of the new code working before I start on the eyecandy.