Legends aren’t born, they are made. This particular legend was one that was made upon the back of something unique, something unlike anything else, something that captured the world’s imagination. It is the legend of Cowboy Bebop, arguably one of the greatest anime series of all time, perhaps even one of the greatest television series in general.
The unforgettable journey of a ragtag gang of misfit bounty hunters concludes in this final remastered collection from Madman Entertainment. It concludes in a way that still has anime fans talking to this very day, all of 15 years later. That is the power of Cowboy Bebop, that is it’s legend – the anime legacy that Cowboy Bebop left behind – going out with a bang.
There is an unspoken beauty to Cowboy Bebop that speaks to people of all ages, all races, all creeds and walks of life. It is the beauty of flawed humanity, something that every human being on the planet knows all too well. The cast of Cowboy Bebop are a incredibly flawed bunch of people. But regardless of their flaws, they still ride on. I think there is a part of all of us that wishes that we could overcome our flaws, or that they would become a source of endearment.
Not all of us are capable of overcoming our base flaws and with the Bebop crew it is no different. In this final collection we see these character’s flaws laid out in plain sight for all to see. They never truly overcome their inherent flaws, rather they embrace them. Because whether they are flawed or not, it is who they are and that’s okay. It is a beautiful sentiment that overlooks the darker undertones of this final stretch of episodes and one that makes Cowboy Bebop resonate so strongly with viewers. It just understands what it means to be human.
While the first part of the series featured primarily unconnected tales, this part begins to gain some serialized plotting with a continued arc to round out the series. The story of Spike and Vicious is a tragic one through and through and it seemingly couldn’t come to an end in any other way. Spike is a man obsessed with the past, he can’t stop looking back because he has lost so much. The pains of the past torment him, but that obsession is something he ultimately embraces. He has spent so long living in the past that he no longer has a future and ultimately he is okay with that. He accepts it. Vicious much like Spike is an obsessive, he wants to bring back the good old times, he is a man blinded by nostalgia, so much so that he loses all sight of what is right in front of him.
Ultimately Cowboy Bebop comes to an end. It is the ending that has sparked conversation for the past 15 years. The final moments that resonated with viewers for over a decade now. We will never know for sure what happens next, but ending with a bang has never looked so damn good. It is a powerful moment that has made this anime the stuff of legend and it is one that you’ll never forget.
On top of that finale to remember is a slew of memorable episodes taking the Bebop crew to places you’d never have imagined. Tackling topics such as existentialism and religion with a deft touch to delicately explore these themes in a sincere and decisive way. It is the kind of stuff you just wouldn’t find in any other anime series, none but Cowboy Bebop.
At it’s core, Cowboy Bebop is an exploration of the human condition, what it means to live, what it means to die, what is means to love and what it means to hurt. We all are flawed, some more than others, but it is the acceptance of ourselves that makes us human. That is the weight that we all have to carry.
Visuals and Audio
Digitally remastered for Blu-Ray release, Cowboy Bebop has never looked so good. The stunning visuals are images etched in the history of anime, a reminder of a time gone by. An age that has passed but one that will never be forgotten. It is the late 90s style of Cowboy Bebop that gives it such flair and the fluid animation is truly astonishing stuff given the time.
What more can be said about Yoko Kanno’s soundtrack for Cowboy Bebop that hasn’t already been said a million times over? It is obvious that Kanno had a very special vision in mind for Cowboy Bebop and it is the unforgettable aural experience that helped to build to that aforementioned legend of Cowboy Bebop. Soundtracks just aren’t made the same anymore, this is something special right here.
In terms of bonus content, Madman Entertainment have given Cowboy Bebop fans everything they could ask for and more. Packaged with the release are 4 gorgeously detailed postcards featuring the cast of the series and a special artbook featuring the vehicles from Cowboy Bebop. The artbook is richly detailed and includes a plethora of original concept designs that give some real insight into the creation of this series. This is simply an unprecedented amount of content for a release of this quality. It is 100% worth the asking price whether you are a Bebop fan or not.
Some legends never die and such has proven to be true for the legend of Cowboy Bebop. It is a series that by all rights shouldn’t have been the hit it was. It was too different to what audiences were used to, there was no way such a bizarre series could ever catch on. But somehow, someway, Cowboy Bebop became a global success, touching the hearts of anime fans worldwide.
So how was this legend made? Quite simple really. Cowboy Bebop understood the pains of being human. We are all flawed and sometimes the hardest thing in life is accepting who you are. That is Cowboy Bebop’s heart and soul in moving pictures. It is love, life, death, pain, sorrow, happiness, heartbreak and loss, all rolled up into one little package.
You’ll never forget Cowboy Bebop, it won’t let you out of its grasp, even after 15 years, here I am still writing about this series. We’re all human and no other anime has ever spoken to that part of our being more than Cowboy Bebop. That is its legend, that is going out with a bang, one that echoes throughout space and time. So for now and always – You’re gonna carry that weight.
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