What is it?
Cowboy Bebop is a anime series from the late 1990s which had a single season and 26 episodes (plus a movie). It featured the crew of the Bebop – Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Faye Valentine, Radical Edward and Ein the data dog. All of whom are Cowboys aka Bounty Hunters on this ship set in a cyberpunk future. The series has a reputation for being one of the best anime series of all time and it even was the basis for some of the action sequences and more for The Matrix.
Oh yes, the Matrix Wachowskis’ have openly made mention there are sequences from the series that inspired sections of the first Matrix film (such as the lobby shootout) and even when on to have Shinichirō Watanabe from Bebop work on some of the short films in The Animatrix.
Cowboy Bebop follows Spike, the blue suited fearless daredevil chasing thrills as he teams up with Jet Black the ex-cop turned bounty hunter as they chase bounty heads across the solar system including Mars, Earth and Ganymede which have long since been colonised. Each stand alone episode (with the exception of a few 2 parters) builds more of the backstory behind these two plus the additional crew of the Bebop they pick up on the way including Faye Valentine the cheating gambler turned bounty hunter who may be over 100 years old and the hacker Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivruski IV aka Ed.
That isn’t to say there are not some bounty heads to be caught along the way including Teddy Bomber the Bomber using Teddy Bears to spread his manifesto, Ecoterrorists with a bioweapon wanting to save the Ganymede Sea Rat and killer spaced based weapons satellites just to name a few.
How do I get into it?
The original 26 episodes are currently on Netflix but there is in addition a CowBoy Bebop animated movie that was made after the series finished (you should watch it between episode 22 and 23 if you are looking for continuity). Also most recently a 10 episode live action series has been released that borrows heavily to adapt the series in a Speed Racer kinda way but definitely enough to mean you get some new stories mixed into the original.
Get it if you like…
Action, bounty hunters, cyberpunk, and possibly the best theme song of all time.