I asked you lunatics in the Anime Vice community to pick the next show I ought to watch and COWBOY BEBOP was what you picked. I’d heard about this series for a long time prior to watching it - - mainly from people saying that FIREFLY owed a big debt to it. I didn't realize that "a long time" was actually twelve years. Did this thing really roll out in ’98? Wow. I guess I was never that interested on account of the title, which sounded too... playful? Too silly?
Anyway, the similarities are pretty obvious right off the bat. A western in space? Check? Guns-for-hire who’re after bounties or mercenary jobs? Check. A charming rogue lead? Check. Then again, I remember reading an article in ANALOG digest years and years ago about how everybody thinks space westerns are the most original idea when they’ve actually been around for decades, so go figure. My roommate was even keen to point out the whole shootout at the bar in this episode was modeled after DESPERADO and I have to say that the similarities definitely are there - - even right down to the lighting scheme.
I still enjoyed this episode a lot, especially the jazzy music and the 60s/70s style opener. I'm trying to think of where I've heard it before actually. Is it borrowed from something? Maybe it's just gotten into my brain and stuck there from some scant perusals I've had on Adult Swim. Either way, that contributed to the fun LUPIN III undercurrent coloring everything.
And whoa… wait a minute… this pilot episode actually had a self-contained story without a cliffhanger?
That’s certainly bucking the trend of every other series I’ve watched for this site. What an intense note to end on, too. The demure bad girl whom we thought was pregnant (but was actually smuggling drugs) finally has to kill her psychotic lover? And we only get the cold punctuation of a muted muzzle flash and some blood splatter? And then... she gets blown to the smithereens by the space cops? That’s some harsh stuff, brother, and I’m jonesing for more of it in episode two.