|No. Of Vol:||Avg. Of Rating:|
The Lodoss OVA series is my second favorite of series of all-time, but did we really need a TV rehash with lower acting and writing standards? This with one notable exception (Vampire Miyu) has been the recent trend, to my dismay.
To get back on point -- my one saving hope for the just finished TV season of last year was a highly anticipated, original TV series called Cowboy Bebop....
Cowboy Bebop is a shonen series that focuses on Spike Spiegel -- a space-age bounty hunter that formerly was a Chinese Mafia boss. Putting his past behind him, he has teamed up with his partner Jet Black to solve various cases and collect their bounties (of course).
Added to the mix by the third episode is Faye Valentine (played to perfection by Megumi Hashibara), a seductive women with a history of various crimes that would make her a nice catch for Spiegel in more ways than one. ;-) Unfortunately, she is not going to be that easy to catch....
Also joining the show in the second episode is a mysterious dog that is more intelligent than Spike and Jet (even though they don't seem to know it) and you have the trappings of a great action series.
Speaking of action -- there is PLENTY of it. The opening credits scene looks very familiar to James Bond fans, giving you an idea of the show to come. Add to this a space and futuristic setting, and you have a good idea of what to expect here. This is the show Outlaw Star could have (and SHOULD have been).
This series has become my new reference in both of these areas, replacing Escaflowne (which coincidentally had many of the same people working on it). The show is really a high budget OVA series shown on TV (actually only half of the series was shown on TV, with the other half direct to video).
Computer graphics like in Escaflowne are used tremendously well -- in a way that adds to the series visual appeal, rather than looking cheesy like some recent shows I have seen (can anyone say Brain Powered?). The background art is HIGHLY detailed and colorful, and the animation is VERY fluid and realistic. Needless to say, both art and animation are uniquely stunning.
When I first saw the designs of the series, I was not impressed. They did grow on me quite a great deal the more I watched them, however. Now I would say they are considered "good."
Oh YES! Another score from Yoko Kanno. Everyone who reads my reviews knows her Escaflowne soundtrack is my reference in this area, and I am pleased to say that the jazz/blues score in Cowboy Bebop -- while in a completely different music genre than the classical musician Escaflowne, approaches Escaflowne's greatness! The opening number called "Tank" is performed flawlessly and the ending song combines the music genres of jazz, rock and the blues to perfection.
The jazz played during the show fits the mood of the series perfectly, and is definitely in the top 5 performances I have heard. The CD to the series is also a MUST HAVE for everyone, even if you are not a jazz fan. -- Yes, it IS that good!
Here lies the series' sole "weakness." I found the storyline to be very episodic and lacking character development and depth. I will say though, that in this case, it really did not bother me.
The characters are all likable, and the series has an action focus -- character depth is not as important to me in this kind of a series. Also, apart from the great action scenes -- the series is also very funny at times. Finally, I should mention that while the storyline may not be deep, each episode is presented EXTREMELY well. The series has a very stylish and refined feeling to it. You just get that feeling you are right there on the screen with Spike and company. I rate the storyline as above average, to good overall.
Cowboy Bebop is definitely not for everyone. It is an extremely slick and well presented series that probably will not appeal to the "anime based on a video fighting game" crowd -- but everyone else should run and buy the LDs or DVDs to this series -- and pick up the fansub when it is available (there is no doubt that SOME sub group will definitely be doing the series). Yes, the storyline is not tremendously powerful, but boy, those visuals will keep your jaw gaping open throughout the series, and your feet will be tapping to that great Kanno jazz score. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!