by David Kosowsky
Cowboy Bebop is the most recent entry into the space cowboy anime genre. It introduces us to a world one hundred years in the future in a solar system fully colonized by humans. Justice is served through bounty and the hero of Cowboy Bebop, Spike Spiegel fulfills this role in taking out the unjust. Although rarely concerned with money or justice, Spike has an unyielding faith in his own values and does not hesitate to act on them.
Cowboy Bebop greets you with a fantastic opening sequence. Yoko Kanno shines again with an incredible soundtrack. Beginning with an extraordinary Jazzy swing intro, Kanno helps sculpt the mood of the anime with her old-west, cowboy-ish music with dazzling success. This combined with the retro-style animation gives the viewer a good entrance into this super-hip, retro space cowboy anime.
Although the plot doesn't shine until the later episodes, In the first DVD we are introduced to the instantly likeable hero, Spike. Undefeated in hand-to-hand combat, Spike fights all the villains in this anime with a skip in his step and a grin on his face. At peace with himself, Spike's lighthearted nature provides his straightforward values with a delightfully expressive jaunt. During the battles scenes Spike dances around his foes with a grin and a joke, while promptly beating them into submission.
The cinematography of these fight scenes and much of Cowboy Bebop uses astounding camera angles and effects which have never been seen before. The camera dances around at a furious pace, pulling you into the action. You feel as if you are watching the fight in the café, encouraging on Spike in the fight against his foe. You can sense the speed and urgency of battles through the dramatic angles and impossible techniques. Its anime camera effects similar to these which influenced the creation of The Matrix.
Cowboy Bebop's DVD menu fits the anime quite well. Resembling a control panel and playing "Tank!" in the background, this successful and well-animated system guides you to your scene of choice. As an appropriate interface for Bebop with high action clips playing, a general essence of the anime is resembled through the myriad of aesthetic options available to you. This is a fantastic DVD that does wonderful justice to a complex and beautiful series.