14 February, 2014

Revisiting Bebop

Have you ever watched Cowboy Bebop? Because if not, you should and if you have, man, how awesome is Cowboy Bebop?

I started watching Cowboy Bebop in junior high and while I haven't watched an episode in maybe six years, it is still one of the gold standards of anime. And unlike Dragonball Z or whatever other garbage that Japan shipped over here by the boatload, Cowboy Bebop holds up. It's so goddamn cool, guys. There's the music and the design and there's a super corgi that solves puzzles! What else do you want!?

I feel like I've been chasing the highs of Bebop ever since I first watched them. I have to imagine a lot of people do that with their first exposure to a band or a movie or something. Cowboy Bebop did that for me. It was this fresh, new, crazy thing that I could kind of only imagine at this point. What was even better was that I didn't have to deal with bad animation or laughable voice acting or any of the other pitfalls of the genre (the medium? Whatever). Bebop was this funny, well-designed world that were full of really cool characters. Nothing else sounded like it. Nothing else looked like it. It's been fifteen years and it still stands on its own as this original work of art. As many good shows as I've watched, it never was as good as when I finally got to the end of "The Real Folk Blues Pt. 2."

 What I'm saying is that Japanese anime is exactly like cocaine use.

And all of that got me to make the mistake of pining for a blu ray version of the movie and the series, something I never bought, even back when gray market Chinese copies of anime were readily available (as opposed to torrenting, something that would years distant from the height of my anime fanhood) and it really made me-- HOLY SHIT IT'S FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR A BOXED BLU RAY SET? JESUS CHRIST DOES IT CURE ERECTILE DISFUNCTION AND BRING BACK ALL YOUR DEAD PETS? And. . . is that an In Through the Out Door reference? What in the. . .

Oh, well, the American set is only. . . non-existent. Huh.. You people are fucking insane. I'm glad I wasn't drunk when I found because I might have ended up trying to pull some end maneuvers around import taxes with my friends in Japan. Such is my love of Bebop.

While Cowboy Bebop's current availability seems to be just slightly out of reach, it's spiritual successor, Samurai Champloo is on Instant Watch.  If you've got the time and good taste I would highly suggest that you watch it. It's the last thing Shinchiro Watanabe has done since Bebop and that is a fact that depresses me to no end. Oh, he's got a new series out? Alright. About goddamn time.

I was thinking of all of this because I just rewatched the film (which, in Japan is named after a Bob Dylan song) and, as good as it is, it reminded me just how great the show is as a singular work. Part of what makes that show great is that, like any great performance, it leave you wanting more. There's a pang I feel when I know that these twenty-six episode (and the movie) are all we are ever going to have and that anything additional, however unlikely it might be, would only serve to tarnish the legacy of that show.

I don't know. Maybe I'm overstating it. Maybe I just really like the idea of a Welsh corgi solving space crime.

While we wait for that, enjoy the best remix of "Tank!" that You're the Man Now Dawg has to offer.