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Dated 9 July 2006: Cowboy Bebop

I've been re-watching a number of older series lately—among them, Sunrise's 1998 Cowboy Bebop. This show is likely well known by even the casual anime fan, but I figured this would be a good time to revisit the series just so I could better see if the comparisons Coyote Ragtime Show generate are justified.

Jet chokes someone out.
Jet chokes someone out.

After a teaser glimpse of the conclusion of the first arc, the first episode of Cowboy Bebop gets down to business and establishes that the show is set in a future where space travel is completely unremarkable. Automated toll receipts from gate jumps of tremendous distances pile up as common litter, like cigarette butts. Nevertheless, although technology is obvious far advanced beyond the present day, humanity's general standard of living seems no better. Graffiti and trash still plague decaying city streets, and seamy bars still attract criminal lowlifes. And vice.

Someone chokes out Spike
Someone chokes out Spike.

Where Cowboy Bebop triumphs is in its lazy depiction of what it's like to be one of the Good Guys in this decrepit future. Beautiful, melancholy jazz music haunts every episode, punctuated by Spike and Jet's banter, and their occasional angst-less philosophical musings.


The voice acting is quite good, with Kouichi Yamadera still carrying the unperturbed, unflappable coolness (and some smarminess) that he brought to Ryoji Kaji in Neon Genesis Evangelion a few years earlier. Unshou Ishizuka brings a mature wisdom to Jet in a way that, for some reason, I sort of want to call "a Norio Wakamoto without the irony." (I don't know why.)


I'm also a big fan of Megumi Hayashibara's work as Faye Valentine, but I'll get to her when (read: if) that episode rolls around.

Bebop exits a gate
The Bebop exits a gate.

I never liked the CG usage in Cowboy Bebop much, since it doesn't match the rest of the animation well enough in my opinion. Nevertheless, it is pretty good considering the time. It does hold up better than the CG in VanDread, for example.

As far as comparisons with Coyote Ragtime Show go, both series feature sharp bursts of violence unapologetically. At least with regard to the violence in the two shows' first episodes, the violence in Coyote Ragtime Show is a bit more gratuitous. One key stylistic difference stands out, too: Moe. Moe as we know it today wasn't nearly so prevalent in 1998. Coyote Ragtime Show, on the other hand, while not exactly a moe vehicle, certainly is no stranger to the phenomenon.

Dated 15 July 2006: Cowboy Bebop

Judy from Big Shot
Judy from Big Shot.

I hereby declare today Big Shot Appreciation Day.

Dated 24 July 2006: Cowboy Bebop

Judy and Punch from Big Shot
Judy and Punch from Big Shot.

I hereby declare this week Big Shot Appreciation Week.

So ordered.

Dated 18 February 2007: Cowboy Bebop

Julia dies.
Alas, poor Julia. We hardly knew ye. Actually, we didn't know ye at all.

Man, I care less and less about Julia's death each time I watch Cowboy Bebop. P.S. Spoilers.

What I really want to know is what happens to Punch and Judy. I know Punch meets up with his mother and is going to take care of her henceforth, but he also drops some vague mention that Judy might be getting married. TO WHOM? IS SHE HAPPY? True Cowboy Bebop fans need to know these things. God damn it, Sunrise.

Dated 16 January 2008: Cowboy Bebop is the future of women's fashion

Judy > Julia.

I've uncovered the magic behind Judy's coat: It isn't just draped over her; it's actually form-fitted to her body. It's as if the coat has a built-in bra. You know what this means? It Goddamn means that this outfit is theoretically possible in real life! Someone invite the attention of some fashion designers to this entry so they can start churning out scalloped coat-bras for all the trendy beautiful women out there looking for The Next Hot Thing.


Listen, okay? It worked a few years ago after my Hand Maid May CHECK when girls started wearing baseball jerseys together with mini-skirts all over Southern California, however briefly. There's no reason why warm-weather form-fitted coat-bras couldn't make it in L.A.

Dated 5 September 2011: Cowboy Bebop and physical media

Meifa and Jet
This was basically a detective episode.

I downloaded a DVD rip of a Cowboy Bebop episode even though I already own all the DVDs. It does happen to be more convenient since the initial Bandai R1 release had those terrible animated menus. It gets rather tedious cycling through them when navigating through the choices. Also, the rips don't suffer from the awful bitmap subtitles that plague DVDs.

Dated 3 August 2021: The Walther P99, Mireille's pistol in Noir

Walther P99 and Beretta M1934
Size comparison between Mireille's P99, Kirika's M1934, and their respective ammunition.

Complementing Kirika's Beretta M1934 in Noir is Mireille's Walther P99. Walther introduced the P99 in the '90s as a polymer departure from the metal-framed pistols it made previously, such as the P88 and the P5. This made Mireille's firearm relatively modern when Noir aired in 2001. I guess this also makes her the exception to the rule of thumb that allows viewers to judge how dangerous the characters in Noir are by recognizing the inverse relationship between the characters' lethality and the modernity of the weapons they use. Mireille may be out of her league compared with Kirika or Chloe, but she gets by.

Mireille might not be as good as Kirika at killing people, but she does dress better.

Fans of Cowboy Bebop may also recognize the Walther P99 as the pistol Jet uses throughout the series. There are probably other anime examples I've overlooked. Certainly, there is no shortage of P99 appearances in live-action TV shows and movies. At a minimum, I know Brosnan-era James Bond adopted it to replace his iconic Walther PPK for a while. (Coincidentally, Bond is also shown with a Beretta M1934 in Dr. No.)

Cowboy Bebop takes place in 2071, but Jet's old-ass gun
is still newer than the Jericho 941 that Spike uses.

Mireille and Jet would have both carried the first-generation Walther P99, as the second generation did not come out until a few years after their anime aired. Somewhat surprisingly, Walther was still making the P99 as of early 2021 (in Ulm, for people who care about that), although a Wikipedia entry currently claims (without citation) that both it and its 2011 successor, the PPQ, are discontinued now that the PDP is out. That's a shame if the P99 has reached the end of its production, as the PDP is only offered with the American-style magazine release button. Adherents to the European flappy levers will have to look toward Heckler & Koch now, I guess.