Cowboy Bebop Volume 2

As much as I love to eulogise about Cowboy Bebop, there really isn’t much I can comment on from volume to volume without running the risk of repeating myself. By now, you should know that this show defines the word cool; from the hyper-stylized character designs to the throbbing jazzy-bluesy score, Cowboy Bebop is a rare type of show that could weave a compelling story without even one sniff of dialogue; it is a screaming, nigh on perfect expression of emotion and atmosphere through visuals and music- and in short, I cherish almost every moment spent watching it.

Of course, Cowboy Bebop #2 could be labelled episodic in that there are no underlying themes driving the story in certain directions, but this is also a big part of the mysterious allure of this series. Spike, Faye and Jet are hard-up bounty hunters simply looking for their next payday; it doesn’t matter what planet (or for that matter, what solar system) they turn up on, they just carry on drifting. This fantastic plot device inevitably leads to us meeting a varied bunch of characters spread across a myriad of strange, far off worlds. Basically, it’s complete creative freedom; a consistently fresh, imaginative interpretation of the future of humanity.

And so it’s interesting then that my favourite episode here is not one of the more outlandish, space-swimming moments but Jet Black’s sober reunion with his jilted ex-lover.
I must confess, I really like Jet; his laid back, subdued personality provides this show with it’s now trademark sophisticated, film noir quality; he is a genuine character who burns with deep regret but also reflects a calm understanding.

This volume also introduces a new member of the Bebop crew; Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV, or Ed for short! If you couldn’t guess by just the name, she is a very colourful character. Being an apparently homeless Earth kid but also an undoubtedly talented hacker, Ed tricks her way onto the Bebop after helping the gang track down a rouge, lonely orbiting satellite.
Her personality is wacky, off the wall and hyper-active- and depending on your tolerance for crazy antics, she’ll either be the best or the worst thing to happen to Cowboy Bebop. I’ll admit Ed is my least favourite character amongst the main cast, but it’s still fun to see her ruffle a few feathers and cramp Spike’s style.

Of course, science fiction fans will find many of these episodes very appealing; the darkest of which involves a murderous, immortal young blues harmonica player.
I really enjoyed the disturbing vibe I got from this episode, unsettled by the sheer visceral shock of a young kid being a serial murderer and the total lack of respect he showed to his victims. And yet his death remains a bitter-sweet moment, despite being a vicious killer, the kid’s final moments reveal a fragile and confused young man.

In Summary

Another outstanding instalment of Cowboy Bebop, volume two lives up to the high standards set by the first and perhaps even improves on it by providing us with a well deserved and engrossing episode devoted to Jet Black and his mysterious past, all complimented by the standard staple of genre-defying science fiction. Funny, disturbing, exciting and sentimental, Cowboy Bebop #2 was a joy to watch.

9 / 10

Paul

Washed up on the good shores of Anime UK News after many a year at sea. Also known as @bateszi, Paul has been writing about anime for a long time here at AUKN and at his anime blog.

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