Cowboy Bebop: Blu-Ray Edition

“Interestingly, according to modern astronomers, space is finite. This is a very comforting thought – particularly for people who cannot remember where they left things.” – Woody Allen

So, a new company is trying to make its way onto the anime distribution scene. Then let us start with a warm hello to Anime Limited for making the rather bold move to try and get into the anime business in Britain.

Not surprisingly for a new company, they have started by bringing out of the great anime classics, Cowboy Bebop, which was formerly released by the now defunct Beez label. To give it that extra appeal, this is a Blu-Ray release. A Blu-Ray release of a classic anime should be a recipe for success.

For anyone who is unfamiliar with the series, Cowboy Bebop is set in the year 2071. Most of humanity has left Earth which has become dangerous to live on due to a mixture of climate change and meteor storms from a partly blown-up Moon. Humans have now spread out to the rest of the solar system, settling on Mars, Venus and Jupiter’s moons.

The series follows the crew of the spaceship Bebop: bounty hunters Spike and Jet, who are later joined by Ein, an intelligent Welsh corgi; Faye, a gambling addict with huge debts, and a girl hacker called Edward. The story sees them travelling around space trying to capture criminals and claim the bounty, but as the story goes on, we learn more about Spike’s troublesome past, his former life in a crime syndicate, his troubled relationship with a woman named Julia, and a deadly foe in the form of his former friend Vicious.

Now, it should be pointed out that this series has already been reviewed on Anime UK News before, and in terms of plus points they are pretty much universally agreed upon. The quality of the plot, the marvellous soundtrack, and the direction from Shinichiro Watanabe are all widely considered to be impeccable, and make Cowboy Bebop one of the great anime of the 1990s.

Therefore, let’s move away from the anime for the moment and concentrate on what is the debut release by a new licensor. Well, it has both plus points and minuses. On the plus side, the animation looks brilliant and there are plenty of extras. While many DVD and Blu-Ray releases of anime are content with just textless opening and closing, this first volume includes audio commentaries, trailers, and my personal favourite – music videos. There are two: one is a full length AMV of the opening theme, “Tank!” and the other is a re-mix version of the song. On the downside, there are one or two minor glitches that occur in the second episode, but nothing major, and there is practically no scene selection. The scene selection is basically “All of Part 1”, “All of Part 2” and “Credits”.

Overall, in terms of this release, I would say the positives out-weight the negatives, and Anime Limited has done a decent job. Looking forward to Part 2.

9 / 10

Ian Wolf

Ian works as an anime and manga critic for Anime UK News, and is also the manga critic for MyM Magazine. Outside of anime, he also is the editor of On The Box, data specialist for the British Comedy Guide, is QI's most pedantic viewer, and has appeared on Mastermind.

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