codyjensen’s review published on Letterboxd:
3,2,1 LET’S JAM
Cowboy Bebop blends the western, sci-fi, noir genres together to make a completely one of a kind masterpiece in anime.
First off, the animation and drawing style tops most of the anime today. The subtle highlights and shadows create drawn depth that I don’t think is shown as well in other anime. It’s my favorite style of animation, which probably effects this bias, but it’s amazing nonetheless.
*Trumpet Screech* My god, I would never begin to think of pairing Jazz music with fighting and action sequences. It blew me away how well the composition of the music and it’s changing beats flowed with the character’s actions. It could go from slow and sulky while a character is in a bar drinking his thoughts away, to powerful and exciting when kicking a guy in the face or dodging bullets in space. It grabbed onto my emotions to make me root and care for these characters.
Speaking of the characters, their development allowed me to see a part of myself in each of them. The protective dad of the group, the cracky and wacky, the hardship of rediscovery, and the man clinging to the past. Jet, Ed, Faye, and Spike are perfectly developed characters in their own right and I felt for each and every one when viewing their gut wrenching pasts.
These are lonely people, lost souls, trying to find a sense of belonging and meaning in their life. Hung up on their pasts but clinging toward a hope in a better tomorrow. Each of them deserved and belonged to each other. And as much as they hated each other at times, like most families do, they felt like they belonged even if they didn’t want to admit it. All of their ending goodbyes perfectly fit their family dynamic: a laugh with a friend, a drawing, a beg to stay, and a point to the screen with a smile.
The themes of dealing with one’s past, regret, depression, apathy, stagnation, capitalism, and even transgender issues were magnificent to unveil. The series almost works as an anthology at times which blends so well with these characters. They’re all stagnantly hooked on their past, going from one bounty job to the other, filling their momentary void, not wanting to grow or change in a linear fashion. Each episode is a completely new adventure until their past is brought to them rather than them confronting their pasts themselves. Jupiter Jazz, the mid season finale, and The Real Folk Blues display this perfectly compared to the rest of the series.
Like these flawed but redeemable characters I’m gonna carry this weight with me for some time. Cowboy Bebop makes me wanna go to a jazz bar, sulk in my feelings, drink a whiskey or prairie oyster, and listen to my own sorrow in the form of jazz.
SEE YOU SPACE COWBOYS...