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Shonen Flop

Shonen Flop Recommends #5: Cowboy Bebop

Sep 11, 2020

It feels kind of redundant to write an article recommending Cowboy Bebop. It’s the perennial “anime for people who don’t like anime” because it’s so damn cool that it transcends its own medium. It regularly appears at the top of all-time-great lists and it earns those placements with ease. Sure we had fun reading Samurai 8 for our most recent episode, even giving it the coveted “not a flop” status, but let’s be real: Cowboy Bebop is the reigning champion of space anime.

The show centers around the bounty hunter crew of the spaceship Bebop. Spike Spiegel, a comedically laid back space cowboy, is the closest thing to the main character. He and his partner Jet, a grizzled ex-cop with a robot arm, are the two original members of the team. Soon, however, they’re joined by Faye, a seductive con artist, Ed, a child super hacker, and Ein, a Corgi. 

Cowboy Bebop does have an overarching plot, but it’s really more an anthology of short stories. This format really works out in Bebop’s favor because those stories are great. Like if Star Trek were a western, each episode introduces you to a new planet with great characters and a new enthralling conflict. The best parts, however, are when that week’s situation draws out the main characters’ backstories. And the music. Oh my god, the music. From the iconic jazzy intro song “Tank,” to the incredibly varied score that changes styles drastically to fit each episode, the music is easily one of the biggest reasons to watch Cowboy Bebop.

See you around space cowboy.

Cowboy Bebop was created by Shinichirō Watanabe. You can watch it subbed or dubbed on Hulu.