After learning that Cowboy Bebop is getting a live-action remake, I decided to revisit the much-beloved anime series from the 90s (although not aired in the U.S. until the early 2000s). Many people think of it as the best anime series ever, and with good reason. My episode reviews will contain spoilers, so be sure to watch the series before you read this.
Session 6: Sympathy for the Devil
Spike dreams that he’s on an operating table. Is this a premonition or part of his back story? He wakes up in a club listening to a kid playing the blues on a harmonica. On the Bebop, Faye opens a fridge which is empty except for one can of dog food. Ein whines to be fed. Faye opens the can… and eats it herself! At one point, Jet says betrayal comes easily to women, but men live by codes of honor, so he’s a bit misogynistic.
The bounty this episode is named Giraffe. He’s following a man in a wheelchair named Zebra accompanied by a boy. Giraffe is thrown through a window and tells Spike “he” needs help. He gives Spike a stone before dying. Jet reaches out to a fellow bounty hunter named Fatty and learns the kid’s name is Wen. Jet and Faye discover that the kid hasn’t aged in 30 years.
In keeping with the theme that things aren’t what they seem, we find out that the kid is actually the villain. Wen tells Spike he was alive before the asteroids were settled. We get a flashback of him playing harmonica on what looks like Earth. Sparks of light appear and incinerate everything except him. The hyperspace gate had blown up, causing him to stop aging.
After a shootout, Spike shoots the kid in the head, but there’s no body. Jet uses something called an alfa catch on the comatose Zebra to see his memories. He discovers that the gem is the kid’s one weakness. They make a bullet out of it.
Wen gets into a taxi and kills the driver for no apparent reason. Spike fires on the taxi from his zipcraft. The taxi crashes in a fiery explosion, but the kid emerges. Spike shoots him with the magic bullet which causes him to age rapidly. He’s finally at peace. He asks if Spike understands. Spike blows into the harmonica, but it doesn’t make a sound. Spike says he does understand.
This episode makes me wonder if Spike is also immortal. After all, the closing song has a line that goes something like “it’s not such a bad life if it ends after the first time.” Hmm.
Session 7: Heavy Metal Queen
V.T., a long haul space trucker, arrives at a space station. (Call signs used in this episode are a reference to the trucker movie Convoy.) Her cat, Zeros, is used to zero g, floating ahead of her. V.T. rescues a ditzy waitress named Muriel from being sexually assaulted. Meanwhile, Spike is staking out a bar where a bounty named Decker is meant to appear while Faye stakes out a family restaurant. Faye pulls a gun on the wrong guy. She assumes Decker is the tough guy, not the small guy with glasses. Once again, things aren’t always as they appear.
During the ensuing bar fight, Spike starts making a hangover cure involving an egg. He stays out of the fight until someone bumps him and he loses the egg. There’s another humorous scene in which Jet is trying to get Ein to eat bean sprouts because that’s all the food they have left. We see the three old men from Tijuana again. They’re trying to guess what VT stands because whoever guesses will get a stack of cash.
Faye’s zipcraft is blown up by Decker and Spike’s is vandalized by the guys he beat up in the bar fight, the Memphis Brothers. VT’s friend, whose cab is full of porn, asks her to catch Decker who crashed into his vehicle. I can’t helping thinking this would have been a good opportunity to play the song “Space Truckin” by Deep Purple.
Decker uses explosives in an old mining satellite and dies. They lose their bounty yet again. Spike, Faye, and VT are trapped inside and their ships haven’t been fully repaired yet. Faye gets nitro from Decker’s truck and puts it in Spike’s ship. Spike programs his ship to crash into the wall and jumps out without a space suit.
VT doesn’t like bounty hunters, but Spike finds out her husband was a legendary bounty hunter and guesses her name. He only takes a few bills from the pile of cash though, and tells her to keep the rest for her husband.
In the preview for the next episode, Jet says he’s 36 even though he doesn’t look it. Once again, things aren’t always what they seem to be.