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 12: Jupiter Jazz Part 1
We open on a Native American shaman sitting outside his teepee on Callisto, one of Jupiter’s moons. It’s an arctic area. A star falls, indicating someone has died somewhere on the planet.
Vicious is trying to buy the drug Redeye. Many episodes of Cowboy Bebop stand on their own, but this one actually refers to past events. Vicious answers to someone named Van. Lin is assigned to accompany him this time.
The Bebop is having temperature issues because Faye siphoned all the antifreeze and abandoned them. She also emptied out the safe. Ed uses the computer to search for Faye. She finds Julia, Spike’s old flame. Spike goes to look for her while Jet tracks down Faye. We learn Spike and Jet have been teamed up for three years.
Callisto has street signs in Russian and appears to be a very cold place. Also, it apparently isn’t a safe place for women. Faye is listening to jazz at a bar. The saxophone player tells her he’s not interested in women and she’s the only woman in town. While searching town, Spike shows disgust at a drag queen, which is unfortunate since up to this point gay people were presented as simply being part of the diverse group of people who live in the future.
A group of men wearing gas masks mistake Spike for Vicious. He beats them up and learns Julia is just a codename for the drug deal Vicious is doing with Gren. Jet learns Gren, who Spike is searching for, has a bounty on his head. The same guys who fought Spike attack Faye for being female. How dare she entice them? She’s rescued by the saxophone player Gren. They go to his place. Faye finds a broken music box. She tells him she left the Bebop because men always fight over her, but he realizes she was afraid they’d abandon her, so she left first. Faye hears Vicious leave a message for Gren.
In keeping with the things-aren’t-what-they-seem theme, when Faye pulls a gun on Gren in the shower, she discovers that he has breasts. He’s nonbinary, neither male nor female. Spike confronts Vicious. Lin used to answer to Spike, but now he stands in front of Vicious so Spike can’t shoot him. Spike learns Julia used to live here. Lin shoots Spike.
Session 13: Jupiter Jazz Part 2
Gren tells Faye he served with Vicious on Titan. In a flashback, Gren is in the trenches with Vicious who is listening to a music box playing a song called Julia. He gives it to Gren. After the war, Gren goes to prison for being a spy. Vicious apparently testified against him. They tested a drug on the prisoners which gave him breasts. He’s meeting with Vicious to find out if he did turn on him. Says he doesn’t have long to live anyway. Faye doesn’t trust him and starts shooting at him.
Jet learns from a bartender that Julia came there two years ago, but left after a month. Flashback to Spike and Vicious fighting on the same side. Scenes from the opening of the first episode. Spike telling Julia he’s getting out. She says all women are liars. Says his eyes are different colors even though they aren’t. He says his left eye sees the past. Spike wakes up. A corvid perched on his chest. Lin just shot him with a tranquilizer.
Jet finds Faye handcuffed like usual. Gren, posing as a woman, gives Vicious the Redeye, in exchange for a Titan opal, but then Gren reveals who he is and slides the suitcase back and shoots it. It was an explosive. Lin is injured. Gren tells Vicious that Julia found a solar transmitter inside the music box. He asks if he was trying to kill him after they fought side by side. Vicious says he believes in nothing. Gren shoots at him but Lin jumps in front of Vicious. Vicious and Gren jump into their zipcraft, and Spike shoots at Vicious from his own zipcraft, angry that Lin died protecting him. Vicious shoots down Gren.
There’s an explosion caused by the music box, disabling Vicious’s zipcraft and he retreats. Spike asks an injured Gren if he knows where Julia is. Gren doesn’t know but remembers that she mentioned Spike and how she always requested the same song. Spike honors his last wish to point him in the direction of Titan. Once again, no bounty is collected. This episode has different closing credits than usual. It plays a different song and shows stars.