Manga Monday: Cowboy Bebop

Published on October 19th, 2009

Iconic mangas are those that have stood the test of time. They are known by everyone (even if they haven’t read it), are constantly cosplayed, respected and above all have avoided fading into obscurity with the million other mangas that have been and gone.

Cowboy Bebop has managed to do just that, with its amazing mash-up of film noir, sci-fi, beautiful women, danger, Jazz and out right weird.

cowboy1-smallCowboy Bebop is set in the year 2071 and finds itself set in outterspace after an explosion from a warp gate experiment results in daily meteor bombardments from a newly formed asteroid belt surrounding the earth. This has left living on Earth to dangerous, now much of the human race populate the moons of Jupiter, but the entire solar system is at everyone disposal.

The story focuses on the crew of the spaceship known as the ‘Bebop’. The crew travel all over space tracking down wanted men and women with bounties in an attempt to make there fortune, along the many journeys the characters complicated and troubled histories often find themselves re-surfacing as they come to terms with them.

Jet Black is the leader of the Bebop, an ex-police officer who thanks to a mission gone-awry now has a bionic arm. He enlists the help of Spike, the ‘hero’ of the manga, who is an expert bounty hunter and ex assassin who is hunted by an old flame by the name of Julia.

Comedy is bought to the team by ‘Ed’, a 13 year old computer whizz kid who looks pretty much like a boy, but when she isn’t in front of a computer, where she is known as ‘radical Ed’, she can be found running around the Bebop with her dog, Ein. Finally is Faye, the sex bomb and she knows it. Faye has awoken 58 years later after cryogenic freezing to find herself with no memory of who she is a huge debt in her name.

I have to admit, while the Manga, in two parts known as Shooting Star and A New Story, is great and addictive. The anime, and I don’t often admit this, is MUCH better. Cowboy Bebop has an amazing jazz soundtrack (click here to see and here the anime opening), fantastic voice actors in both the original and dub version, and there is something amazing about the ways the characters are brought to life (and some slight gratuitous violence to boot too). It was so good that it is still airing on Cartoon network in 2009. That alone says something.

It is another manga that I strongly suggest that everyone reads, or at least watches the anime. It has everything you could ever want and crosses so many genera’s that it can appeal to such mass audiences. Those mangas that stick around do so for a reason. They do it because the provide something amazing that others don’t. Cowboy Bebop is a staple read for all that love manga or those who are still new.

Hollie ’10million woolong bounty’ Bennett
Hollie@comicimpact.com