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Cowboy Bebop - The Movie

Columbia/Tri-Star // R // June 24, 2003
List Price: $26.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by David Blair | posted June 20, 2003 | E-mail the Author

The Movie

It's okay for Anime to be cool. And in the case of Cowboy Bebop, it doesn't get any cooler.

Cowboy Bebop has been wholeheartedly embraced by the US, and it's not hard to see why. Its characters are deep, and well written, the music is hip and addictive, and the storyline is entertaining and action packed. In short, Cowboy Bebop takes you for a hyperactive journey unlike any other Anime out there today.

It's impossible to nail down just one trait that makes this show work, because it's the combination of them all that makes it as likeable as it is. Lose the character development, and you have just another average shoot-em-up action Anime. Take away the Yoko Kanno's beautiful yet funky soundtrack, and you lose a lot of the cool-factor that makes the show so hip. Dump the simple, yet entertaining storyline, and, well you have a crappy show.

For those unfamiliar with the show, our team of four travels around in the spaceship Bebop cruising for jobs. What jobs you ask? Well, our extremist team of hot heads are bounty hunters, or cowboys as they are called in the show. Needless to say, a lot of action can come from jumping from planet to planet capturing dangerous lowlifes for little to lousy cash.

For the feature length movie version, most of the same plot points from the show were used, yet on a larger scale. This is wonderful for fans, because action sequences have been extended, and emotional scenes with the main characters have been fleshed out to a greater degree. As a result, we get better fighting and flying scenes, and more insight to what makes our favorite characters tick. This is great stuff. Fans of the show can rest assure that nothing pivotal has been changed or modified. This is just a better, longer version of the show we have all grown to love.

The plot of Cowboy Bebop - The Movie is simple but carried out well. It's 2017, and a mysterious man detonates a tanker truck in the middle of the largest city on Mars. The explosion sets loose a deadly virus that is unknown and virtually invisible, and cannot be stopped. Our team of cowboys would most likely do little to help out, but the largest bounty in history has been offered to the capture of the man, or men, behind the deadly virus. So it's up to our favorite bounty hunters, along with the help of a very sexy new accomplice, to discover the truth behind the virus, and stop the people behind it before it destroys all human life on the planet.

This is a great movie, on a great DVD release. The story and look of the movie is outstanding. The American music is a fantastic fit for the plot and characters, and the climactic fighting sequence is one of the most intense and well-animated scenes I've ever seen. I found myself gritting my teeth during every fight scene in the movie. They're that good. The video quality wasn't as good as I was hoping, but it's on par with most Anime being released today. But the audio was exceptional, and the special features were a nice inclusion, especially for fans of the show. If you love Anime, and you have yet to experience Cowboy Bebop, this should be next on your list to see.


Cowboy Bebop is presented in roughly 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture is far from outstanding. There was moderate dose of edge enhancement visible at all times, and the picture looked very grainy. Also, a bit of pixelation could be seen as well. It's not as bad as some of the Anime that has been coming to DVD as of late, but it's not the best either. Colors looked okay, but failed to pop off the screen. Thankfully the animation is so well done, that you quickly ignore all the visual quirks that plague this transfer.

Here we get both the original Japanese language track, and a Dolby Digital 5.1 American dubbed track. For a dubbed track, the American version was quite wonderful. The voice talent did a fantastic job as always, and the sound effects were nicely separated to fill the full surround spectrum. Subtle details like the sound of footsteps coming from behind, to the in your face ricochet of bullets whizzing past your face add up to one very nice audio track. And don't forget Yoko Kanno's fabulous score that really helps make Cowboy Bebop the unique show that it is. Lower frequency bass was lacking, but other than that, this was a great sounding DVD.

There are quite of few special features on this disc, however only a few have any real meat to them. The most informative an interesting of the bunch was the six featurettes that show interviews of the writers and voice talent behind the movie. Each six-minute featurette dives into one particular aspect of the show. There's one for each main character, one about going from the small screen to the big screen, and about the mass international appeal of the show. All the featurettes were displayed the same, with the actors and writers talking about their experiences set to motion graphics. The featurettes are not very exciting, but interesting to watch, especially if you're a long-time fan of the show.

Also included are two music videos, which are really just the original film clips from the movie, conceptual art galleries, storyboard comparisons, in-depth character profiles, and a few movie trailers. These features were worth a look, but not substantial enough to make you feel satisfied. Your best bet is to check out the featurettes.

Final Thoughts:
Cowboy Bebop finally hit the big screen, and now it's out on DVD. If you love the show, you'll really love the movie. The story is great, the music is perfect, and the action is about as believable as an Anime movie gets. Make no mistake though, this is not a Hayao Miyazaki film, so the animation isn't as breathtaking, and the storyline isn't as deep. This is just a cool, hip, action movie that does what it's supposed to do, and it does it well. If you're in the mood for a fast paced futuristic adventure, this is definitely worth a look. Highly Recommended

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Highly Recommended

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