Carrying The Weight


The characters in Cowboy Bebop are the core components of the story to be told, each richly realized and full of unique intrigue. Each of them resides at a different life moment, and it is our task, and pleasure, to uncover the truth of their paths up to now. Widely different folk, the crew of the Bebop come from understandably distinct walks of life and come together. Ex-cop and ex-criminal become wingmen, kindred spirits afforded a special subtext due to unseen shared experience, and a deep-seated friendship. A confident yet vulnerable, “honky tonk” woman, half femme fatale / half grifter, tries to find herself amidst a makeshift family, with no memory of her origins. An androgynous, mystic, wild-child genius and a precocious, cybernetic corgi join along spontaneously for the adventure. The crew of the Bebop is as diverse as the show’s stylings. In their collective adventure, full of wonder and woe, something brand new is created.


Cowboy Bebop imagines a near future world where we’ve taken to space. We have brought everything with us: our ingenuity and our avarice, our ambitions and our fears, our dreams and our products, our brands and our endless hustle to earn more for ourselves. This embark unto space happened long ago though, and now the worlds and their structures we see look worn out, tired, depleted. So too do many of the people we encounter, not withstanding our starving protagonists, hunting crooks for scraps to fund their next meals.


The Bebop crew ultimately never gets their mark, and the prospective bounty they set out for in any particular episode. Instead, they are received something else. There is a deeply existential, deeply meaningful message within Cowboy Bebop, and this is where its legacy as a one series anime, and its ultimate weight, lies. This anime has a lot to say {even if it’s light on dialogue} about interdependence and what it means to forge the bonds of companionship with others in adulthood, deigning for a family in strangers when you have no one else left.



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