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 Cowboy Bebop, Ep-By-Ep! 
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Relatively straightforward plot-wise, but still incredibly powerful and effective in the moods it inspires, "Asteroid Blues" has to be the best pilot of any series I've watched to date. It's a great package that helps introduce us to some of Bebop's recurring motifs, like Spike's cocky recklessness, the Bebop crew never having enough to eat, the melding together of influences from different cultures in the show's mise-en-scène, the excellent, heavy directorial style courtesy of Shinichiro Watanabe, and of course, those old guys popping up everywhere.

Besides that, you get excellent choreography in the action scenes here, be it gunplay or hand-to-hand, with the red-tinted, slow-motion, point-of-view stuff in the first shoot-out standing out as particularly impressive. Finally, "Asteroid Blues" has something personal and meaningful for us with the sense of doom, of inescapable, inevitable tragedy hanging over Asimov/Katerina, and with the way Spike seems to be personally upset by their tragedy at the end, gives this session a strong emotional punch, letting us know that Bebop won't just be some dumb little "cartoon". The dark, intriguing montage at the beginning showing us glimpses of Spike's past is just the cherry on top of a very large, very tasty sundae.

Muzak: We get a nice musicbox version of the "Adieu" melody at the beginning (the first of a number of times we hear this motif in the series), lots of nice, relaxed, dusty harmonica/acoustic guitar work throughout that fits the mood of the ep perfectly, "Rush" during Spike/Asimov's fight scene, which is a lot of fun, and the sad saxophone-driven "Road To The West", which I love. Plus, it's the first episode where we get to hear Yoko Kanno and The Seatbelts' kick-ass "Tank!" theme, plus "The Real Folk Blues". Awesome music all around.

Best line: "Adios..."

Best moment: Watching Katerina's corpse floating back down to earth after she's been riddled with bullets, with the Red Eye vials slowly spilling out of her dress. That was the real clincher for me on the night of September 2nd, 2001 (its first U.S. airing), the point when I just knew that this show was something really, really, special. It just fucking sent shivers up and down my 13 year-old spine. Nuff said.

Final score: A+

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See you space cowboy...

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Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:30 am
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I always thought it was kind of a mistake for Bebop to put a light-hearted episode in so early, especially right after "Blues", as I feel something weightier here would've felt more appropriate, but besides that, "Stray Dog Strut" is good fun, introducing us to the underappreciated (and very cute) character of Ein, and does a good job at hinting at his special intelligence too. You have some fun, frantic chase scenes and some good comic relief, and while the part with forced drinking of the cockroach is unnecessarily gross, it's no big deal. Plus, we get to see Big Shot for the very first time! So, a nothing really special episode here, but still good fun nonetheless.


Muzak: Good, catchy, African-y drum rhythms, the smooth, jazz-y "Pot City", and "Want It All Back', which is used excellently for the first chase scene between Hakim/Spike/the scientists. Fun stuff.

Best line: "You know, you really make me laugh Hakim, risking your life for a dog that's only worth a fistful of woolongs!"

Best moment: The first big chase scene with "Want It All Back" playing.

Final score: B



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See you space cowboy...

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Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:53 am
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Now I want to re-watch it.


Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:55 am
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Epistemophobia wrote:
Now I want to re-watch it.

8-)

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Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:56 am
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I really liked this series. I started watching with Japanese and subtitles, then read that the director prefers the English version...so started over and watched English all the way through.

I've got the movie queued up at netflix, so I'll watch it before you get to the end.

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Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:56 am
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This series was the first one Anime I saw that opened my eyes to the possibility of the animated medium. Thank God for my friend who sat me down in front of this one night and changed my life.

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Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:42 pm
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I was planning a Bebop thread, though somewhat different in approach. It shall never happen now.

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Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:16 pm
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Bebop is one of the best shows ever made. Its also the only anime show I've ever really bothered to watch.

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Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:31 pm
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I'm not an anime watcher or manga reader but all of my friends that are keep insisting that I watch this.


Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:45 pm
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WAIT WHAT ABOUT YOUR SHAKIRA THREAD

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Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:46 pm
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I'd be interested in seeing Bebop.

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Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:54 pm
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That ascent into space at the end of the first episode is ohsogood.


Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:24 pm
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MadMan wrote:
Bebop is one of the best shows ever made. Its also the only anime show I've ever really bothered to watch.


You're missing out on some other gems, Evangelion most notably.

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Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:29 pm
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Monsieur Red wrote:
I'm not an anime watcher or manga reader but all of my friends that are keep insisting that I watch this.


You should listen to your friends. Bebop was the first legitimately great anime series I saw, and it's one of the more accessible ones for people who don't have much experience with the medium.

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Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:34 pm
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mmmmmm Space Western Noir.

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Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:37 am
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I've seen a few episodes and enjoyed them. One friend has been nagging me for years to finish this series and watch Neon Genesis: Evangelion. One day.


Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:31 am
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Derninan wrote:
I've seen a few episodes and enjoyed them. One friend has been nagging me for years to finish this series and watch Neon Genesis: Evangelion. One day.

You have a good friend.

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Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:32 am
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Nocturna wrote:
You have a good friend.

Nah, he's a creep. So he's a great friend.


Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:33 am
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Gort wrote:
I really liked this series. I started watching with Japanese and subtitles, then read that the director prefers the English version...so started over and watched English all the way through.

I've got the movie queued up at netflix, so I'll watch it before you get to the end.

Yup, Bebop does have the best English dub of any anime I've watched to date.
Nocturna wrote:
This series was the first one Anime I saw that opened my eyes to the possibility of the animated medium. Thank God for my friend who sat me down in front of this one night and changed my life.

Yup again; I'd watched anime beforehand, but it was mostly stupid, shallow stuff like DBZ or Sailor Moon. Then Bebop came along and showed me what a real Japanese cartoon is like...
Magic Fister wrote:
I was planning a Bebop thread, though somewhat different in approach. It shall never happen now.

:( I'd still want to see it! What were you planning to do, anyway...?
Monsieur Red wrote:
I'm not an anime watcher or manga reader but all of my friends that are keep insisting that I watch this.


You should watch it; NOW. Or favorite that link and watch it some time later. But just watch it!

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Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:35 am
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Smalley wrote:
Yup, Bebop does have the best English dub of any anime I've watched to date.

FMA: Brotherhood gives it a run for its money.

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Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:39 am
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Trip wrote:
WAIT WHAT ABOUT YOUR SHAKIRA THREAD

Heh, she can wait for this.
getrhythm wrote:
I'd be interested in seeing Bebop.

Miche' wrote:
That ascent into space at the end of the first episode is ohsogood.

:)
Morphoseth wrote:

You should listen to your friends. Bebop was the first legitimately great anime series I saw, and it's one of the more accessible ones for people who don't have much experience with the medium.

He speaks the truth.

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Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:12 am
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Morphoseth wrote:

You're missing out on some other gems, Evangelion most notably.

Never heard of that one. I'm just not really sure if anime is for me or not, although granted I did like Bebop and I love Spirited Away, so there is that I suppose.

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Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:55 pm
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One day I will watch the series in full.


Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:18 pm
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MadMan wrote:
Never heard of that one. I'm just not really sure if anime is for me or not, although granted I did like Bebop and I love Spirited Away, so there is that I suppose.

Whoa.


Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:22 pm
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Miche' wrote:
Whoa.
I don't bother to watch too much anime, so that shouldn't come as a surprise.

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Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:23 pm
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MadMan wrote:
I don't bother to watch too much anime, so that shouldn't come as a surprise.

True, sure, but between here and RT, it's probably the most revered.


Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:25 pm
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Well I don't really hang around any anime threads on RT, or here. This is the first one related to an anime show that I've posted in.

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Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:30 pm
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Fair enough. It's the best, though. And infamous!


Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:33 pm
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Well shit, I guess I'll give it a shot. Although I have no idea when I'm going to get to it, as I have a bunch of TV shows already on my queue. I wish that Netflix would put even more TV shows on Instant Viewing.

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Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:34 pm
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Another character-intro ep again, this one obviously a lil' more interesting and memorable than the last, since it doesn't focus on an inarticulate animal (cute and intelligent as Ein may have been), introducing us to the series' resident fan service, the seductive (but whiny) Faye Valentine. The plot's a bit implausible, especially the coincidences that lead to the chip mix-up, but it's still pretty intriguing, the climatic spacewalk/shootout/battle is awesome, and the overall slick, too-cool-for-school, James Bond-y atmosphere here ensures there's a ton to enjoy here, In fact, I'd say "Honky Tonk Women" is one of Bebop's most relaxed, enjoyable episodes overall, if not quite one of its best. I liked the foreshadowing about Faye's true age here, and Gordon's an awesome villain
(too bad they killed him off, but oh well),
so yeah, a really good episode.


Muzak: The smooth, sleek, dangerous "Spy", the surreal, otherworldly, sultry "Slipper Sleaze", the jazz-y "N.Y. Rush", and some enjoyable piano music ensures that the properly relaxed atmosphere for the ep is reached.

Best line: Nothing here, really.

Best moment: Spike & Jet goofily stowing away on top of Faye's ship, and her screamed reaction to it.

Final score: 9



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Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:43 am
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Faye is the best kind of space bounty hunter woman.

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Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:13 pm
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Nocturna wrote:
Faye is the best kind of space bounty hunter woman.

Sometimes, I wish Bebop had been planned as a 52-ep series instead of just 26; they seemed to rush in the main cast introductions in those first 4 eps. I wish they would've put a gap in-between 3 & 4, so more time could have passed before Faye was officially added on as regular. Plus, more awesome Bebop adventures 8-) I know if the Deep Space 9 staff could churn out 5 mostly-awesome seasons, then Bebop definitely could've tried for 2...

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Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:26 pm
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Nocturna wrote:
Faye is the best kind of space bounty hunter woman.
Absolutely. And her arc is one of the most satisifying when it comes to the entire cast, too.

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Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:30 pm
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"Gateway Shuffle" has one of the most intricate plots in Bebop's run, if not the most intricate (not counting those two-parters), but it's all brilliantly brought together in the end and executed, highly satisfying, and most importantly, all functions on logic, in somewhat of a contrast to the last ep. Voice-of-Julia Mary Elizabeth McGlynn does a great job as Twinkle Maria Murdock, who's another great villain-of-the-episode, and I love the unique, space eco-terrorist plotline here. The frantic, exciting hyperspace chase scene with an ever-splitting missile is a great action climax, and the ep has a funny, fitting ending after all that. And, despite the short wait time since the last episode, we have Faye established as a regular crew member from now on, so that's good to have out of the way. A great episode.


Muzak: The catchy, playful, off-kilter "Sax Quartet", the tense "Space BARI", and our first listen to the pleasing "The Egg and You", and some other good stuff = another ep with good music all-around.

Best line: "IIIIII'L MAKE MONKEYS OF YOU ALLLLLLL!!!!".

Best moment: When the ampule comes flying out of Twinkle Maria's blouse and breaks, and she realizes what Spike did earlier. And we know they're all trapped in hyperspace forever, as monkeys! Great, great pay-off.

Final score: A+



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See you space cowboy...

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Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:48 pm
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Cowboy Bebop is fantastic... good reviews so far. I own the movie, but haven't gotten around to ordering the whole series yet. I'll have to do that so I can introduce my daughter into anime properly when she's a bit older.

I love the music throughout the series. Curious thought: Has there ever been a soundtrack released? I'll probably go look it up... but just wondering if anyone knew.

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Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:27 pm
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Hank wrote:
I love the music throughout the series. Curious thought: Has there ever been a soundtrack released? I'll probably go look it up... but just wondering if anyone knew.

Quite a few, actually.

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Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:32 am
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Hank wrote:
Cowboy Bebop is fantastic... good reviews so far. I own the movie, but haven't gotten around to ordering the whole series yet. I'll have to do that so I can introduce my daughter into anime properly when she's a bit older.

I love the music throughout the series. Curious thought: Has there ever been a soundtrack released? I'll probably go look it up... but just wondering if anyone knew.

Thanks!

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Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:22 am
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Besides the vague hints in the first episode, "Ballad Of Fallen Angels" is the first episode to really deal with Spike's past, and I really can't imagine a better way of doing so than right here; incredibly dark, operatic, tragic, sad, surreal, etc, "Ballad" has everything you could possibly ask for. Beautiful, beautiful artwork, an awesome, John Woo-y church shootout with some beautifully-choreographed swordplay later on, a great introduction to the ice-blooded Vicious (as well as to Julia), and possibly most importantly, it has the "Green Bird" montage! It's just too much goodness for 22 minutes, and definitely my favorite episode.


Muzak: The beautiful "Ave Maria" during the opera scene and "Green Bird" suit the operatic nature of the episode perfectly, but I always kind of hated "Rain", though; so whiny. Oh well; "Green Bird"!!!

Best line: "When angels are forced out of Heaven, they become devils."

Best moment: The "Green Bird" montage, the best individual scene in all of Bebopdom, where we see brief glimpses of Spike's present & past, all set to the gorgeous "Green Bird". Again, like with the climax of "Asteroid Blues", it just send shivers up and down my spine, only multiplied by a factor of about 5 here. And, it relays vital information to us too! It's still hard to believe just how good a director Watanabe is.

Final score: A+



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Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:59 am
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"Green Bird" is indeed great, but I think this is my favorite BeBop song overall. Its literally the most melancholy song ever.

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Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:00 pm
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That one is the best.


Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:34 pm
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Ballad of Fallen Angels really is the best episode in the show's run, hands down. Interesting that despite his protests to the contrary, Spike goes in after Faye, although one could argue he was just there to kill Vicious.

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Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:15 pm
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MadMan wrote:
Ballad of Fallen Angels really is the best episode in the show's run, hands down. Interesting that despite his protests to the contrary, Spike goes in after Faye, although one could argue he was just there to kill Vicious.

He was just there to kill Vicious :P Or at least, that mattered so much to him that he wasn't thinking about Faye at all; maybe Spike would've truly wanted to save Faye had she been kidnapped by someone else, but I think that if it had been just Vicious calling Spike out with no Faye-hostage, Spike would've shown up anyway. Faye's kind of a non-factor in that situation.

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Sun Jan 23, 2011 3:01 am
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Some of the most vivid and enjoyable Cowboy Bebop episodes for me are their more genre heavy ones: Toys in the Attic, Mushroom Samba, and Pierrot le Fou. And that episode where Faye Valentine tries to uncover something from her past; the ending of that hit me hard. Although there are no bad, poor, or disappointing episodes; throughout its 26 episode and feature film it remains consistently marvelous throughout. They really hit the perfect balance of science fiction plots, comedy, and genuinely heartfelt drama.

One of these days I will watch Samurai Champloo; that one looks pretty cool.

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Trevor wrote:
Some of the most vivid and enjoyable Cowboy Bebop episodes for me are their more genre heavy ones: Toys in the Attic, Mushroom Samba, and Pierrot le Fou. And that episode where Faye Valentine tries to uncover something from her past; the ending of that hit me hard. Although there are no bad, poor, or disappointing episodes; throughout its 26 episode and feature film it remains consistently marvelous throughout. They really hit the perfect balance of science fiction plots, comedy, and genuinely heartfelt drama.

One of these days I will watch Samurai Champloo; that one looks pretty cool.

Yes, those are all great, great episodes. You mean "Speak Like A Child"? Eh, yes, Bebop had great variety, but I wasn't big on the movie or two of the episodes, one of which is...

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Oh irony of ironies, my #1 Bebop session is followed immediately by my least favorite! On the bright side though, at least this one isn't quite bad, which says something good about this series on the whole. Anyway, the plot's muddled, disappointingly falls back on incomprehensible, Star Trek-ian technobabble, and is hard-to-swallow by Bebop standards (it would probably work on another anime, but not on the more down-to-Earth Bebop). The little-kid-who's-not-all-he-appears-to-be villain is a cliche (though probably not as big a one when they wrote this back in '98, and he is kind of menacing and creepy at least). I still don't know why perpetual youth makes Wen immune to headshots and point-blank explosions, the used-once-then-never-brought-up-ever-again "Alpha Catch" is a transparent plot device, the attempt to make the "revelation" of Wen killing Giraffe appear shocking when we already had it figured out is stupid, and the
failed attempts at creating doubt if Spike will survive (it's the 6th fucking episode of the show; as if) are pointless.

The montage about Spike's past at the start is awesome, but it seems to just be shoehorned in to try to make the episode seem more important than it really is, to keep up the revelations about Spike after the essential plot of "Fallen Angels", and is kind of pointless, as it really doesn't tie in with the rest of the episode plot-wise, or even just thematically. The climax of the session where Spike just lets Wen keep shooting at him because it looks dramatic and cool is silly and un-Bebop-ian. Fatty was a good character, I liked the tribute to John Woo with Spike's big pistol-rifle thing, the flashback to Wen's accident was cool, and the age-morphing FX were good, but all of that isn't enough to salvage the ep on the whole. Oh well, at least nothing else left is worse than this one.


Muzak: Lots of sweaty, soulful harmonica work here, like on "Digging My Potato", and the dusty "Don't Bother None" ensures that at least this session has good music, if nothing else.

Best line: "Yeah, I understand.
As if..."

Best moment: Faye eating dog food.

Final score: C



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Sun Jan 23, 2011 1:51 pm
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Trevor wrote:
One of these days I will watch Samurai Champloo; that one looks pretty cool.

Oh yeah, and I remember watching some eps of that, and thinking it was pretty cool; no Bebop, though.

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Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:06 am
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Anyone take issue with my disappointment in Sympathy?

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Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:02 am
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Maybe I'll bend to peer pressure and download it.


Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:07 am
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Monsieur Red wrote:
Maybe I'll bend to peer pressure and download it.

You don't have to do that right away, but you should at least take 22 minutes and go check out the pilot episode, and then report back with a reaction ;) I don't care if you wait after that to tackle the others, just as long as the show gets its hooks into you with that first one.

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Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:10 am
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Post Re: Smalley becomes even furtherly distracted...

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It seems Bebop hit a slight series slump after "Ballad Of Fallen Angels", with no very good episodes until session 9, and no great ones until session 11; don't get me wrong, "Heavy Metal Queen" and the next session are both good, just not particularly impressive in the context of Bebopdom. #s 9 and 10 are very good, but still not quite the best of the show. Still, there's a lot of fun stuff here, like V.T. and the running mystery of her real name, and her cat, Zeros, who seems like the cat equivalent of Ein in terms of intelligence (a "data cat"?). The Woody Allen bad guy is fun, and I loved watching Spike with a hangover, and then still kicking ass. The deception of a "space trucker" culture that's pretty much exactly like our's was funny, I loved Spike's "floating act", and the revelation of V.T's real identity/reason for not liking bounty hunters at the end, and the way it seems she's buried the hatchet with Spike.

Though the never explained why Decker has a bounty on his head, the lame heavy metal parodies kind of suck, and I have no idea why Spike would know that the mine is unstable instead of V.T. (who seems like she would be more familiar with the area than him), but whatever, minor issues. Another fun-but-not-great session.


Muzak: Some lame metal parodies, but "Doggy Dog the Second" is pretty good. Still, should've gotten some Slayer in the mix! Plus Deep Purple's "Space Truckin"; how could they have missed that??

Best line: "Treat him to a prairie oyster, on me."

Best moment: Faye getting the guy with the eel tattoo.

Final score: B



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See you space cowboy...

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Mon Jan 24, 2011 11:37 am
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Post Re: Smalley becomes even furtherly distracted...

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Again, this is another solid session, but one that still doesn't distinguish itself that much within the context of Bebopdom. The lovely Emilie Brown as Stella was a nice guest voice, and Picarro was a great bad-guy-of-the-week, and I loved the little reference to Spike's past, as well as the beautiful, bittersweet ending. The Bruce Lee references were cool too, as was the Raiders Of The Lost Ark one. Besides Roco being kind of annoying in his early hero worship, I really don't have any complaints here, but the episode still doesn't really excel, so I really don't have much I can write about this one; on to the next session.


Muzak: The previously-used "Felt Tip Pen" is nice and relaxing, and the musicbox melody "Stella By Moor" is a nice preview of session 13's "Words That We Couldn't Say". "Forever Broke" is just okay though, unfortunately.

Best line: "Something beautiful, huh? I'm afraid... afraid that I lost that a long time ago."

Best moment: The ending.

Final score: B



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See you space cowboy...

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Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:18 pm
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