Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Rand's Cowboy Bebop Review or When Legends walk the small screen

So this is my TV review day, and since this is the first I thought I'd start it with a bang, so here is the review of one of my favorite shows.
Cowboy Bebop: 10/10
So if you've read this webpost (or you like bad words, blog) consistantly you might have noticed that I reference Cowboy Bebop a lot, and if you've read it a lot you might have noticed a couple times I've called Cowboy Bebop a legendary series. So you might ask, am I exaggerating, am I blowing it's quality way out of proportion? Let me first say, that Rand the grand and glorious does not exaggerate! (Alright I exaggerate a little sometimes.) Next let me say that Cowboy Bebop deserves all the praise it gets and then some it truly is a legendary series.
Usually a legendary series defines its genre, but in this case it's a little different since it doesn't exactly fit into a genre exactly. Now it's more than the fact that it combines references to Cowboys and Bebop and related music. There are also Sci-Fi and tons of movie stuff, but beyond that, the whole of the influences and ideas and elements combine to create something undefinable. Given that I find it undefinable, it is hard to describe.
Let's start with the premise. A group of bounty hunters (at first just two men, but eventually a woman, a kid and a dog are added into the mix) hunt their bounties among the planets in the future. They are good, even great, although they have a bad habit of letting their bounties die a lot, and so they are often low on cash. Each has a complex back story, but they try to leave the past behind as they live their lives hunting down criminals, even though the past often returns to haunt them.
The whole thing, well, it's beautiful. Look at the art, it's just perfect really, every cell, perfect, right down to the eyecatches (the stills before and after commercial breaks). The colors, the lines, the details, the stylization and the realistic elements all combine into a perfect beauty. There's so much to it that I often miss a lot (I have friends who tell me all about the different references found in the tiny details in the frames), but it never feels garish or overdone. And the beauty extends from the frames to the motion with masterfully correographed fight scenes and perfectly flowing motion.
But there's lots of beautiful nonsense out, sometimes the beauty is great enough that the nonsense does not bother me, other times there is so much nonsense that despite the beauty I can't stand it. But this is not one of those cases, in fact here the beauty of the art is matched by beautiful content. There is hilarity, there is drama, there are movie references. The characters are complex and versetile with excellently worked out back-stories, multi-layered and engaging relationships, and personalities that are at times both subtle and larger than life. The plots often echo old movies but they are more than homages, they take what was best about those old movies but the main strength of the plot is how beautifully it works with the characters, how engaging they are, how they hook the watcher in and never let him go. The setting is such an immensely fascinating world that you could spend eons in it (I kind of wish there was more episodes, but then again if there were too many it might dilute the quality of each episode, remember a TV show must be judged by the whole it creates). There are so many facets of it, that I cannot begin to really say all the stuff I like about the show. I'm really not sure what else I can say that will convince you how awesome the show is but it is as I've said, a legendary series (I really wish they'd put it back on the Adult Swim rotation (I know I can just get the episodes and watch them on my computer or on DVD, but I like watching TV when it's actually broadcast, it gives me a sort of community feel and a greater connection to the world of the television), sure there are other good anime, but even in an endless loop of reruns it's still good enough to deserve a slot.).
So as you might of guessed from this immensely glowing review, or as you might have read from the start of the session, on a ten point scale this gets a 10/10.
Let me add a couple extras onto this review.
So favorite episodes.
Well, the character building episodes are fantastic. Ballad of Fallen Angels, Ganamyde Elegy, Jamming with Edward, My Funny Valentine (I think that's the episode's name, maybe not, I have a bad memory so what you want to fight about it? (little Family Guy joke for you there)), etc.
Outside those, Wild Horses excellent episode, Boogie Woogie Fung Shei, Mushroom Samba, Sympathy for the Devil, Pierrot Le Fou, Bohemian Rhapsody, Asteriod Blues, and of course the epic finale The Real Folks Blues. So many good episodes really.
Best quotes, best moments, well there are so many and I have bad memory (I'm going to do a session about that sometime), but the point is watch this show, watch it, watch it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh I should mention, the music...well, it is fantastic, never realized the Japanese could do the blues so well, but there you have it with the ending theme.
Yeah, that's about it, so I think I'll wrap thing up then. So take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!


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