Tv Party Tonight! #022

Tv Party Tonight! #022

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Tuesday, 17 January 2017
COLUMN

Cowboy Bebop
The Complete Series [Blu-ray]

Welcome to our series of anime shows which we will be covering for the next few weeks. Whatever your opinion of the genre, the fact remains that anime (or Japanimation in general) is a fantastic medium for storytelling. In many ways the genre has been ahead of western television because it seems like anime series have always understood that you can tell a more complex story over the course of many episodes. On the other hand, Western TV has mostly stuck to the 20-minute format where the status quo is restored at the end of each episode. Maybe the resurgence of TV in the past couple of years (thank you, Breaking Bad?) will bring a new appreciation for the genre.

We kick off our coverage with probably the granddaddy of all anime and that’s Cowboy Bebop. I know, I know, calling it the granddaddy is an exaggeration, but I honestly can’t think of a series I’m more likely to recommend to newcomers. And I stress the term “newcomer” because no anime fan worth their salt hasn’t seen Cowboy Bebop. Nor do I know anyone who’s seen it and hasn’t liked it.

There are several reasons this show is so great. The story mixing personal growth through tragedy, the colorful characters who are deeply flawed yet thoroughly likeable, the fact that the series is both a long story arch and interspersed asides, the incredible technical achievements (think about the fact that the director managed to recreate a shaky cam with animation), the killer soundtrack, and the atmosphere of mixing “old music” (jazz) with a futuristic setting are all obvious reasons why this is such a great show. But just as much of a reason is that the show is just so fucking cool. All of these things are firing full steam as each episode also manages to be a unique entity. No episode is the same and basically aim to make the Cowboy Bebop universe rich and complex. You care about these characters, their individual stories (even Ein),and fall in love with the world they live in.

Funimation scored big by getting the rights to this release and have treated this collection with the respect it deserves. The image is sharp and colorful and the sound comes in both English and Japanese HD 5.1 sound. There’s even a bunch of extras like audio commentary by both the Japanese and English production staff, interviews, textless intros and outros (an anime standard apparently),and much more. An official HD release for this show has been a long time coming (we all remember those bootlegs circulating for the longest time), and Funimation definitely did it right.

I know early on a made the ridiculous statement that Cowboy Bebop is the granddaddy of anime, but if I’m wrong, I’d LOVE to hear the alternative. It just doesn’t get any better than this. A masterpiece.

 

Get it here.

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