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Review: Cowboy Bebop 286

Posted by michael
from the faye-faye dept.
Fans of the excellent Cowboy Bebop anime series have been eagerly awaiting the movie, released on Friday in major U.S. cities. The critics seem to like it overall, and, skimming through the reviews, the ones who dislike it seem to do so for the usual reason: it's a cartoon.

First impressions: It's quite good, good enough to show even non-anime fans. Visually very pretty, plot is perfectly adequate, entertaining yet moderately deep, it's about all I ask for in an anime movie: it's fun.

The movie is strongly reminiscent of the animated series - if you lengthened and filled out one of the standard episodes, boom, you've got a movie. All of the Bebop crew are present, which would put it, time-wise, roughly in the middle of the series. Each of them plays a significant part in tracking their latest target, a bio-terrorist who plans to unleash an unpleasant plague on the population of Mars, but as in the series, they work side-by-side but not necessarily as a team, rather as a loose affiliation of, err, cowboys. The plot is simple but reasonably compelling. The antagonist's motivations are laid out; I didn't find them particularly sensible, but, ignoring that, the actions of the characters make sense and everything pretty much holds together.

The movie is significantly prettier than the series. Instead of the computer-generated beauty of Spirited Away, there are quite a few exquisitely drawn backgrounds. Most of the action takes place in a city on Mars which bears a strong - very strong - resemblance to modern-day New York City. Shadows are rendered with great care, leading to a number of scenes where the shadows play as much of a part in the scene as the character casting them. Although the rendering of Martian daylight is not, perhaps, very realistic (Mars is going to get a lot less light than Earth, even if it's massively terraformed...), the artists do take the opportunity to show us several beautiful sunset shots. The movie is worth watching for the art alone, IMHO.

Fans of the series will know that it's known for its jazz (or maybe jazz-like is more descriptive) numbers. The movie still has some jazz, but there's a lot more rock, leading to a more fast-paced feel. The soundtrack is quite good without being overpowering and without losing the feel that "made" the series. The voice acting is as good as the series, which is not surprising.

At least two of the showings in the movie theater I saw it in were sold out. I imagine that won't continue, since this is a bit of a niche market and the movie hasn't been advertised at all that I've seen, but perhaps it will be enough to get a wider U.S. distribution for the movie, and Spirited Away picking up an Oscar shouldn't hurt either. It's worth seeing in the theaters, I think, assuming there's one near you. If you've ever wondered what sort of beating Spike can dish out when he's really upset at someone, this movie will answer that question. :)

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Review: Cowboy Bebop

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  • One thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by koh (124962) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @02:02PM (#5673839) Journal
    One thing I liked in Cowboy Bebop was the sad ending. No happy ending, no hollywood crap, good japanese drama :)

    • Re:One thing (Score:2, Informative)

      by kal-el (138664)
      Yeah, but that seems the norm for Japanese Anime. Its always some sort of mixed ending. Usually a sad ending, and if not, its not a happy ending.
      • Re:One thing (Score:4, Informative)

        by koh (124962) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @02:20PM (#5673906) Journal
        Yup, most modern and good anime have not-so-good endings indeed. Older anime like Harlock, Grendizer or *shrug* DBZ did have more happy endings.

        IMHO this also applies to most of Japanese art, including good movies like Unagi for instance. Of course, as another poster said, this kind of trick is not appreciated by some people, to whom entertainment should rhyme with happy endings.

        This is probably linked to the fact that Manga and Anime are recognized as high-level media in Japan. Most of the good novels I've read don't have happy endings. Most of the classics have awful endings. This, also, is part of entertainment.

        • What seems to be even more common in my experience are endings that are happy, but come after a major change in the setting or cast.

          Examples: RahXephon, .hack//SIGN, Trigun

          And then, there's some that just end, neither happy nor sad. Hellsing, Lain, etc...

          (BTW: Any other SIGN fans out there really disappointed by .hack//tasogare no udewa densetsu? Blah. There's supposed to be an extra disc in addition to the OAV for the fourth PS/2 game containing a halfhour ep called .hack//Another Story that trails t
        • Re:One thing (Score:2, Interesting)

          by MourningBlade (182180)

          This is probably linked to the fact that Manga and Anime are recognized as high-level media in Japan.

          I'd like to add something to this: the manga and anime that comes overseas tends to be recognized as high-level media.

          While more Japanese than Americans will go see an animated show without the aid/insistence of a small child, Anime is not near as popular or as well-respected as other cinema forms.

          And most manga is pulp, just like comics over here. Sure, more people read them over there, but not all

          • most people in Japan do not catch the latest anime flick, whereas they are far more likely to watch the latest Hollywood movie that comes over.

            This is entirely true, and in more areas than just the cinema. During my first trip to Japan for business, I was amazed that every resturaunt we ate at played Western music. After a few days of this, I asked about it, and it turned out that that was what was popular. Also, during the week we were there, some Whitney Houston album rose to the top of the charts.

            I
    • Re:One thing (Score:4, Interesting)

      by deadsaijinx* (637410) <animemeken@hotmail.com> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @02:16PM (#5673889) Homepage
      I have yet to see the movie, but I have always loved the show. It has just enough dramatic-art elements to it to really highlight the excellent story telling. However, I didn't even know that the movie was being shown in American theaters, and that makes me a bit upset. Why, because the American corporations don't support the animes. Then they say, "HEY, these animes don't do well, let's not put any money into more releases." Of course, then some of them are such great film acheivements (Spirited Away comes to mind) that the companies suddenly realize that they CAN make bucko bicks off of the animes, without doing any of the work. Hell, they don't even put that much money into advertising them. Yet they pour millions of dollars into some of the biggest peices of crap that they can produce. I am sick of people saying that anime sux just because it's a cartoon. Luckily, with releases such as spirited away, and films heavily influenced by anime (The Watchowski Brothers loved Ghost in the Shell and Arkira [as do I]) I feel that more and more people will appreciat anime as another form of cinematic art, and not just some little kiddy thing.

      Long Live CB! 0_o

      • Re:One thing (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ppanon (16583) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @05:08PM (#5674683) Homepage Journal
        When the U.S. firms produce movies, they get all the net profits. When they re-distribute a foreign film, they only get a slice of the pie; the original creators get a substantial portion of the proceeds. The distributors therefore have less incentive to promote and advertise foreign movies since their return is less. Nevertheless, great movies like Miyazaki's; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Akira; and maybe even Cowboy Bebop quite clearly can produce great returns if given half a chance. Maybe U.S. distributors will finally start recognizing this?

        Nah.
    • I didn't. I like a sad ending usually, but the problem with CB is they didn't develop the characters enough. 26 30-minute episodes wasn't really enough to flesh it out. The same ending after a 52-episode run would have been better.
      • Much as I'd like more episodes in the middle; I think the series was sufficient to flesh out the characters. Of course, that may be because I watched the series in an odd order, where I watched the middle, then the end, then watched the whole thing through twice and the beginning again, which meant that I spent longer watching it and got more out of the later watchings of various episodes. There's really a lot of stuff that's really strong in the beginning and middle that you just don't get if you watch the
    • I have to agree with you. Nothing like a sad ending when you're already depressed.

      If you like sad endings watch requiem for a dream. Everybody loves that movie. It helps me to have hope for my life.
    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @04:07PM (#5674424)
      One thing I liked in Cowboy Bebop was the sad ending. No happy ending, no hollywood crap, good japanese drama

      The movie 'takes place' mid-series if I recall. It was really cheating most of the US to show them the complete series first- the movie should have been timed to premiere in the US around ep 20 or so, but well before the last episodes. Sadly, I think the only reason this is in theaters(and/or perhaps the reason it took so long) is because it's about terrorism; as a topic for entertainment, first it was taboo, now it's all the rage.

      It doesn't have to have a sad ending to be good, by the way. Watch the third Patlabor movie some time if you like the whole political intrigue/detective story(which is part of what Knockin' on Heaven's Door is about.)

      Personally, I would have been just as happy if Cowboy Bebop had a happy ending, since I enjoyed every episode. If anything, the sad ending was a huge let-down. Then again, the first episode in the series was a pretty tragic, and should have been a clue that they'd go any-which-way.

      I've already seen the movie(it was fansubbed at -least- a year ago); I highly recommend it; everything you've come to love in the bebop series. There is a GREAT dogfight sequence, worth the cost of the ticket alone, and two great hand-to-hand combat scenes. I will probably go to see it in the theaters, since I a)support anime and b)I want to see the great artwork up close and personal.

      (currently watching Read Or Die- let's hear it for secret agent librarians, yeah!)

      • Personally, I would have been just as happy if Cowboy Bebop had a happy ending, since I enjoyed every episode. If anything, the sad ending was a huge let-down. Then again, the first episode in the series was a pretty tragic, and should have been a clue that they'd go any-which-way.

        The thing I didn't like about the ending was that it pretty much came out of nowhere. (Spike just suddenly decides to go after this guy - while the individual episodes were good, there just wasn't much build-up.) If the serie

        • The thing I didn't like about the ending was that it pretty much came out of nowhere. (Spike just suddenly decides to go after this guy - while the individual episodes were good, there just wasn't much build-up.)

          You're kidding, right? The whole series builds to it. Go, get all the DVDs, and watch it in sequence.

    • I love My Best Friend's Wedding [yahoo.com] because of its sad ending too. Julia doesn't get the guy. It's really the only romantic movie I can think of that has a sad (realistic!) ending.
  • cowboy (Score:2, Funny)

    by jeepee (607566)
    is this Cowboy Neal girlfriend
  • Quibble (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LordSpaz (642874) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @02:07PM (#5673849)
    My only major dislike of the movie was that the two new characters (the villain and the chick associated with him) were a little underdeveloped - they remained a little unclear to me even after the third viewing. The movie had fantastic action scenes, though, far outweighing any in the series, and as the reviewer says, the art was fantastic.
    • Re:Quibble (Score:3, Funny)

      by glwtta (532858)
      My only major dislike of the movie was that the two new characters (the villain and the chick associated with him) were a little underdeveloped

      Oh come on - vincent maybe, but Electra had huge knockers!

  • This is one of only two movies I've ever downloaded (it was even a sub, not a dub)... and my hard drive promptly crapped out soon after, before I had a chance to watch it. Karma's a bitch, innit? :p So now I'm sitting here in Ypsi, waiting for it to come this way... A Spirited Away / Bebop double feature would rock, I think :)
  • Watch the episodes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sketerpot (454020) <sketerpot@gmail . c om> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @02:10PM (#5673862)
    The movie was good, but the episodes have more variety. The movie, I think, tried to be serious and funny, but I find that it's nicer when one or the other prevails. Compare Jupiter Jazz to Cowboy Funk; in one you have some very serious stuff, in the other you have a hilarious cowboy named Andy.

    What I'm saying is, see the movie. But if you want some real fun, see the series too.

  • Damn critics... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VitrosChemistryAnaly (616952) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @02:11PM (#5673866) Homepage Journal
    The critics seem to like it overall, and, skimming through the reviews, the ones who dislike it seem to do so for the usual reason: it's a cartoon.

    Man, I just don't get it. Cartoons are great for anything with a fantasy element.

    Why?

    'Cause you can do anything you want with cartoons...cheaply!

    Live action has certain drawbacks. Sure, you can have beautiful people at which you can stare, but some things are difficult or downright impossible to do with live action.

    The people who don't like cartoon movies are just snobs. Beautiful things can be done with the medium.

    To simply deride something because it's a cartoon is so shortsided.
    • To simply deride something because it's a cartoon is so shortsided.

      It's only shortsided to you because you *like* catroons. Some people simply don't like cartoons. And that's fine. It doesn't make their views shortsighted.

      neurostar
      • Re:Damn critics... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ShinmaWa (449201)
        Some people simply don't like cartoons. And that's fine. It doesn't make their views shortsighted.

        It does when you are a critic.

        A critic's job (IMHO) is to judge a movie's merits within its genre. If you are a critic and don't like cartoons, to deride a movie on that basis alone is a failure to provide any useable insight on the movie's qualities to those who DO.

        If a critic can't seperate their personal likes and dislikes from their reviews (and what I mean is stuff like "I don't like horror movies,
        • A critic's job (IMHO) is to judge a movie's merits within its genre. If you are a critic and don't like cartoons, to deride a movie on that basis alone is a failure to provide any useable insight on the movie's qualities to those who DO.

          Agreed. However that means a critic shouldn't be reviewing movies in that genre. But to disregard someone's personal opinion as "shortsighted" isn't right.

          neurostar
          • What I meant is that it's shortsighted to dismiss a movie *simply because* it's animated.

            Take two movies, equal in all regards. Same script, same production value, same director, same actors (one live action, one as voice overs). Two equally great movies. It would be shortsighted to dismiss one simply because it's a cartoon.

            I'm not talking about comparing Rainbow Bright: The Movie with Forrest Gump. I'm talking about shortchanging a great movie based on one of its many facets.
            • What I meant is that it's shortsighted to dismiss a movie *simply because* it's animated.

              It might be wrong for a critic to do so, but if someone for their own personal enjoyment doesn't like cartoons, it isn't shortsighted.

              Two equally great movies.

              For some people the fact that it's a cartoon makes it "less great" and that's ok.

              neurostar
          • But to disregard someone's personal opinion as "shortsighted" isn't right.

            Agreed. However, we were talking about critics deriding the film simply because its animated. See?
            The critics seem to like it overall, and, skimming through the reviews, the ones who dislike it seem to do so for the usual reason: it's a cartoon.
    • Re:Damn critics... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by GreenHell (209242)
      Don't take what the slashdot editors have to say about it, read the actual negative reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

      Something pops up fairly quickly: Most don't dislike it because it's a cartoon. Many of the bad reviews go on about how good the artwork and visuals are. (Most of the time anyways, as a few also complain about the lack of coherency in the quality in several scenes.)
      Most of the bad reviews dislike it because they found it long, drawn out, and boring.

      Now think about it for a moment. Put aside all t
      • Exactly. I could not find a single review that complained about the cartoon format, or even a reviewer that expressed a disdain for cartoons in general.

        I disagree with those that complained about the pace. I thought it was just about right, except perhaps Vincent's brooding scene when he's talking to Faye, but that was an important story element, and wasn't nearly as dull as the philosophy rant at the end of "Ghost In The Shell."

        Oddly enough, Chris Heweitt of the Pioneer Press, who generally liked the m

    • To simply deride something because it's a cartoon is so shortsided.

      Shortsided . . . that's when they get the perspective wrong.

      Right?

      ;-)
    • The other thing anime is in doing things for which there's a shortage of decent actors. For example, I'd love to see what could be done with Ender's Game, but getting enough *decent* child actors to fill out the whole cast of 6 - 11 year old kids (not to mention that it spans about 6 years, and all those kids would be changing physically - kids at that age grow up pretty quick).

      But an anime version could overcome these problems.

    • Live action has certain drawbacks. Sure, you can have beautiful people at which you can stare..

      You mean I am the only one that enjoys staring at 12 year old, Japanese school girl Anime characters?
  • the The Perfect Sessions [amazon.com] is alot of fun; you can get 20 something episodes for $35 (used). that's great fun at $3/hour, which in most cases is cheaper than the movies.

    the season has a overall theme, but not all episodes progress the storyline -- some are just w, well, OT. i liked this series far better than any of the 20 other anime movies i've ever seen

    • Re:semi OT (Score:2, Informative)

      by Blackbrain (94923)
      Watch out for the cheap copies of Perfect Sessions. They are nasty pirate copies being passed off a new. A better bet is the Amazon exclusive package [amazon.com] which contain all the DVDs from the Perfect Session collection without the soundtrack.

    • WTF? My brother has the original boxed set. He paid something like $150 for it. Someone mentioned a pirated copy, but on Amazon?
  • by thadeusPawlickiROX (656505) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @02:16PM (#5673887)
    This is the one thing I don't understand: Why do critics continually put down anime style artwork but eat up Disney stuff? There's nothing wrong with a Disney "cartoon," but if it's anime, a critic often has some kind of prejudice against the anime movie.

    I'm an avid anime fan, and it bothers me to see such meaningless reasons as to why the Bebop movie isn't good. The Cowboy Bebop movie does not have the best stand-alone plot (it goes well with the entire series), but I still think that it's a good movie for a one-shot and the animation did not get as much credit as it deserved in the negative reviews.

    However, it is nice to see that a majority of the reviews of the film are mainly positive. It's not like everyone is against it, but the one's who are against it seem to have poor reasoning.

    • by MarvinMouse (323641) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @02:59PM (#5674072) Homepage Journal
      Actually, being an anime fan, and actually having read a good number of those "bad" reviews. I think there is an incredible bias here.

      A majority of the reviewers who say that hte show is bad are right on the button why the movie isn't great. They don't even bring up the animation, other than to praise how well it is done. No, rather, most of them comment on the sheer episodicness of the movie, and the lack of what they considered a coherent plotline.

      As well, I could understand a few of them being really confused because they don't really understand the "cowboy bebop" universe.

      There was one reviewer who said it was "Just a Cartoon" and even then he was just pointing out that the plot, the storyline, etc. were just not that good. It's very similar to another review saying that a movie is "Just another movie", this Cowboy Bebop movie is "Just another cartoon". He's not attacking you, or your absolute love of anime, he's just saying that he wasn't thrilled, excited or stunned by this movie.

      Accept that people don't like thing you do, and that they have perfectly legitimate reasons to. Not everyone who doesn't like the movie is 'against it', and I can say a majority of the ones who did say the movie was not that great had perfectly legitimate reasons to say so.
      • I had this same feeling. Having watched and been impressed by the show, the movie was a bit disappointing because it just wasn't EPIC enough to be called the Cowboy Bebop movie. I mean, the topic was serious, and the team pulled together to save the day. But I just wasn't very excited while watching it; they got into and out of worse situations in the show itself! I guess my standards were just too high.

        And I can undestand how someone who hadn't watched the show would be confused by it. It made sense to me
  • Here I am, a huge fan of the series, and I'm stuck in Nashville, TN which is about the last place in America this will get shown I'm sure. It was the same with Sprirted Away, and any other full length anime release that cruel geography and dumb luck managed to deprive me of. Excuse me now, I'm going to go weep bitter tears in the bathroom.

    Oh well, theres always DVD.

  • "MPAA Rating: R for some violent images. " from movies.yahoo.com holy shit. :-p -Anu
  • by DisKurzion (662299) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @02:32PM (#5673960)
    anime will NEVER become mainstream. As much as I would love to see it happen, I KNOW that the american culture is too pompous and ignorant to let it happen.

    People have become way too dependent on what critics say about a movie. They go watch what other people tell them they should, possibly because it costs way to much to see a movie. Critics who diss the movie for poor animation and "Speed Racer" style action obviously never went to see the movie, and instead opted to read some online summary and diss what they do not understand.

    So ignore (the vast majority of) the critics, and go see what is a GREAT action movie that actually has a plot.
    • by jgardn (539054)

      anime will NEVER become mainstream. As much as I would love to see it happen, I KNOW that the american culture is too pompous and ignorant to let it happen.

      <sarcasm>That's right. And this internet thing will NEVER become popular. No one will EVER use a personal computer. And as for this new technology called "calculus", it's NEVER going to be accepted by the masses.</sarcasm>

      As for me, I'm going to keep using linux, watching Anime, and using GPG to sign my email messages. The rest of the

      • And as for this new technology called "calculus", it's NEVER going to be accepted by the masses.
        >>>>>>>>
        It hasn't. Science in general hasn't. It's phenomenal what the average person on the street *doesn't* know...
    • Critics who diss the movie for poor animation ... So ignore (the vast majority of) the critics

      I think you picked the wrong "ignorant masses" template to use for your reply. If you actually read the post and the links, you'll see that there are mostly positive reviews for both animation and the movie overall.

      I see that this is your first post to Slashdot. You didn't follow the links, so that's good, with some more practice you'll fit in well here. The capital words for emphasis are good, however your spe
    • I'm not ignorant, I just plain don't like it. Tried watching Bebop, Excel Saga, and Hellsing. Sorry but it doesn't hold my interest. Now The Maxx is a whole different story...

    • Maybe you haven't noticed the isles and idles of Anime to rent at every single movie rental store and chain! Or if you go into your local DVD shop, or video game shop, or favorite book shop, guess what? Yep, They've got shelves and shelves full of Anime and Manga to buy!

      You don't get out often, do you? Anime has been more popular than PacMan years and years ago.

  • by Omniscient Ferret (4208) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @02:34PM (#5673970)
    A common problem with a movie based on something episodic is that it gets tangled up in all of the continuity; you have to know about all of the storylines to make sense of the references dropped into the movie. This didn't happen with Cowboy Bebop. I haven't seen all of the episodes yet, and I really enjoyed the movie. There were a couple of references I missed, but friends assured me it wasn't major plot points, such as, say, Spike's life having Indian influences, or an apparent cameo that got a cheer from the audience.
  • by baronben (322394) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `legips.neb'> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @02:35PM (#5673973) Homepage
    While I love Bebop, my biggest problem with this movie is that it was just one long episode. It didn't really do anything new or exciting, they just relied on the tried and true Bebop formula, Spike being cooler then Jesus, good fight scenes, good action scenes, and kick ass music (see the movie for the music if anything, Yoko Kanno is a goddess.)

    That being said, most anime movies based on TV shows aren't usually that good. Escaflone the movie was fairly bad, and the Eva movies will never, ever, see a US theatrical release. However, Bebop was still a decent movie, and some of the scenes, such as the last fight scenes with the fireworks and butterflies, just demand being scene in a theater.

    • Personally, I loved End of Evangelion. Gotta love the sploosh! (sploosh.. sploosh....)

      That, and Komm Sutter Todd is an awesome song.

      You're definitely right about Escaflowne, though; that was a real pile of trash. If you want to watch something that makes a similar amount of sense, but at least it doesn't make you want to go slit your wrists... I suggest you check out the Utena movie. Wonderful music. Prettier too, imo. A bit of nudity, but that's to be expected of any movie that deals with sex and g
    • I think the biggest reason that the EVA movies will never see a theatrical run is that a lot of fans begged Manga Entertainment _not_ to. They did this because it requires having seen the original TV series to understand squat. At least they weren't just long episodes.
    • by glwtta (532858) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @05:33PM (#5674838) Homepage
      Spike being cooler then Jesus, good fight scenes, good action scenes, and kick ass music (see the movie for the music if anything, Yoko Kanno is a goddess.)

      Yeah, I hate it when they do that - give me a lame character, bad fight scenes and awful music!

      Seriously, I think that being "jsut a long episode" is the absolute best thing a movie based on a (good) series can do. When they try to do something "special" it either alienates the fans, or just comes out crap.

  • Okie, slightly off-topic. But I'm curious :)

    At the very end of the series, did Spike survive? Is there going to be another series? It'll be a shame if that's all there is, because it's such a great show! And these days that's unusual.
    • [SPOILER!!] (Score:5, Informative)

      by LastToKnow (449735) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @02:51PM (#5674038) Homepage
      [LOOK OUT!!! MASSIVE SPOILER!!]

      No, he didn't. That, in my opinion, is the beauty of bebop. They had the nerve to kill off the main character. They said "This is the end. No more Bebop."

      I said "No he didn't" pretty finally, and all there is is symbolic proof, but I think its pretty solid. The flock of birds flies up as the camera pans; they used that a couple times to signify death, most notably when Julia died. The lyrics of the song that plays is "I'm ascending" (good news; he went to heaven). And most importantly, in the very last shot of the series, looking at the stars, there is that star that fades out, just as Old Man Bull says happens when someone dies.

      I think that the series up to the last 3 or 4 sessions is good, but it is those last 3, where everything comes crashing down for everyone, that really makes Bebop great.
  • by WolfEel (191902) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @02:44PM (#5674008)
    I enjoy the television show, but I suppose I realize now that a big part of that is the fast pacing they are forced into by the 30 minute episode length. While I did enjoy the movie, there were many times when it dragged. And the fighter sequence with Spike in his jet... not only did it have nothing to do with the plot (only an excuse to show his jet) it was soooo loooong.

    And was anybody else disappointed that the credits song from the TV show was missing? That is consistently my favorite part of the show.
  • Not just for kids? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kamapuaa (555446)
    I used to live in Japan, have a number of Japanese friends, and so on. I'm not going to claim cultural expertise, but it's a pretty obvious fact that 95% of anime & manga flatly aims itself at the teenager or younger set. A more mature audience than Disney, for sure, but the constant posts that in Soviet Japan, anime is mainstream and created for adults is stretching the truth. American anime fans are, in general, older than Japanese anime fans.

    Cowboy Bebop doesn't come off as particularly adult.

    • Cowboy Bebop doesn't come off as particularly adult. The characters can be described with 2 or 3 adjectives, Faye is around mostly to show off her animated ass, and in general it's not as intelligent as an Hollywood action flick.

      I'd have to say that the movie was about on par with a hollywood action flick. However, the tv series was on a different level entirely. Good character development, excellent animation, very dramatic, exciting, interesting overall plot and theme. Too bad it ended after only 26 ep
      • by demon (1039)
        I can't entirely agree with the "it should have lasted another season" sentiment. Not that I don't like Cowboy Bebop - I do. I own all 6 DVDs. I _love_ it. But I think that's, if anything, one good thing about Japanese anime serials - they say "it's going to be this long", and it's that long. Too many American TV shows get stretched, and stretched, and stretched, until the plot is so thin, and the characters so worn out, that we can't stand the story anymore. I didn't entirely like the way the series ended,
  • bebop? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by joenobody (72202) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @03:17PM (#5674161)
    I've seen it, and the nicest thing I can say about it that it's not Cowboy Bebop. Ed is messed up, grapically and character-wise. The computer animation is pretty poorly integrated. Jet's barely in the movie and spends most of it moping around like a schmuck. Faye's top is cut open for no particular reason. Spike's at least about right, but Ein is painfully obvious.

    The villain is some kind of nihilistic joke who can't even keep continuity -- he survives, without disfigurement, exploding a grenade in his hand that blackens and twists a nearby metal seat, but takes one bullet in the climax and dies.

    Speaking of which, the entire story around the contrived love interest is incredibly hammy, and if anyone didn't see that twist at the end coming you'd best get your eyes checked. Ugh.

    I didn't expect the world from this movie, but it didn't come close to matching up with the worst episode.
  • by bfields (66644) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @03:45PM (#5674309) Homepage
    skimming through the reviews, the ones who dislike it seem to do so for the usual reason: it's a cartoon.
    Here are some quotes from those critics:

    Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail:

    The dynamic use of the screen frame is exciting compared to the more tame North American animation fare, but it doesn't hold interest by itself. Unfortunately, the storyline -- a mixture of B-movie dialogue, supernaturalism and technological catastrophe -- feels dashed off and puerile.
    Jan Stuart, Newsday:
    the script wallows in the sort of solemn existential malaise borrowed from film noir that young people who wear black mistake for hip. The dialogue is blockheaded, and it is delivered by a retinue of bland soap opera voices that seem out of joint with their characters. At nearly two hours, this "Cowboy" is a very long and pretentious ride into the sunset.
    Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
    Were it replicated, shot for shot, as a live-action film, "Cowboy Bebop" would be just another unpleasant science-fiction thriller, with the usual mix of salaciousness and violent death. The Magritte sky and the laser-like colors will push this into the winning column for some, while others will be put off by a Speed Racer-like lack of detail in the characters' faces and find the animation novelty wearing thin after 10 minutes.

    Maybe you could put down the end of that last quote to an "anti-cartoon" bias? But from the paragraph as a whole its clear that the reviewer thinks the animation is actually the only thing that the movie has going for it.

    I don't mean to bash the movie. (In fact, I had to read through a lot of positive comments to get to the above quotes. Sounds like it might be a fun movie!) I just question the article's claim that the reviewers disliked the movie just because it's animated. Seems to me that does an injustice to the criticisms raised, criticisms which are actually repeated by a lot of reviewers, and which have less to do with the medium than with the dialog, the story, and the characters.

    --Bruce F.

    • "... the story is almost too ambitious for a cartoon (especially for people who like their cartoons with a little more fun and a little less elaborate plots and "end of the world" stuff)." -- The Movie Chicks [themoviechicks.com]

      That quote bothers me, and I'm not even an anime fan!
    • At nearly two hours, this "Cowboy" is a very long and pretentious ride into the sunset.

      Note first that this was the quote from another review and not from the author of the post. Anyways, I just wanted to comment that although the movie may be 2 hours long (just short of, I think an hour and 54 minutes) it doesn't seem that long. It does keep the interest kinda well, although I am a big fan of the Bebop already, so I was gonna sit through it no matter what.
  • Interest (Score:3, Funny)

    by t0ny (590331) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @03:50PM (#5674337)
    Im only interested in this if there are graphic depictions of tentacle rape
  • Anyone know if the voices are the same as in the (english) series? The voice actors did such a great job; I prefer the dub way more than the subtitle, and I usually go for the sub.
  • by cqnn (137172) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @03:55PM (#5674366)
    >> Although the rendering of Martian daylight is
    >> not, perhaps, very realistic (Mars is going to
    >> get a lot less light than Earth, even if it's
    >> massively terraformed...),

    Actually the reason for that is implied, if not
    directly explained in the context of the series.

    The Hyperspace gateways that were created to allow ships
    to travel between the planets (and facilitate the migration
    from earth after the great Gate accident) are also used
    to pipe sunlight from near-earth orbit to the other colonies.

    It was a convienient vehicle used to give the other planets
    consistent conditions without having to nit-pick too much
    on other physical differences between Earth, Mars, Venus, Ganymede
    and a few other spots.

    Half the fun of watching anime is trying to figure out what the
    hell the creators were thinking when they came up with scenarios
    like that.

  • Good overall entertainment, but... The movie lacked the key elements of the show that separate it from the other sci-fi animes. The best regular shows revealed a part of each character's past, motivations, and/or personality that you didn't know before. The villian was the most vanilla of any I've seen, and considering how much depth the twenty-minute shows given their enemies, it's a big failing. It was a two hour plus movie! The personalities of the characters weren't consistent with the show, Spike w
  • My Impressions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by enderwig (261458) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @04:41PM (#5674546)
    First off, I would like to disagree with submitter. I don't think the Cowboy Bebop movie is good enough for "non-anime" viewers since it's not even good enough for people not familiar with the series. The movie spends zero time introducing the four main characters. There is no way of knowing why there such a love-hate relationship between Faye and Spike/Jet. And why does Ein know the next move of Go? Or why does Spike have this whole devil-may-care attitude? Viewers of the series or readers of the manga could easily answer those questions. It's a good anime movie, but it is squarely aimed at the fans of the series.

    I enjoyed the music from the movie more than the series. I guess it was more blues/rock-n-roll-like than jazz-like.

    In addition, I was amazed with the script and the voice talent. This is coming from a Sub-over-dub guy. It appeared that lip syncing software was used, but this is the first time I thought the script did not suffer from it. I only cringed maybe 3 times at a weird sentence or an abnormal pause in the rhythm of speech. The translation was excellent.

    I have watched the series as subs and only briefly checked out the dubs on the DVD's. Major kudos goes to Wendee Lee who actually out performs Megumi Hayashibara as Faye. Her performance really made Faye a multi-dimensional character. Also kudos to Melissa Charles for matching the perfection of Ed by Aoi Tada. "Faye-Faye, Stay Away-way." ^_^

    I agree with another poster about Vincent and Elektra, very under developed. The series, in just 25-50 minutes, did a much better job of bringing depth to the "villians." Episodes like the 2-part "Jupiter Jazz" or "Pierrot Le Fou" really made you feel for the story's main character.

    From what I've read, the time line for movie is between Session #22 and Session #23.

    89 out of 100: For the amazing translation and acting performances of Wendee and Melissa. Points off for underdeveloped characters.

    Anthony
    • The movie spends zero time introducing the four main characters. There is no way of knowing why there such a love-hate relationship between Faye and Spike/Jet. And why does Ein know the next move of Go? Or why does Spike have this whole devil-may-care attitude? Viewers of the series or readers of the manga could easily answer those questions. It's a good anime movie, but it is squarely aimed at the fans of the series.

      I would like to disagree with you there. Before seeing the movie I've only heard of CB in

      • I have to agree, in that I haven't seen the Bebop series, but have seen and enjoyed the Bebop movie tremendously.

        I'm waiting for Madman in Australia to release the boxset of Bebop episodes, and then I'll buy that. The series will obviously give me a greater understanding of the characters, and then I can watch the movie again with a different perception!

        So why did I like the movie without any of the episodes behind me? Well, besides the excellent art, action, and music (brilliant music!!) ... the charac
  • the ones who dislike it seem to do so for the usual reason: it's a cartoon.
    Not so. Check out this [filmthreat.com] review from filmthreat, who I generally happen to like.
    Quote from the review:

    "Good news is that most of the marvelous English dialogue cast from the "Cowboy Bebop" series has returned for the film. The bad news is that the heart and soul of the series hasn't."

    The reviewer seems to be a big fan of the series and can't stand the movie. So, it doesn't seem to be some sort of anti-anime bias to me.

  • by DJ_Tricks (664229) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @05:39PM (#5674872)
    I saw this movie for the first time roughly two years ago when it was released as a digital divx fan sub though the wonders of P2P networks. Its amazing animation even in its lower quality format was amazing and beautiful. But seeing the movie now: after the events of 9-11, make it seem more reflective to the current events of the real world. With scenes of a mars after the destruction of earth and every major World monument from the Twin Towers to the Eiffel tower make the terra formed Martian city a place where every man could be.

    The voice acting in the English dubbed movie is simply beautiful each character seams to match there Japanese actor counter part perfectly. The director Shinichiro Watanabe amazed me with his directing in the series but his directing of the movie blew me away. The choreography of the martial arts was amazing. Spike perfect use of Jet Kun Do, the style developed by Bruce lee, was beautiful and fluid. While the Special Forces style of martial arts Shotokan is shown for its hard stiff movements but amazing use of power with little effort. Wanatabe has this eye of such things to make you even sit back and thing you were watching two actual people fighting when he directs each scene out.
    I am very much looking forward to his take on the new Animatrix film called "Kids story" due out in May for download.

    The movie even though dealing with a biological threat makes you sit back and look at why the villain is doing what he is doing. Seeing even in his madness there is this perfect solid calm of reason. One point in the movie that made me laugh that I didn't think I read in the Japanese version was when Vincent "the villain" is in the car with his hacker associate Leo. Leo is talking while playing on an old game saying back in the old days all you needed as 5 buttons and a great game was how hacking back in the day was easy
    Then making a reference to how captain crunch hacked the phone systems with a simple whistle at 2600 hertz. I laughed out so hard that half that didn't get the reference in the theater turned. Funning thing was that it was also the first Friday of the month and right after the movie I was going to a dc 2600 meeting.

    Over the entire movie was beautiful but what make cowboy bebop what it is, is right in its title the bebop! The series and movie cowboy bebop with its amazing score and music done by the great Japanese "Female" (I not this because she has over 100 shows and movie under her belt and most people think she is a he) Composer Kanno, Yoko was simply spell binding with its 20's/30's big band jazzy fashion. But Miss Kanno took the movie a different direction pulling songs from newer movies such as the opening song from the cheesy 1989 movie "Earth Girls Are Easy" (Jim carry, Damon Waynes, and Jeff Goldblum). But as the action gears up giving a jazzier feel like we usually have from Cowboy Bebop and then adding a twist of an electronic hard house jazzy sound of the more modern variety but still keeping the typical trumpet/snare drum sounds you typically find in jazz.

    Sitting during this movie two times now at the Washington DC premiere at Dupont circle was a joy, nay a privilege. As I sat with fellow anime fans it was amazing to see the non anime fans get the jokes they had in the movie just the same as the full blown "otaku" anime fans. The movie at times seems to go on and on but in a way that even if your ass hurts in the seat the movie makes you want to keep watching and not fall asleep because its stylistic art it's simply beautiful in all ways fluid form. Most of my friends who have seen it simply say it's a 2 hour long episode. But that can be is so far from the truth I realize they have no clue what they are saying. This movie was a salute to an amazing anime series and gives its last Farwell leaving us happy to know that seeing it made us smile and look at things with different perspectives.
  • There was a fanboy bebop scene where Edward is talking to Ein. She says, "So pretty much you're a bit right?"

    Ein barks. It comes out a synthisized (tron) "Yes."

Programmers do it bit by bit.

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