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Answerman - Will There Ever Be A "Next Cowboy Bebop"?


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angelmcazares
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:58 pm Reply with quote
I completely agree with Justin that Cowboy Bebop was the right show at the right time to become a transcendental anime hit. But I strongly disagree with Bebop having bad episodes; all episodes are well made. And in my opinion the ending, while satisfying, is not as resolute and conclusive as he believes.

Also, the person asking the question is under estimating Attack on Titan. When the first season came anime streaming was becoming the norm and a big business. I have heard from experts that AoT was a big boost for the industry. And wasn't it a big reason of why the Toonami block returned?


Last edited by angelmcazares on Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ultimatehaki



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:16 pm Reply with quote
So we will never have parents calling special help centers when their kids are doing the Naruto run or shouting out random attack names when play fighting?

The good old days are truly behind us Laughing
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Mr March



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:22 pm Reply with quote
Great article and agree we don't "need" another Cowboy Bebop. It did act as a gateway into anime for non-anime fans, but was so good at what it did it was really popular with existing long time fans as well.

However, I'm not sure I agree with the idea that Cowboy Bebop had a strong, definitive, "real" ending. At the time, there was a large portion of the anime fan community who refused to accept the death of Spike, many declaring the ending "ambiguous". I agree that this was a misreading of the show by a lot of fans, but it was because of their intense emotional investment in the series that they wanted to hang onto hope, a credit to what Cowboy Bebop means as a top tier anime series.

More importantly, Cowboy Bebop's ending really didn't "end" much in any kind of narrative sense, with the exception of Spike. Which isn't saying much since the series was largely self-contained episodic stories. There are only 4 episodes out of 26 that deal with Spike's story and they are paced at the beginning, middle and end of the show, finishing with a hard stop for the Spike character and his existential dilemma. In fact, the show leaves most of the characters hanging, some particularly precariously. Ed and Ein simply leave the show before the final episode with very little closure. Jet and Faye are left alone by Spike's death, with an uncertain future. For both those characters, Spike (and both Ed / Ein) left the "family" just at a time when both Jet and Faye had finally come to the group as such.

As per the article, I think that Cowboy Bebop ends the series in a more "western" way than other anime. However, it's still not much of an ending, only one that is familiar to western audiences that consume less conventional, indie style film and TV series. Nowadays, Cowboy Bebop's tragic, neo-noir finale would be right at home in a media landscape ruled by premium cable and streaming shows that are distinguished by their non-mainstream subject matter and controversial endings. But back in 1998, mainstream entertainment had not yet taken that turn. I remember a lot of folks thrown by the ending of Cowboy Bebop and were anything but comfortable with it.


Last edited by Mr March on Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MarshalBanana



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:24 pm Reply with quote
I thought Bebop came over in 01, it could have come out in the year 2000, but I do know that it did not come over in 99.
angelmcazares wrote:
But I strongly disagree with Bebop having bad episodes; all episodes are well made.
Nearly everyone hates Boogie Woogie Feng Shui, and personally aside from the funny restaurant scene, I've never cared for Heavy Metal Queen.
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xchampion



Joined: 21 Jan 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:29 pm Reply with quote
There is just something about Asian entertainment that I dig and it doesn't have to be Japanese productions or anime either. There is great content being made everywhere in the East. I particularly have a fondness for foreign live action films, specifically action movies. Some amazing Japanese films that I love include Battle Royale, Blade of the Immortal, 13 Assassins, and Zatoichi(2007). The last 3 films happen all to be directed by Takashi Miike. I think he is one of the best Japanese film makers today. He isn't the next Akira Kurosawa by any means, but many of Miike's films specifically his samurai films are definitively inspired by Kurosawa's films. I know this answer isn't exactly about Cowboy Bebop, but Justin did throw Akira Kurosawa in the mix so I feel this post definitely fits in the context of his answer. I could see Takashi Miike also being inspired by Cowboy Bebop since he has done plenty of anime live action adaptions, even tho I don't have any evidence of that being the case.
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sourpatchthekid



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:00 pm Reply with quote
angelmcazares wrote:


Also, the person asking the question is under estimating Attack on Titan. When the first season came anime streaming was becoming the norm and a big business. I have heard from experts that AoT was a big boost for the industry. And wasn't it a big reason of why the Toonami block returned?


Toonami returned a year before AoT came out so not quite. However streaming was becoming huge that time and i would say that, Kill La Kill, Sword Art Online and other shows definitely gave anime another huge boost in the West
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angelmcazares
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:27 pm Reply with quote
MarshalBanana wrote:
angelmcazares wrote:
But I strongly disagree with Bebop having bad episodes; all episodes are well made.
Nearly everyone hates Boogie Woogie Feng Shui, and personally aside from the funny restaurant scene, I've never cared for Heavy Metal Queen.

I can accept Bebop having unpopular episodes, but that does not make them bad.
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Zalis116
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:39 pm Reply with quote
Remember when Coyote Ragtime Show was hyped as the Next Bebop? How'd that work out for the folks at ADV? (EDIT: same goes for Gun x Sword with Geneon.)

In addition to its other strengths, Cowboy Bebop also benefited from coming out in a less-saturated time. There were far fewer anime being made per season in 1998, and a lower percentage of them reaching Western audiences, legitimately or otherwise. (I imagine the total amount of 1998 TV series that we got within a couple years of airing is comparable to ANN's "Weekly Streaming Review" quota of an individual season nowadays.) Fansubs were still on VHS when it aired in Japan, and downloading digital fansubs in 2000-01 was a slow, difficult experience for a low-quality, marginally-watchable result. So an individual show that got licensed, dubbed, and put on US TV had a lot more opportunity to make an impact as the Hip New Thing both on the anime fandom and the broader entertainment culture.

Another plus in Bebop's favor was simply being episodic; you generally didn't need to have seen the previous episode(s) to understand what was going on in a given episode if you caught it on late-night Toonami. While US TV has moved more towards serialized storytelling in the last 20 years, stuff back then was a lot more episodic, making Cowboy Bebop more accessible to audiences of that era.

MarshalBanana wrote:
angelmcazares wrote:
But I strongly disagree with Bebop having bad episodes; all episodes are well made.
Nearly everyone hates Boogie Woogie Feng Shui, and personally aside from the funny restaurant scene, I've never cared for Heavy Metal Queen.
I was never too enthralled by Mushroom Samba or Toys in the Attic, but maybe that's a case of my finding them "not as good as the rest" vs. being outright bad.

Quote:
As per the article, I think that Cowboy Bebop ends the series in a more "western" way than other anime. However, it's still not much of an ending, only one that is familiar to western audiences that consume less conventional, indie style film and TV series. Nowadays, Cowboy Bebop's tragic, neo-noir finale would be right at home in a media landscape ruled by premium cable and streaming shows that are distinguished by their non-mainstream subject matter and controversial endings. But back in 1998, mainstream entertainment had not yet taken that turn. I remember a lot of folks thrown by the ending of Cowboy Bebop and were anything but comfortable with it.


Whatever the merits or flaws of the ending, one thing we can't deny is that it isn't a "Go read the manga if you want more" ending, like many other anime before and since, or an "Oops we got cancelled lol" ending like many US TV shows had to endure.


Last edited by Zalis116 on Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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Panoptican



Joined: 03 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:46 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Is it the best anime ever made? No, not by a longshot.


Whoa there. I'm not going to say Cowboy Bebop is the undisputed best anime ever or anything, but it's certainly up there in the running. It's definitely not a longshot away. Pointing out that some episodes are weaker than others isn't really some huge knock. Not every episode has to be equally amazing for a show as a whole to be considered one of the best. Otherwise you could pick at nearly any great TV show in any medium and knock them down. For instance, Breaking Bad (or insert any other exceptionally critically acclaimed show here) had some weaker episodes, but no one would say it's a longshot away from any best TV shows ever discussions.
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Primus



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:17 pm Reply with quote
I find it weird Justin didn't mention its longevity on Cartoon Network in the U.S. as that really seems to have fueled its reverence. Go to an anime convention in Canada that doesn't attract many visitors from the south and ask random attendees if they've watched or have heard of Cowboy Bebop. You're going to get more blank stares than you might expect, even from the older crowd. That show's mainstream exposure in this country was exclusive to a short-lived deep cable channel. Word of mouth only got you so far when accessibility was limited to home video releases and early internet piracy.

You're not going to get another Cowboy Bebop because entertainment is far more disposable now. So much is available at any given time. It's always onto the next one. It would be hard for something to command interest in viewers well after it ended.
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Codeanime93



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:44 pm Reply with quote
Much like Big O, Cowboy Bebop was another show that really only the west embraced and because of that you probably won't see another show like it as it wasn't really successful in Japan so much. To them it was probably just one anime show out of many that happen to catch on outside of their own country. Kind of also like Outlaw Star, Trigun, Vision of Escaflowne.
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Tenchi



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:49 pm Reply with quote
Zalis116 wrote:
Remember when Coyote Ragtime Show was hyped as the Next Bebop? How'd that work out for the folks at ADV?


Was it so much that Coyote Ragtime Show was being hyped as being "the next Cowboy Bebop" by western anime distributors or was it just that Coyote Ragtime Show exactly duplicated Cowboy Bebop's title convention with the first word being an icon of southwestern America and the second word being a musical genre associated with jazz?

MarshalBanana wrote:
I thought Bebop came over in 01, it could have come out in the year 2000, but I do know that it did not come over in 99.


The copyright year for volume 1... sorry, "1st Session" of the original Bandai Entertainment release is 1999 but its street date seems to have been April 4th, 2000.


Last edited by Tenchi on Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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LightningCount



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:51 pm Reply with quote
This was a really interesting, enjoyable article, but I wanted to add one thing that may have been implied yet not said. One of Bebop's secrets toward its long-lasting appeal and impact was because despite being so Western, it brought a lot of Eastern sensibilities, particularly in the way it is reflective and contemplative amidst all its crazy/stylish action and comedy. While not as cerebral as a Ghost in the Shell, if you think about the often quiet, gentle ways it handles delving into characters' emotional pasts, with scenes like Faye watching a tape of her younger self or Jet going back to visit the woman who left him, it goes pretty deep into the human condition in a way that leaves room for the viewer to think about it compared to the average Western production--where, even if/when they try these things, they want to either gloss over them or hit you over the head with them. The whole way the series is about a makeshift family and their issues, without ever fully spelling that out, plays into this as well. It does so many subtle things with these themes that you often don't see in Western productions, and truthfully, a lot of anime that have tried to follow in its footsteps focus more on the action or comedy without trying to capture Bebop's contemplative and interpersonal heart. Cowboy Bebop, while not perfect, was just a perfect storm for the medium, and remains such a classic because of its artistry and competent mixture of elements.
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MarshalBanana



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:03 pm Reply with quote
Codeanime93 wrote:
Much like Big O, Cowboy Bebop was another show that really only the west embraced and because of that you probably won't see another show like it as it wasn't really successful in Japan so much. To them it was probably just one anime show out of many that happen to catch on outside of their own country. Kind of also like Outlaw Star, Trigun, Vision of Escaflowne.
It seemed to sell fine. ttp://www.someanithing.com/312
I think it's a case of of it quickly being forgotten about, after doing fine enough, fine enough for them to make a movie anyway.

I I know Big O, Trigun and Outlaw Star did really bad, but I've heard the only source for Escaflowne is a bit dodgy, some panel in the early 00s, which apparently had poor translation.
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zrdb



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:25 pm Reply with quote
I didn't "growup watching anime" cause' I'm older than a lot of viewers but I did start watching anime in the early 90's so I saw Sailor Moon, etc. on Toonami. Cowboy Bebop is one of my fav shows but Escaflowne is too. I have an extensive past history of reading boxes of science fiction books so anime just kind of came naturally to me. Will there ever be a show as good as Bebop? I think there will be but then again that is a purely personnel view.
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