Saturday, October 5, 2013


FROM THE ASHES: Anime Night 
Segment # 4
Saturday, October 5th,2013
Best series ever, nuff said.

My goal is to bring you the best in anime. Most of what will be covered is feature films, however, with so many great series out there, every fourth week I will be showcasing a series. So here we go! 

If Akira is the number one must see anime film for new viewers, then Cowboy Bebop is the number one series. Holy hell. Atop almost every list there is, this series is so highly acclaimed by fans and critics alike that I honestly don't know what I could possibly add to its fanfare. To start with, its production team is made up of greatly successful people in the industry and at the helm is director Shinichiro Watanabe (1965-). A master of genre bending and blending, some of his notable works include: Samurai Champloo, Eureka Seven, Mobile Suit Gun dam 0083: Stardust Memory, and Macross Plus. The writer for the series is Keiko Nobumoto (1964-), who doesn't really have "notable works" as everything she's written has generally been successful. But just to name a few: Wolf's Rain, Tokyo Godfathers, Macross Plus, Samurai Champloo, and of course Cowboy Bebop. Yoko Kanno (1967-) as composer brings a wave of: jazz, blues, funk, rock, new age, pop and electronic into the mix. The series soundtrack is like nothing you have ever heard or will ever hear again in an anime series. Every single episode has a different musical theme. Good Lord, I can't stop drooling over her list of works, some being: The Vision Of Escaflowne, Record of Lodoss War Chronicles of the Heroic Knight, Jin-roh, Earth Maiden Arjuna, RahXephon, Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex, Macross Plus, Code Geass, Darker Than Black, and must I go on?! But really, I could go on forever. The animation, color scheme, choreography, character design, and the universe brought to life in deliciously dark, gritty, dirty and beautiful detail is all so high quality. The themes, goodness gracious the themes! Existentialism, world philosophies, death, dreams, the soul, loneliness, addiction, the path of violence, tragic comedy of life, and as many cultural and movie references as there are stars in the sky. And that, my friends, is just the production side of things. 

So here's what I have to say then. From the very first moment of the opening sequence, one is blown away by the sights and sounds of this awesome masterwork. Easily a classic, with nods to pulp noir and the futuristic, this series is also timeless in its essence. It has a deep story filled with complexity and intrigue, with thought provoking notions and interesting characters both throughout the series and especially in the main crew of that snazzy spaceship, the Bebop. Don't let the gung-ho action fool you ( even though that's pretty awesome as well), but the story is far more than it appears at first glance. The alluring unraveling of the dark, murky pasts of our heroes is a plot that thrills, chills, and definitely keep you wanting to see what happens next. With a truly wretched villain and a blacker than white hero, the cast of actors take the stage. I do have to make a small note: Spike Spiegal is the coolest character of..just...ever. He's a blend of Bruce Lee, James Bond, and Lupin lll. Yeah. You read that right. Another great asset to the series legacy is that the diversity of ethnicities and their expressed cultures in the anime is unparalleled. This among all its other qualities made it incredibly accessible to audiences. Cowboy Bebop was the first anime series on Adult Swim, airing in 2001. It was so unbelievably popular that it has continually aired: 2001-2005, 2007-2011, and again in 2013. Let me emphasize this: no other anime has EVER done that. Another amusing note: the English voice cast has actually become accepted as the preferred version; how's that for voice acting! The overall look and feel of the series really defies the word "genre". This is far more than a sci-fi. It's a sci fi, western, action adventure, mystic and mysterious, tragic comedy and romantic epic odyssey. Can't beat that. So board the Bebop and don't look back; the skies of the universe or before you. "And the work which has become a genre unto itself shall be called: Cowboy Bebop." 
From the Ashes, V.

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