- For a list of the sessions, see Session List.
- For other pages named Cowboy Bebop, see Cowboy Bebop (disambiguation).
- "And the work which has become a genre unto itself shall be called: Cowboy Bebop"
- ―Cowboy Bebop
Cowboy Bebop Sessions is a Japanese animated television series that centers around a group of bounty hunters in a futuristic, space-western setting. The year is 2071 and the place is our Solar System, where various planets and moons have been terraformed for human settlement, travel between planets is simplified through Astral Gates, and Earth is seen as a largely uninhabitable place with frequent meteor showers.
The show's title is a reference to both the Cowboy lifestyle of the American Wild West, and Bebop, an American jazz movement from the early to mid 20th century. As such, many elements of the show are influenced by the Old West, such as the bounty system of allowing civilians to make a living off capturing criminals, and the show's music has strong jazz influences.
This anime primarily contains procedural drama, in which the plot is introduced and resolved during the same episode. Many episodes revolve around a particular bounty head the Bebop crew connect to in some way. For example, in Session 23 Brain Scratch the crew actively try to capture a known criminal for only that episode.
Story arcs are also formed and overlain throughout the series. Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, and Faye Valentine all encounter people from their own mysterious pasts. Several episodes focus on one main character and their personal issues. For example, in Session 24 Hard Luck Woman Faye goes in search of her childhood instead of a bounty.
- Director: Shinichirō Watanabe
- Management: Noriko Kobayashi, Tetsuo Yamazaki
- Planning: Sunrise
- Original Concept: Hajime Yatate
- Series Composition: Keiko Nobumoto
- Character Design: Toshihiro Kawamoto
- Mechanical Design: Kimitoshi Yamane
- Set Design: Isamu Imakake
- Art Director: Junichi Higashi
- Color Coordinator: Shihoko Nakayama
- Director of Photography: Yoichi Ōgami
- Sound Director: Katsuyoshi Kobayashi
- Music: Yoko Kanno
- Music Production: Victor Entertainment
- Music Producer: Toshiaki Ōta
- Music Director: Shirō Sasaki, Yukako Inoue
- Cultural settings: Satoshi Toba
- Stage Settings: Shōji Kawamori, Dai Satō
- Producers: Masahiko Minami, Kazuhiko Ikeguchi
- Production: Sunrise, Bandai Visual
The anime series was dubbed in the English language by Animaze. In 2001, Cowboy Bebop became the first anime title to be broadcast on Adult Swim in the United States. Since then, the series has aired continuously in rotation due to its success. It also aired on Anime Central in the UK.
On July 4, 2017, VICELAND announced that it would begin airing Cowboy Bebop in the UK from July 17.
- In the United States, on September 2, 2001, Cowboy Bebop became the first anime title to be shown as part of the U.S. Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block. It was successful enough to be broadcast repeatedly for four years. It was rerun again in 2007, 2008, and the first part of 2009.
- In the United Kingdom, Cowboy Bebop was first broadcast in 2002 as one of the highlights of the ill-fated "cartoon network for adults", CNX. As of November 6, 2007, it is being repeated on AnimeCentral.
- In Australia, Cowboy Bebop was first broadcast in 2002 on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, and began broadcasting on ABC2, a digital free-to-air network, on January 2, 2007. It has recently started broadcasting on the Sci Fi Channel on Foxtel. Cowboy Bebop: The Movie also aired again on February 23, 2009, on SBS.
- In France, Cowboy Bebop was broadcast during summer 2000 on Canal+.
- In Germany, Cowboy Bebop was broadcast during 2003-2004 on MTV.
- In Poland, Cowboy Bebop was broadcast several times by Hyper and TVP Kultura.
- In Israel, Cowboy Bebop was broadcast during 2001-2002 on Bip's late-night anime block.
- In Spain, Cowboy Bebop was broadcast during 1999 on Cartoon Network in the first Toonami programming block, during the early 2000s on K3's 3XL.net, and during summer 2006 on Cuatro's late-night show Cuatrosfera.
- In Canada, Cowboy Bebop was first broadcast on December 24, 2006, on Razer.
- In Italy, Cowboy Bebop was broadcast after November 1999 on MTV and again in 2007.
- In Singapore, Cowboy Bebop was broadcast on Arts Central at the 11 pm time slot, and had several scenes cut for violence and other graphic content.
- In Portugal, Cowboy Bebop was broadcast on SIC Radical in 2001, 2007, and 2008.
- In The Netherlands, the first five episodes of Cowboy Bebop were broadcast by TMF in 2005.
- In Latin America, Cowboy Bebop was broadcast in 2001 on Locomotion.
- In The Philippines, Cowboy Bebop was first broadcast in 2004 on GMA Network. It was recently shown on TV5.
- In India, Cowboy Bebop was broadcast several times since 2006 on Animax.
- In South Korea, Cowboy Bebop was first broadcast in 1999 on Tooniverse(투니버스), before the show finished broadcasting in Japan. The show was dubbed and used self-made ending theme 'alone'.
Licensed by Bandai Entertainment for DVD releases in North America, the original DVD release was in 2000. It was also licensed by Beez Entertainment for English releases in the United Kingdom, and by Madman Entertainment for releases in Australia and New Zealand. The North American license now belongs to FUNimation and the European license belongs to Anime Limited as Bandai and its subsidiary, Beez, went defunct in 2012.
On November 20, 2001 a 6-disc box set was released by Bandai titled Cowboy Bebop - The Perfect Sessions (Limited Edition Complete Series Boxed Set). The back cover contained the following description:
JAZZ AGERS, flower children, lost generation, beatniks, rockers, punks, nerds, hackers, lovers, generation X - whatever the designation, there have always been outlaws in our society who live in pursuit of autonomy.
At times they are revered for their roles as pioneers, challenging the unknown; other times people consider them lawless desperadoes and a dangerous presence.
Yet, really, it is only their exuberant music and an autonomy founded to express opinions different from those of others that set them apart from the rest of society.
THE YEAR 2071 AD. That future is now. Driven out of their terrestrial eden, humanity chose the stars as the final frontier.
With the section-by-section collapse of the former nations a mixed jumble of races and peoples came. They spread to the stars, taking with them the now confused concepts of freedom, violence, illegality and love, where new rules and a new generation of outlaws came into being. People referred to them as Cowboy Bebops ......
On February 5, 2008 a 6-disc box set was released by Bandai titled Cowboy Bebop Remix: The Complete Collection (Anime Legends). It contained staff interviews, commentary and Session 0 bonus episode.
On December 16, 2014 the series was released on a 5-disc DVD set by Funimation. It included features like interviews and commentaries.
In 2014 Anime Limited released a collectors edition with two volumes each with two discs, the cases were designed to look like VHS tapes (a reference to the episode Speak Like A Child) the first volume included a booklet for character drawings and the second volume included drawings for vehicles and even the fridge from the episode Toys In The Attic.
On December 16, 2014 the series was released on Blu-ray by Funimation. It contained four discs and included features like interviews and commentaries. Also, special features included "Session #0" and "Dinner Aboard the Bebop."
Another release was an Amazon.com exclusive. It included both a Blu-ray and DVD copy of the entire series, similar bonus features, and two art books.
On October 12, 2021, Netflix acquired global streaming rights of the original anime series and is scheduled to debut on the streaming platform from October 21. This was done in order to promote its live-action series of the same name, which is set to premiere on November 19.
Cowboy Bebop almost did not appear on Japanese broadcast television due to its depictions of gratuitous violence. It was first sent to TV Tokyo, one of the main broadcasters of anime in Japan. The show had an aborted first run from April 3, 1998, until June 19, 1998, on TV Tokyo, broadcasting only episodes 2, 3, 7 to 15, and 18 with a final session called Mish-Mash Blues.
Later that year, the series was shown in its entirety from October 24, 1998, until April 24, 1999, on the satellite network WOWOW. Because of the TV Tokyo broadcast slot fiasco, the production schedule was disrupted to the extent that the last episode was delivered to WOWOW on the day of its broadcast. Cowboy Bebop won the Seiun Award in 2000.
The full series has also been broadcast across Japan by the anime television network Animax, which has also aired the series via its respective networks across Southeast Asia, South Asia and East Asia. Cowboy Bebop was popular enough that the movie, Cowboy Bebop: Tengoku no Tobira (Knockin' on Heaven's Door), was commissioned and released in Japan in 2001, and later released in the United States as Cowboy Bebop: The Movie in 2003.
A poll in the Japanese magazine Newtype asked its readers to rank the "Top 25 Anime Titles of All Time"; Cowboy Bebop placed second (behind Neon Genesis Evangelion) on a list that included such anime as Mobile Suit Gundam. In a poll by TV Asahi, Cowboy Bebop was 40th for Japan's Favorite Anime of 2006. The American Anime magazine Anime Insider (No. 50, November 2007) ranked the 50 best anime (available in America) by compiling lists of industry regulars and magazine staff, with Cowboy Bebop ranked as #1.
In the U.S., Cartoon Network has regularly rotated Cowboy Bebop in and out of its Adult Swim block line-up.
T.H.E.M Anime Reviews said the series has "sophistication and subtlety that is practically one-of-a-kind" and that "puts most anime...and Hollywood, to shame."
In March 2009, the print and web editions of The Onion's A.V. Club called Cowboy Bebop "rightly a huge hit", and listed it as a gateway series to understanding the medium of anime as a whole.
- Main article: Music
One of the most notable elements of Cowboy Bebop is its music. Performed by Yoko Kanno and The Seatbelts, a band Kanno assembled to perform music for the series, the jazz and blues themed soundtrack helps to define the show as much as the characters, writing, and animation. Cowboy Bebop was voted by IGN in 2006 as having the greatest soundtrack for an anime.
The opening theme is "Tank!" Its intense pace combined with rapid animation scenes, made the introductory sequence one of the best known and appreciated in anime. The ending theme used in most episodes is "The Real Folk Blues", with lyrics written by Yuho Iwasato and sung by Mai Yamane. The ending theme of the 13th episode Jupiter Jazz Part 2 is "Space Lion", while the last episode The Real Folk Blues Part 2 is "Blue" with lyrics by Tim Jenson and sung by Mai Yamane.
- Main article: Pictures
- Cowboy Bebop on Cartoon Network - Cowboy Bebop Spoilers, Episode Guides, Message Board | TVGuide.com
- Newtype Press Release Anime News Network (October 25, 2004). Retrieved on July 19, 2009.
- Japan's Favorite TV Anime. Anime News Network (October 13, 2006). Retrieved on July 19, 2009.
- THEM Anime reviews - Cowboy Bebop
- The Onion's A.V. Club - Gateways to Geekery: Anime
- IGN: Top Ten Anime Themes and Soundtracks of All-Time, IGN.