"Speak Like A Child" is the eighteenth session, or episode, of Cowboy Bebop.
- Akihiro Inari
- Shoji Kawamori
- Aya Yoshinaga
- Hiroki Kanno
Mechanical Animation Director:
- Masami Goto
Faye comes back to the Bebop after betting at horse races to find a package delivery in progress. Jet is telling a disinterested Spike and excited Ed about an old folk tale as a drone slowly drops with the package. It's anonymous and Jet has to pay the COD charges, which he promptly tells Faye when she lands. Faye, however, fearing this is a hostile gesture from debt collectors and past enemies, leaves the Bebop immediately so she can avoid any potential confrontations with the package's sender.
Jet is now forced to do some scans on the package to confirm it isn't a bomb or poisonous. Spike, however, casually opens the package against Jet's warnings and finds an odd plastic box with brown tape inside. It's an old Beta cassette, but neither of them know what it is immediately. Ed chimes in just then, having found out all the shipping destinations it's had - several all over the Solar System.
Jet has found out it's an old media format that was once popular in the 1980s, so he decides to try to sell it to a collector. They find one at a video antique store, and, indeed, the man is excited to see the cassette. He plays the tape for them on his sole Beta player. The footage reveals a beautiful, scenic port town with a young girl overlooking its cape. Before her identity can be revealed, however, the Beta player malfunctions. Spike attempts to fix it with swift kicks, shattering the player in the process and rendering it unviewable.
They go back to the Bebop and Jet tries to repair the tape. Ed finds a place that has another player in Old Asia in an underground city, an Electrical Museum. Jet vows to get to the bottom of it. Meanwhile, Faye is betting on dog races, happy about getting rid of the drag on her luck.
The Bebop goes to Earth (without Faye) in order to find the Beta player. They begin a perilous journey through the abandoned old city, repelling down elevator shafts, sliding down pipes and crawling through ducts. The effort they are expending causes Jet to have a different perspective on the folk tale he was talking about earlier. They eventually find and raid the museum and find what they think to be the right kind of player. Back at the Bebop, however, Spike and Jet find that the tape is not compatible with the player they had found. To their shock, Ed informs the two that they have procured the wrong type of player (a VHS), and the two finally give up their search.
Faye eventually loses her money, and decides to try calling the Bebop again. Ed informs Faye that Spike and Jet are distraught but fails to explain why. Thinking that Spike and Jet are distraught over her disappearance, Faye resolves to return to the Bebop.
At the same time, another anonymous package for Faye arrives, and, though Jet won't accept it initially, Spike impatiently unwraps it. Surprisingly, it's a Beta player needed to view the tape. Faye arrives just then and, this time, the crew of the Bebop watch the tape in its entirety. Jet stops Faye, though, saying she'll have to pay the charges if she wants to see it. Faye prefers to not see it, but she peeks around the corner after she goes.
The crew learns that the tape is actually a time capsule video message, taped by several girls from an unknown boarding school in Singapore, addressed to their respective "future selves." The video's director and key speaker appears to be none other than a younger Faye herself, who offers poetic gestures and words of encouragement to whom she believes will be her older self. Sadly, the older Faye cannot recall these memories and, moved by the warmness of her younger self words, can only cry.
- Younger Faye (on a tape): "And now a big cheer from my heart. Let's... go... me, alright! Do your best! Do your best! Don't lose, me!"
- Tank! (TV Edit) – Opening titles
- Adieu (Operatic Version) – [Unreleased] Faye loses a pony, Spike loses a fish
- "Soap Opera" – [Unreleased; possibly library music] Title music for the old 20th Century TV show
- Vitamin "H" – Eyecatch card I
- The Egg and I – Spike and Jet make their way through the old mall
- Poor Faye (High Socks) – "Faye" talks to her future self via the old Betamax tape
- The Real Folk Blues – Closing titles
- Want It All Back – Preview for Wild Horses
Themes and Motifs
Homages and References
- "Speak Like a Child" was an 1968 album and song by American jazz musician Herbie Hancock.
- When Spike and Jet first enter the Tape Expert's shop, he is watching a taped 20th-century drama "produced by" Jason Priestley and Shannen Doherty, two of the actors on Beverly Hills, 90210.
- The story Jet narrates through the entire episode is actually a famous Japanese folktale called Urashima Taro.
- Another fable that is referenced in the story is The Tortoise and the Hare. The first helicopter, which brings a C.O.D. package for Faye, looks like a turtle; the second one resembles a hare.
- Young Faye's use of the Betamax tape is quite odd, as Sony--the only significant backer of Betamax--mostly abandoned the Betamax format and decided to support VHS in 1988, 6 years before she was born. Also, the Betamax format had already lost significant market share well before that to VHS. Betamax is often confused with Betacam, a format that did survive after the demise of Betamax and comes on a similar cassette yet is a completely different and incompatible format which cannot be played on a Betamax VCR. Betacam was more commonly used in the professional world rather than home video cameras.
- The Video maniac touts Betamax's "superior quality," however that's only true when recording at the Beta I speed, which had very little recording time and was only supported on early players. Beta II and Beta III however, are virtually indistinguishable from VHS SP and EP https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oJs8-I9WtA