Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (aka Knockin' On Heaven's Door) (Kaubōi Bibappu: Tengoku no Tobira)

Reviewing the Trigun movie made me want to review Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (also known as Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door). Cowboy Bebop is a very short series like Trigun with only 26 episodes and this movie (like the Trigun movie) takes place somewhere in the middle of the series.

Both shows are "space westerns," but Cowboy Bebop manages to include a "film noir" feel to it. Each of the episodes can be viewed independent of the other, but subtle details about the backgrounds of each character are given throughout the series. An average watcher would miss certain clues or not understand why they are important, but avid fans appreciate each morsel of information and then fill in the blanks on their own.

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie feels very much the same as the series. Nothing that will contradict the series or spoil it (as the Dragonball Z movies are notorious for) is in the movie. It doesn't tell you anymore about the characters than you need to know to enjoy the movie. Newcomers watching the movie might not understand a certain character's motivation at first so that might be considered drawback. But I think the characters are so well-rounded that they can speak for themselves. Most of the series doesn't provide answers so it would be understandable that the movie wouldn't either. Just watch it, enjoy it for the trip, and if you want to know more then you should seek out the series.

But I'll give you a brief introduction to the characters like I did with the characters from Trigun: Badlands Rumble and then I'll give you an overview of the movie, okey dokey?

The main character of the series is Spike Spiegel. Spike is a bounty hunter born on Mars in the year 2044. He's a man with a checkered past and a penchant for sleight of hand and sarcasm. He's a great pilot and a constant smoker.

Spike's bounty hunter partner is Jet Black, a former cop. Together the two of them ride through space on the Bebop (the name of Jet's ship) looking for bounties and often not getting any. Instead they collect people like Faye Valentine and Edward. Faye is an amnesiac with an even more peculiar past than Spike. She also has an attitude that drives everyone crazy and a lust for money. Good thing she has found her way into the company of two bounty hunters, huh?

The other fellow I mentioned, Edward, is a supposedly teenage girl who happens to be a hacker. She is quite peculiar and she often refers to herself in the third person. Also in her company is a Corgi named Ein. How they find themselves in the company of Spike, Jet, and Faye is for the series to explain. But for the purposes of the movie, they are already together.

The movie takes place just before Halloween in the year of 2071. A deadly virus has just been released on the capital city of Mars. A 300 million woo-long reward (the largest bounty ever) is offered by the government for the capture of the culprit. Naturally, the crew of the Bebop want to be the ones to get him. But the strange man behind the attacks is a man with a hidden past, an unknown agenda, and a belief that there is no future for him. His name is Vincent. And Vincent's life is one that doesn't seem to be bound by the rules of reality. How can Spike and the gang stop him before Vincent's next attack can do even more damage?

This movie was released in Japan just ten days before the attacks of 9/11. As a result the film's American release was postponed by two years. The title of Knockin' on Heaven's Door was dropped by that time to avoid a possible law suit, too. The series typically had each episode named for a song and it's a shame the title for the movie had to be changed. But the postponement of the American release is understandable.

But it is available now and it is a fitting movie for a time that was very scary indeed. The animation is fantastic and an improvement on the series. (I just love when anime films get big budgets!)

Any time spent with these characters is a good time. Trust me.


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