Even more than ten years after its debut, Cowboy Bebop is still considered to be possibly the greatest anime series of all time. Aimed mainly at older teens, this sci-fi action series has lots of things to enjoy, from plenty of action to an intriguing plot to a catchy jazzy soundtrack.
Cowboy Bebop - the characters:
Spike Spiegel: A former gangster now working as a bounty hunter, Spike is also an expert in Jeet Kune Do. Despite his carefree attitude, he’s haunted by his past, particularly his former friend Vicious and missing girlfriend Julia, who he’s searching for.
Jet Black: A former police officer who left after being fed up with the corruption and red tape, Jet is the owner of the Bebop and tries to be the rational one of the group, often butting heads with Spike. He has a cybernetic right arm, the result of rushing into things without thinking.
Faye Valentine: A con artist with a gambling addiction and mysterious past who joins the Bebop uninvited and constantly gets on the nerves of Spike and Jet. Faye frequently ditches the crew but always comes back, both for attachment to the others and for personal protection.
Edward: An expert hacker also known as “Radical Edward”, Ed is a girl, despite her name and appearance, and is very odd in personality. She joins the crew after following their adventures, putting her skills to use.
Ein: A Welsh Corgi who is an enhanced “data dog”, experimented on to be given human intelligence. Despite being seemingly smarter than an average dog, he’s still treated as an average pet by the crew other than Ed.
Vicious: A former friend of Spike who is now his sworn nemesis, Vicious is a high-ranking enforcer in the Red Dragon syndicate. An expert swordsman with a cold, grim personality, he has a pet bird that’s always with him and has plans to take over the syndicate.
Julia: Spike’s missing girlfriend, who he is searching for. She was actually Vicious’ girlfriend and had an affair with Spike, and was told she had to be the one to kill him when he tried to leave the syndicate to elope with her.
Cowboy Bebop - the storyline:
In the not-too-distant future of 2071, man has colonized the other planets of the Solar System by using hyperspace jump gates to travel about. This has led to a sort of new “wild west” with an increase in criminals, leading to the need for bounty hunters to help hunt them down for the prices on their heads. Two such hunters are Spike and Jet, who travel about in Jet’s ship, the Bebop, hunting down criminals while also running from their pasts. They’re later joined by con artist Faye Valentine and odd hacker Ed, who stick around for their own reasons.
But life among the stars isn’t easy, as the criminals they chase are dangerous and have to be caught alive and relatively unharmed. Not only that, but the various pasts of the group frequently catch up with them, in particularly Spike’s, as he crosses paths with his former friend Vicious while searching for his missing love, Julia.
With all the elements it has going for it, Cowboy Bebop is western-style sci-fi series that even non-anime fans could possibly enjoy. And it's definitely one you should watch at least once. The BluRay movie version will out in June 2011.