Cowboy Bebop Shinichirô Watanabe

Cowboy Bebop Shinichirô Watanabe
Hot on the heels of the brilliant Oscar-winner Spirited Away and the cooler than the movie Animatrix, comes Cowboy Bebop. Acclaimed anime wizard Shinichirô Watanabe — who also has a couple Animatrix shorts on his resume — has amassed a Macross-like fan base for his sci-fi noir Western bounty hunter action/adventure series, both in Japan and North America. Someone obviously thought that cult could be expanded with a theatrical release, though it didn't really pan out. Maybe it was the R-rating, because it wasn't for lack of quality. Bebop is no Akira, but it's a lot of fun and makes hella more sense. A crew of jazz-loving bounty hunters (aka Cowboys) led by Spike and Jet experience a Han Solo-like morality infusion as they go from callously collecting their reward money to preventing a terrorist from unleashing a biological bomb that could kill off the entire population of Mars. They're aided by buxom "cowgirl" gambler Faye Valentine, a gleefully autistic 13-year-old hacker girl named Ed and a very smart dog. The dialogue can get a bit lame at times, but the pauses for character development are refreshing, the mix of digital and hand-drawn animation is awesome and the multi-genre soundtrack feels out of place and perfectly right at the same time. The movie version tries too hard to appeal to non-fans though, but the plot is pretty tight and this futuristic tale's terrorist schemes, obstructionist government and trigger-happy homeland defence forces feel very of-the-moment. The extras, however, are for cultists only, including six sometimes sub-titled featurettes boasting interviews with the creators and voice actors commenting on the film and the whole Bebop phenomenon. It's also got text character profiles, storyboards, trailers and even a couple music videos. Extras: featurettes; character profiles; music videos; art galleries; more. (Columbia/Sony)