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Anime Expo New York - Cowboy Bebop Panel
By Andrew Tei
August 31, 2002
Note: This is a rough translation as I was transcribing during the entire
panel, plus any mistakes that could happen during translation.
YK - Yoko Kanno
SW - Shinichiro Watanabe
TK - Toshiro Kawamoto
M – Moderator
Moderator: We will start out now by having everyone introduces themselves.
Toshiro Kawamoto: Hello to everyone in New York. I am Toshiro Kawamato and I
am the character designer for Cowboy Bebop. I was invited as part of the
premiere of the movie version, but I would also like to answer any questions
you have concerning the TV series. There are definitely a lot of questions
only the director can answer, so you can ask him.
Shinchiro Watanabe: Hello New York, I am Shinchiro Watanabe. I am the
director. I don't know much about the series either, so you have to ask Miss
Yoko Kanno: You're too cruel!
Shinchiro Watanabe: Ask anything, and I will answer everything.
Yoko Kanno: My name is Yoko Kanno. I am the composer for Cowboy Bebop. (*lots
of applause*). I love New York.
Moderator: Now we will open the forum up for questions.
Audience: To Ms. Kanno, a lot of the music from the series was from several
languages, including English, Japanese, and French. In the movie though, it
seemed like you only used English. Why the switch?
YK: There is some Arabic also, but there wasn't much consideration as to why
it’s just English.
A: Will there be any future Cowboy Bebop?
SW: I’ll answer this the same way I did last night during the premiere. I'll
think about it if the movie raises a million dollars in the United States.
A: This question is for Yoko Kanno, where does the inspiration for your music
YK: I have no idea where my inspiration comes from. I'm just waiting for
something to fall onto me.
A: This question is for everyone. What did you learn from making Cowboy Bebop?
What can others learn from you?
TK: I learned that good things come to those who wait. And that's because
Cowboy Bebop took longer than the budgeted time. Especially for the movie, we
took much longer than usual, which is how we got to that quality. And to the
people who are following in our footsteps, if you wait too long you will miss
A: In the construction for the finale of the TV series, the final fight in the
finale is much shorter than in Ballad of Fallen Angels. Was this intentional
on your part?
SW: I didn't have enough time. *much laughter*
A: I'm honored to meet you all. For the series, you used jazz, opera, and
cowboy western. What is your favorite style?
YK: My favorite is Ed's song.
A: This question is for Ms Kanno. I hear you can see colors in music, what
color do you see in each note?
YK: I want to keep it a trade secret.
A: Ms Kanno, your music is incredible, and eclectic. My two favorite secondary
characters in the series are Jet and Faye. What went into their design?
TK: I really like that someone likes Jet. I haven't had too many people ask
for sketches of Jet compared to other characters. Since Jet was Spike's
partner, I wanted them to be opposites. Spike is light, while Jet is heavy.
Spike wears a suit and tie, and Jet wears very casual clothing. The characters
opposite the main character help contrast Spike . I didn't base Faye off
YK: Why are Faye's breasts so big?
TK: Because I have a fetish for that kind of stuff.*laughter*
A: What were you reactions to Cartoon Network asking for a second series of
SW: Really? This is the first time I’ve heard of it?
TK: We really don't know about it.
A: Because Cowboy Bebop just oozes cool, how have you felt the influence
Cowboy Bebop has had? Is there any chance that the Seatbelts will tour America
SW: I guess the influence is a lot of Welsh Corgis are now named "Ein".
A: A lot of anime thrives off an everlasting storyline. And the ending to
Cowboy Bebop has a lot of finality is. It would seem that you wanted the
series to end when it would be in your financial interest to keep it going.
Why did you choose that ending?
SW: I knew it would be a hit. And that it would be a really big hit. I thought
people would ask for more, and it would end up being something like Star Trek.
I thought it would be a problem if I kept creating a new Cowboy Bebop series
for the next thirty years until I'm an old man. So I thought if I finished it,
I wouldn't have to draw anymore.
A: Which ones are your favorite characters?
TK: Ein is my favorite. I don't have any character I want to get rid of. All
the characters for me have a good aspect.
YK: I love Spike. I hate Julia. *much clapping*
SW: I love every character. Every character is perfect. My favorite characters
are the three old men.
A: To Ms. Kanno. Being a fellow musician, I write with a specific instrument
in mind. What did you start with?
YK: I started with New Orleans Street Bands.
A: Why did Spike lose his left eye?
SW: I don't remember myself. I personally prefer characters to have some
flaws, so that they are not perfect. At first, I was going to have Spike with
an eye patch. The producers didn’t want to air a series with an eye patch on
the main character.
A: Do you listen to any other composers?
YK: I don't listen to others.
A: What question have you ever wanted to be asked, but never was?
SW: Every question I want to answer has been asked
YK: What's the name of Toshiro Kawamoto's dog?
TK: Coline. Her original name was Colin. But the dog is female, and I didn't
realize that the name was male until recently. I added an 'e' recently to make
A: Did the movie really take place, or is it just a dream?
SW: What did you think?
A: Ime desu. (I don’t know)
SW: For people who say it’s a dream, I say it’s not a dream. If they say it
isn't a dream, I answer it’s a dream
A: I play the French horn, so I was thinking of becoming a musician. Do you
have any advice for someone aspiring to be a musician?
YK: I think you'd be better off finding a different job *joke*. You should
still strive so that music is borderless. You can communicate through music,
so you should continue.
A: Why did you release the sound track on so many albums? Why did you choose
different keys for the same melody?
YK: Not all the songs were on the original OST due to runtime. Different keys
differentiate each character. It’s more of a feeling than some type of logical
SW: And she made a lot more songs than what was requested. If I order ten, she
sends twenty. That's why all of them couldn't fit on the sound track.
The person asking the previous question had a saxophone with him. Yoko Kanno
asked him to play, and he belted out the opening to Cowboy Bebop TV series for
her. There was a lot of clapping.
YK: You’re the next Seatbelt!
A: How did you come up with all the moves? Does every one fight in the studio
fight? Do you watch a lot of Kung fu? Also what's your favorite beer?
SW: Yoko Kanno and I are always fighting. Kirin beer is my favorite
YK: I don't drink alcohol.
TK: Most of the staff doesn't drink or smoke.
A: This question is pretty much for every one, which session of Bebop did you
have the most fun making?
TK: I was most satisfied when the director was happy with what I turned in. I
was even happier when the director showed a little more love for dogs.
A: Is there a style of music you'd still like to try?
YK: I don't think in particular styles. Some day though, I'd like to perform
A: This question for Mr. Kawamoto, or whoever can answer. In Ballad of Fallen
Angels, who's the third person in the picture in Annie's store?
All Consulting: Annie, Mao, and Annie's husband.
A: One of my favorite characters in the series is Gwen, and no one knew his
secret? What kind of reaction were you getting with what Gwen was?
SW: Every character in Bebop is an outlaw in my mind. So there are a lot of
people who have fallen out of society who don't fit into this world. So for
Gwen's character, he's just another character who didn't fit, so I don't
really find a problem with it.
SW: Ahh, Vicious.
A(Vicious cosplayer): Why do mutilate the left side of the characters? Jet's
arm and Spike's eye in particular.
SW: I just realized it was all on the left side. You have a good point.
TK: I don't think it has any deep meaning. It wasn't a specific request for
A: This for all of you. Do you have a favorite episode?
TK: People have heard me say Mushroom Samba enough times, so I'll say Cowboy
YK: I like every episode.
SW: I hate every episode. *joke*
A: Ms. Kanno, will you be composing any more game soundtracks in the future?
Do you have a favorite?
YK: I will do it if I get an offer to. I don't look back, so my current
project is always my favorite.
A: For Ms Kanno, are you planning to come to the Karaoke contest tonight,
because a lot of people have planned to sing your stuff tonight.
YK: I'll disguise myself and sneak in.
A: When we are first introduced to Faye, she is referred to as Poker Alice?
Can she really be Poker Alice?
SW: Poker Alice is a character who existed in the Western Era. I used her
because her predicament was familiar to Faye's. You can probably look her up.
A: Who came up with Ed's name?
SW: I did.
A: What was the inspiration for Ed?
SW: (looking at Ms. Kanno) Before Cowboy Bebop, I met this composer. And the
composer was female and every eclectic. And during the production, she would
kinda just roll around on the floor and do very strange things. And on
occasion she would make strange noises. I thought it would be interesting if I
could put her in as a character in my next series.
A: How did you come up with the episode about the fridge?
SW: The producer for the series. I went to help him move once. And in the
process, I found out his fridge had not been opened in six months. And when I
tried to open it, he was told never to open that fridge.
A: I have listened too many of your different OSTs, do you like instrumental
or vocal better?
A: What was your main inspiration for the way you styled Cowboy Bebop?
SW: I guess we're all stylish.
A: Some episodes seemed very well planned, like the ones with Spike and
Vicious. But some like Cowboy Funk, and Toys in The Attic just seem thrown
together? Could you comment?
SW: We really didn't think much out for those episodes. The more comical
episodes are harder to create. Making an episode on the fly, would be much
harder, so we planned a lot. Mushroom Samba looks random, but it is very
YK: So have you eaten mushrooms?
SW waves away
A: What are you all working on next? Why does some of your staff call you
Nabeshin (address to Shinchiro Watanabe)?
TK: The production company, Bones, is now working on a new TV series called
Wolf's Rain. I am the character designer and animation director.
SW: I am working on Ani Matrix, which is a series of nine ten minute shorts. I
am working on two of the shorts. I would like to tell you more, but there may
be a spy for Warner Brothers here. Everyone started calling me that one day.
But in Japan, there is a fake Nabeshin, so please be careful!
A: In Feng Shui Boogie, who came up with the galactic calculator? Down the
line, could you do the further adventures of Ein?
SW: It might seem more like a con. So it’s a very futuristic Feng Shui since
it was a lot of new twists.
TK: I would like to draw more about Ein, but the director doesn’t care much
YK: So he is crying about it, and doing a series about wolves.
A: Do you have anymore scheduled appearances in the United States for the rest
SW: If someone invites us.
A: Why was Knocking from Heaven's Door removed from the title of the movie?
SW: You have to ask Sony that. They said you can't do it because it’s a title
for a Bob Dillon's Song. Instead of having a new subtitle added, we just went
with the movie.
A: Why does only Vincent lose his memories in the movie? Since everyone else
who got the antidote didn't.
SW: He doesn't have his memory due to all his traumatic experiences in the
desert battlefield afterwards. So he subconsciously buried his memories.
A: The round up show is canceled near the end of series, but the host is
brought into the main story line at the end. Why?
SW: The screen writer was really in love with Punch, and tried to get him back
on screen after Big Shot was canceled. I didn’t want to put him on screen, so
she just went ahead and wrote that scene herself. And she told me this was the
most important scene in the episode, so I couldn't cut it.
A: There is a character that looks like "someone” (I missed the name), can you
comment? What was the meaning of the phrase at the end of the last episode?
TK: Because Bebop is created by a group of characters, it is everyone's
fashions. The series organizer so he was kind smuggling his favorite celebrity
in the series, and he had a different idea about the sessions than everyone
SW: In the last album by the Beatles their last song, and that's why I used
it. That song was created by the Beatles to tell their fans they would
disband. The meaning behind that phrase, since the Beatles took a lot of
weight from the fans, the fans had to now carry that weight. So basically, in
terms of Bebop I would be really happy if the fans who saw the series would
carry the weight of the series with them in life.
A: What are you favorite US productions?
TK: I like the Jack Ryan Movies
YK: Sesame Street.
SW: I have watched a lot of old American movies, probably more than any of
you. Like old westerns, and cops and robbers. My favorite has to be Dirty
A: This question of for Toshiro Kawamoto, as I have seen a lot of your animes.
Your designs seem to be more realistic, are you trying to distinguish
TK: I really think I have the ability to make realistic characters.
A: Have you thought about designing yourself as one of the characters?
TK: I actually have one, where I appear, Golden Boy. There is a character
named Mr. Wakamoto in one of the episodes. But I felt really strange about
M: That’s all the time we have, thank you for coming.