Cowboy Bebop Vol. #2 (Mania.com)

By:Roman Martel
Review Date: Thursday, February 07, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, June 06, 2000



The Review!
Overall Rating: 4.6 (on a scale of 1-5)

-Disc Ratings-

Sound: 5

Picture: 5

Menu: 4.8

Presentation: 4

Goodies: 5

Overall: 4.7

-Artistic Ratings-

Animation: 5

Sound: 5

Plot: 3.8

English Acting: 4.5

Music: 5

Overall: 4.6

Intro

With the arrival of the second session for Cowboy Bebop we get the continuing adventures of the crew and a new member... but where is it all going? Can the awesome animation and design of the show save it from a redundant loop of endless adventures? Is this reviewer being too picky... again!? Well, keep reading to find out.

Technical Review

Again, Bandai keeps it high standards up to par. The visuals and the sound were top notch. DVD is still the only way to really watch and enjoy this show. The menus remain the same as they were from the last disc. It's starting to get a little frustrating to wait for the main menu to reload each and every time you pick something. I think they need to tighten the whole aspect of the menus a bit more, although I do like the music, motion and sound effects. I'm still on the fence about the cover art. It's cool looking and all, but I still think it lacks punch and that a major part of the audience getting these discs (heck even I was too young) is missing the reference to an old type of record packaging. The extras are still not listed on the outside of the keepcase, only on the insert. I still think that it's important to include what extras are on the disc somewhere a prospective buyer can see them. On this disc you get a quick tour and brief interviews with the animation staff of Sunrise. You also get an interview with Director Shinichiro Watanabe, and another with Shoji Kawamori (I believe he is the production designer... but I'm not sure). Again you get another technically well done disc. The menus are my only gripe and it's only a small gripe at that.

Content Review

We get to see just how tough the bounty-hunting game is in this universe with the 2nd Session (as if the first one didn't convince us). Nearly all the characters get to go through some kind of turmoil or other; Spike gets jettisoned into space (again), Faye screws up catching a bounty (again), Jet revisits his past, Ed falls out of a ventilation shaft, even Ein gets a can kicked at him (and has to eat bean sprouts...ewwww ;-)) But is there anything else going on?

Just when I thought Cowboy Bebop was gonna start into a continuous plot, I'm thrown for a loop. All these episodes have nothing to do with each other. Sure they are all well drawn and have stories that range from descent to well done, but there is something missing. I'm still not overly excited about getting the next disc. I mean I'll get it, but I'm not eagerly anticipating it or any thing.

The first episode on the disc deals with a mysterious child who can play the harmonica like a pro, and the bounty out on the man who is trying to kill him. Of course the crew of the Bebop can't keep out of it and decide to find out what's really going on. From the preview on the last disc you can pretty much guess what's going on, but it's still kinda creepy. The second episode "Heavy Metal Queen" is all about action and heavy metal. It's a pretty good episode with some great looking space trucks. The third episode deals with a quick trip to Venus and Spike taking on a pupil for his Martial arts. The fourth episode introduces a new character, Edward. Edward is a computer genius with a really spazzy nature to her (yes, her. I don't know why she's named Edward yet either.). This episode is just plain fun. The last episode deals with Jet returning to his home moon of Ganymede. And yes, the past comes back to haunt him, and no it isn't pretty.

The dark edge that was present in the first and fifth episodes of the first disc is gone in this disc. Most of the animation is still OAV quality and very well done, it just doesn't have the darkness or the graphic violence. The detail and look of this universe just make it real fun to watch. I also enjoyed the character design for all the new faces in the show. The animation is probably the best aspect of the show, combining the all the work together so well, definitely deserving the top rating in this department.

The sound keeps up with the animation again. I must comment again on the use of static and ambient noise to pull you into the world. This sound track sounds even better on the English dub; it's much more detailed and rich. I really have to congratulate the sound team on this show.

As I stated above, the plots for these episodes are range from good to fun. There isn't anything really great about any of them, but they do entertain. Each one has plenty of action and a few laughs sprinkled throughout. The plots aren't really grabbing me and the characters aren't really changing at all. After that battle in the last episode of the first disc I was expecting Spike to be a bit different somehow, but no, he's the same old guy. I don't know how the show can keep up the episodic nature and let the characters remain static, and still hold my interest... but only time will tell, right?

The English cast has kept up the great work. In fact they seemed to have improved a bit. Everyone is doing a great job with only few minor characters sounding a little off. This is one show I love watching in English, the cast is great, and the voices all fit.

The music is great. Yoko Kanno... nuff said.

This disc continues the fun aspect of the show. It's more of the same. If you loved the last disc, you'll like this one too. I'm still wanting a bit more after this one. The characters aren't going anywhere and while each episode is entertaining, and wonderfully animated, it's not enough. I want some depth, some soul, some epic story line... yeah I know, I'm picky. Well, let's see what the next disc is like.



Review Equipment
Panasonic A110, Pioneer Elite Pro-107 (45 inch screen), Kenwood THX certified 4.1 receiver, Boston Acoustics (5 speakers and 2 subs)



Mania Grade: NA
Audio Rating: N/A
Video Rating: N/A
Packaging Rating: N/A
Menus Rating: N/A
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Cowboy Bebop