Cowboy Bebop Vol. #3 (Mania.com)

By:Roman Martel
Review Date: Thursday, February 07, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, July 04, 2000



The Review!
Overall Rating: 4.7
(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: 5
Music: 5
Overall: 4.7

Intro
Cowboy Bebop's 3rd session is here! It's got Ed on the cover! It's got Ein doing his famous blood-hound routine. It's got the return of Vicious. It's got spoof and parody. It's got the funniest preview dialogue I've yet heard in an anime. Solid entertainment? You bet! Earth shattering plot? No way.

Technical Review
No real technical changes in this disc. The sound and picture looked great on my set up. The menus are the same. I still haven't made my mind up about the cover art. The yellow is a bit more eye catching than the orange or red covers but I still think they lack pizzazz to get someone who knows nothing about the show to buy them off the rack. The cover still does not list the extras of this DVD; instead they are on the insert. You get interviews with, Keiko Nobumoto (Screenplay), Yoko Kanno (Music), Masahiko Minami (producer), Kouichi Yamdera (Spike), Megumi Hayashibara (Faye), Unshou Ishizuka (Jet), and Aoi Tada (Ed). Sadly, no interview with the voice actor for Ein. But other than that, Bandai and Pioneer are keeping up the top-notch work.

Content Review
The third disc continues in the same vein as the first two, the further adventures of the Bebop crew. Like before, these stories go from funny to dark and serious. This show is still very entertaining, and the plots are well done, but the character development is still being handled strangely.

Keeping the musical titles going, we get "Toys in the Attic". This episode is mostly a parody of Alien. It's done very well too. Spike even enters a system of air shafts with a tracker (just like Tom Skerritt did in the original). This one keeps you laughing right till the end, and even has a humorous dialogue over the previews. Great writing in this episode!

The two-part story line in "Jupiter Jazz" brings us back to Spike's past. We learn a bit more, but are still in the dark about a great amount of his life. What we do find out makes us crave more plot and more info. But for all the impatient people (like me) the next episode has nothing to do with these two.

"Bohemian Rhapsody" is also pretty humorous. It tells a bit about how the gates work and a bit more about the world of Cowboy Bebop. Ed has some great lines and her English voice actress does a great job with them. All in all these four episodes are all well done and hold up well on their own.

Most of the artistic qualities of this show have hit their high marks. The animation remains top notch. Great design work with both the world of Bebop and the characters makes this show lots of fun. This show has a look and has kept it going. The fluid fight scenes and the nice mixture of darkness and colors are all handled well. The sound has also stayed on par with the animation. The English track is just alive with all kinds of back noise and sound depth. Whoever did the sound design for the English dub is doing a excellent job.

The acting has also reached a 5 rating in my book. This is mostly due to the English voice actress for Ed. This character treads a thin line. She could either be so cute to the point of vomit inducing, or too flat and not able to pull off the overt spazziness of the character. This voice actress has got the character down. Ed is fun and not annoying at all. (Is this the same actress who does Alielle in El Hazard? She did a great job there too! 'Ohhhh Red Hair!' is one of my favorite lines). The rest of our cast is fully into character and pulls off some of the toughest moments with ease (in both the humorous and serious story lines).

The music is standard Yoko Kanno, and most of you know how I feel about her. She does a great job adapting the styles of classical and jazz masters and putting a unique twist on it. I'm really enjoying her work on this show, as much as I enjoyed Vision of Escaflowne and Macross Plus.

The weakest point is the character development. And that is a strange thing. This show has shown us the past of two of it's mains; Spike and Jet. We get to see where these men have come from and why they are who they are, and yet even when their past comes back and slaps them in the face, in the next episode it's like nothing has happened. If you watched Bebop out of order (except for the two parters), it would be hard to tell which episode happened first (only when you looked to see how the characters were introduced would you have a clue). You could take "Ganymede Elegy", "Toys in the Attic", and "Bohemian Rhapsody", put them out of order and it wouldn't make a difference. This show is episodic and yet it seems to be trying to be something more than a standard Action/Sci-fi. I don't know if that is possible. These characters all seem to have pasts, but they don't seem to have a future.

Luckily, we have just passed the half-way point. There are still lots more shows to go and three more discs to review. A lot can happen between now and then, but at this point, Bebop is good entertainment, but hardly art.

What does it come down to? Well if you enjoyed the last two discs, this one is more of the same. If you are getting a little tired of the static characters, well, this one doesn't do much to change that area. But I'm having enough fun to stick with the show. All the other artistic elements are top notch and make up for the slight character development.



Review Equipment
Hitachi GD-2000 DVD ROM, Cinemaster QI DVD Player (application), Dell Model UltraScan D1025HTX Color Monitor
ACS295 Atltec Lansing Speakers (right, left, Subwoofer)



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: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Cowboy Bebop