Mania Grade: A
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- Audio Rating: A
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: A+
- Menus Rating: 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
Cowboy Bebop Vol. #1
By Brian Chen
February 07, 2002
Release Date: April 04, 2000
"Cowboy Bebop" is one of those titles that already has a large fanbase and now I know why. With its intriguing plot, gorgeous animation, and extremely beautiful music, it's no wonder why it was anime of the year for 1998 and has a motion picture coming out in the near future.
What's the story? To be honest, you don't get any real plot until the second session. Cowboy Bebop is known to be extremely episodic and has many fillers; there was only one episode that might start an interesting saga. The rest are mainly for introducing key characters and some random violence. ^^;
Bandai did a fantastic transfer for this one. While certainly not perfect, there's great video quality with little line noise and very few rainbows. The animation itself? While very simplistic (look at Spike's face at a side-view), the drawings are realistic and beautiful. Unfortunately, if you go overboard by rewinding and fast-forwarding you might experience some problems. I only experienced this once, but it's extremely distracting and looks like a poor quality MPEG file.
Like jazz? Me neither, but I couldn't help but hum the wonderful tunes of Cowboy Bebop. Yoko Konno did a marvelous job with a plethora of genres from blues to classical. The opening theme, "Tank!", is an upbeat tempo that will stick in your head for days. The ending song, "The Real Folk Blues", is a calm yet powerful melody that will stun you and keep you stunned for a fair while. Add this to the Dolby Digital Stereo (no Surround Sound... ;_;) and you'll be in aural bliss.
Want some unique stuff? The packaging. The actual DVD disc looks like a retro 45 LP record! Remember, it's hip to be square!
Um... I don't like the menus. A lot of people enjoy them, but it takes a good five seconds for it to actually become functional, and the colors don't look well together. I dislike the idea of Jet's computer setup for a menu; I would have enjoyed background images splashed with choices much more. No defects encountered, so I suppose I can live with it.
A key point of Cowboy Bebop's popularity is because of it's humorous points. Though some antics may remind you of a Saturday morning cartoon (like a dog jumping on our main character's face, preventing him from stopping the bad guy), they are presented in a much more mature way and doesn't hamper its mood.
I especially enjoyed the extras for this disc. While I probably haven't remembered all of them, the ones that come to mind are the "Tank!" music video, the three-minute footage from "Session 0," and trailers. Unfortunately, all of those obviously are VHS quality. Boo hoo!
As with most of my anime reviews, I usually complain about the subtitles. And of course, this will be no different. The subtitles again are yellow which makes it hard to read during bright scenes, specifically the the introduction theme, "Tank!", and the scenes within hyperspace.
The voice actors are unbelievably talented! Not only are the Japanese voices good, but the English voices match incredibly well and American companies could learn a thing or two from Bandai (of course, Bandai was responsible for the dubbing of "Gundam Wing"). The only complaint I have is Wendy Lee's presentation of Faye Valentine. The original Megumi Hayashibara's voice works on so many more levels; Wendy's is just too rough.
People are still wondering how Cowboy Bebop has gotten so popular. Is it the music? The constant laughs? The wonderful "flowing together" of sequences? Whatever it is, don't waste your time fixating on it; you'll miss this 26 episode masterpiece.
"See you space cowboy..."
Review Equipment Panasonic DVD-RV65, JBL speakers, Sony 52" projection TV