Cowboy Bebop Vol. #2 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

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. #2

By Chris Beveridge     June 06, 2000
Release Date: June 06, 2000

Cowboy Bebop Vol. #2
© Bandai Entertainment

What They Say
Spike and Vicious conclude their reunion with a deadly duel. And after that, more mayhem and hilarity await as the crew of the Bebop continues to try and make living as bounty hunters. As they travel, they will meet up with a feisty space trucker, make a stop on Venus and meet up with great hacker Ed.

The Review!
After a very impressive first outing with Cowboy Bebop, Bandai is following up with the second disc of six. Like the first one, this disc contains five episodes and some great extras from the Session 0 Japanese release.

From an audio standpoint there's no problems here. Both language tracks and clean and undistorted. Both also have a fair amount of directionality across the front soundstage and there were a few sequences where I could have sworn I heard some action coming out of the rear channels.

Scoring high in the video department again, Cowboy Bebop doesn't disappoint. The transfer is very clean and among the best that region 1 discs have seen. There's a few instances of line noise scattered throughout during some of the more complexly animated sequences, but these are far and few between and unlikely to be noticed by most people unless they're specifically looking for it. The vibrant colors come across wonderfully with no oversaturation or bleeding. Black levels also seem to be well represented. The folks at POP/Cinram did a truly excellent job with this transfer and their hard work really shines through here.

Those who remember my pleasure at seeing the original Japanese covers being used here know my reaction to this one. I love it. I find the style to be quite refreshing after some of the ones done by so many companies over the past few years. This volume sports an orange colored cover with Faye in a close up and a "bad girl" pose. The back cover gives the outline of the world the characters inhabit as well as a fairly detailed character profile on Faye Valentine. Episode numbers as well as titles are included here as well. The full color insert reproduces the front cover while the interior lists each episode with a brief description and the chapter stops available for them. Artwork is provided for each of them as well, though I don't know if they were used for something else originally. The disc itself is similar to the first one in that it looks like an old 45 LP, but this time the center is orange to match the cover.

When it came to the menus, Bandai decided not to fiddle with what works well. The load up is the same as the first volume in that it looks like the Bebop's computer. The background animations are different, but the layout for everything is identical. Selections are accessed quickly and the navigation works well.

The Session 0 extras on this disc are probably the kind of extras I'd love to see provided with most productions. Though they're brief (5 minutes in total I believe), they give fans like myself a small insight into the making of the show. The first one with the Sunrise Staff is good in that it introduces several of the people that work on the show as well as where it's created. The phone interview with Kawamori is interesting in where the idea for the hypergates came from, but the one I found most interesting was with series director Watanabe.

When the first disc came out, I enjoyed the first five episodes of the series a lot. This second batch of five doesn't disappoint at all. The characters get a bit more fleshing out throughout, but the show still holds its episodic style making things easy to jump into and simply enjoy.

Sympathy for the Devil was probably the darker of the episodes and one of the more interesting in some of the history for the show it provided by giving some info on why Earth is the way it is. There's also a few scattered touches on Spikes past, which is the underlying theme of the series according to Shinichiro Watanabe.

Heavy Metal Queen is probably the weakest of the bunch to me. There was a good dose of humor scattered throughout it as well as some great action sequences, but it just didn't really pull me in that much. Seeing a future version of Woody Allen is always fun, but the main "guest" character in "VT" just didn't cut it. Heck, it wasn't until almost halfway through it that I realized that she was a she!

Waltz for Venus ranked high here with me. Getting to see yet another world in the solar system that's been colonized and radically so is always a treat for a SF fan like myself. While the science part of me cringes at it, the fiction said loved the design work put into it. The storyline is solid for it and provides a few insights to Spike's style of combat.

Jamming with Ed is probably one of the more anticipated episodes among fans of the show as it brings in the next member of the Bebop crew. I found a lot of this episode to be interesting in that it gives even more insight into Earth of the future and how humanity has degraded here. I'm still pretty ambivalent about Ed though and her role as a member of the crew. But, that's for future episodes.

Probably my most favored episode on this disc is the last one, Ganymede Elegy. As with Waltz with Venus, seeing the colonization of Ganymede was interesting after having read so many modern SF novels that deal with the moons of Jupiter being colonized. Seeing a Japanese vision of the solar system colonized has been a highlight of this series for me. On the personal level though, this episode is similar in tone to the fifth episode that dealt with Spikes past, but with Jet and his return to his home world. This episode ranked high in both character designs (Alisa) and the gorgeous animation.

Cowboy Bebop Session 2 is a disc that doesn't disappoint anywhere. I'd almost say it ranks higher than the first disc, which is a rarity among releases in general. If these discs continue in an upward swing with each release, this series will be one of the true treasures on DVD this year.

English Language,Japanese Language,English Subtitles,Video Interview with Sunrise Staff,Phone Interview with Shoji Kawamori,Video Interview with Shinichiro Watanabe

Review Equipment
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.


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