Cowboy Bebop Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: Beez
  • MSRP: £19.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop Vol. #3

By Bryan Morton     May 23, 2005
Release Date: March 28, 2005


Cowboy Bebop Vol. #3
© Beez


What They Say
First, the crew must fight against a strange organism that's boarded the Bebop. Surviving that, they move on to find their lost cash, and Spike begins the search for the missing Julia. But it turns out that his old enemy Vicious is involved. Finally, they must solve the mystery of a high-tech crime that seems to have been perpetrated by a ghost.

Episodes Comprise:
11 - Toys in the Attic
12 - Jupiter Jazz (Part 1)
13 - Jupiter Jazz (Part 2)
14 - Bohemian Rhapsody

The Review!
This latest volume of Cowboy Bebop sees the return of Spike's nemesis, Vicious - who seems to cause him less trouble than an alien creature on board ship...

Audio:
The soundtrack is provided in both English & Japanese stereo versions. I listened mainly in the original Japanese, dipping into the English track from time to time. Both tracks make good use of the front channels to give directionality to the audio, which appears to be free of any problems.

Video:
The video is presented in its original 1.33:1, full-frame format. The quality has generally improved since the last volume - there's much less incidence of rainbows and shimmer on sharp lines, although there is one point during episode 13 where the picture breaks up momentarily. Blink and you'll miss it, but it's there. Subtitles maintain their white-on-black font - as before, there are some formatting problems, but thankfully no missed lines of dialogue this time around.

Packaging:
This release comes in a standard black keepcase, with Faye taking pride of place on the front cover, pistol in hand, and Spike hanging out in the background. The back cover gives episode summaries, screenshots and the disc's technical information panel, and a smaller version of the Faye image used on the front.

Menu:
As with previous volumes, the disc menus mimic the style of the Cowboy Bebop opening credits, and are backed by the opening theme, with the same sudden stop to the music that was present before. Submenus are provided for 'Bonus' material (a few Beez trailers), language setup & chapter select, and it's all very quick and responsive.

Extras:
None

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Life on board the Bebop while it's cruising to its next destination can't be said to be particularly exciting. While Ed plays with her gadgets, Spike tries some cooking - with help from a flamethrower - while Jet resorts to playing strip dice with Faye, and loses horribly. While down in the hold looking for some replacement clothes, though, he's bitten by some sort of creature and is soon taken seriously ill, and it's not long before both Faye & Ein are also attacked. With a deadly creature seemingly loose on the ship and his comrades laid low, it's up to Spike to track down whatever it is that's been attacking the others.

Later, Faye jumps ship during a visit to Callisto, having raided the Bebop's safe before she left. Jet & Spike aren't about the let her get away with their cash that easily, but while Ed searches the 'net for a clue to where she's ran to, she digs up a reference to Julia, Spike's old flame. He's not about to pass up an opportunity to find out what's happened to her, leaving Jet to track Faye down on his own. Down on Callisto, Faye finds herself in the men-only town of Blue Crow, where she's become involved with sax player Gren. To Faye he's at first just another guy who has chatted her up in a bar, but Gren hides a few secrets - not least of which is his connection with Spike's nemesis, Vicious. As well as being involved in a Red-Eye trade with Vicious, Gren has a score to settle with him, going back to when they fought together in the war on Titan. Spike's search for Julia also leads him to Vicious, setting the stage for a three-way showdown.

To finish off the disc, the gang investigate a bounty offered by the Gate Public Corporation. Someone seems to have found a way to hack the Gate payment systems and has been cleaning out the accounts of people using the Gates. So far, the only people caught have been low-level crooks, acting on instructions. All they have in common is a 'net -connected chess piece they were each carrying. Jet resorts to bugging the Gate Corporation's offices in an attempt to dig up any information they may be hiding, and hears mention of Chessmaster Hex - he had worked on the design of the Gates years ago, before quitting the company under a cloud. He may just have the motive to pull off the scam, but first Jet has to track him down.

The highlight of this disc is the Jupiter Jazz two-parter - the Spike / Julia / Vicious relationship is the nearest that Bebop ever gets to an ongoing storyline, and any encounter between the two former colleagues is always worth watching. Rather than digging too much into the past with these episodes, Gren and the issues he carries with him from the Titan war are used to bring the story together, with Vicious' usual treachery being used to make Gren a character it's easy to sympathise with. I perhaps feel a little cheated that we didn't get to see Julia, although I suppose that's one way of maintaining the mystery that surrounds her. There's plenty of time left in the series for her to make an appearance yet.

The other two episodes move more to the lighter side of things. Toys in the Attic is essentially "Cowboy Bebop does Alien", as Spike grabs his capture net & flamethrower to chase last year's leftovers through the ship's airducts, eventually trying to blow it out of the airlock. As homages go, it's hard to beat and great fun to watch, right down to Ed's typically laid-back solution to the problem.

Bohemian Rhapsody is the weakest of the four, although it still features some good moments. Jet's very much in his element as he gets the chance to use his detective skills to uncover the Gate Corporation's secrets & track down Chessmaster Hex, although Ed steals the show once again with her never-ending chess match with Hex.

Taken as a package, Bebop again proves its ability to soak up a few hours of your life without you barely noticing - it's one of those shows where time flies past as you watch. If only more series could master that trick.

In summary:
Jupiter Jazz on its own makes this disc essential viewing for anyone who's even remotely interested in Cowboy Bebop, with the other two episodes both being enjoyable diversions. There are still one or two unfortunate glitches with the disc, but nothing that will make the disc unwatchable.

Features
Japanese Language (2.0),English Language (2.0),English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic TX-W28R30P 28" widescreen TV; Pioneer DV-626D player; Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.

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