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: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Cowboy Bebop
Cowboy Bebop Vol. #3
By Kevin Baylon
February 07, 2002
Release Date: July 04, 2000
Kudos to Bandai and everyone else who helped produce yet another excellent volume of this wonderful series. The video lives up to the already-released volumes by presenting seamless, crisp video clarity. Not a pixel or artifact can be found. This caliber has remained consistent throughout the series, but the quality proves itself once again.
Like the video, the sound is top-notch.
The disc maintains a balance between the video and sound; Kanno's rich score can be heard and appreciated in the various action scenes, especially in the concluding sequence of Jupiter Jazz. The choice of music enhances the overall feeling of the episodes, and fades out quite nicely in the parts where there is dialogue. In all, any otaku can enjoy both the sound and music without having to worry about either one becoming washed out by the other. I believe this series will be one of the few to beat in terms of sound and video quality.
I want to point out the use of CG in this series. Bebop also maintains a fair balance between CG-rendered and hand-drawn graphics. And while the use of CG was most evident with emphasis of the hyperspace gates in Session 1, the series does not overdo it.
Despite the lag, the menus stay true to the other two discs by assuming a computer-type layout, a layout we see whenever Edward, Jet, or even Spike "log on." The submenus, however, can be accessed more quickly and smoothly than the main menu.
One problem, though. Whenever you hit the button for either the trailers or the credits, you find that you have to go directly to the main menu. This can be bothersome for those who just want to go back to the submenu. I guess Bandai assumed viewers would already have accessed all the other features in the "Extras" by the time they would hit the trailers (I don't know about anyone else, but I often view the trailers before anything else!). This problem has persisted in the other volumes as well.
As for the content, all I can say is "Wow." Be prepared because this volume holds you at the edge of your seat with its twists of suspense and turns of didactic humor.
Overall, Session 3 is a departure from the elegiac sentimentality of Session 2 and a leap from the action-packed introductions of Session 1. After this volume, viewers will recognize the similarity between members of the Bebop: a longing for identity. In Session 3, we see Spike and Faye temporarily leave the crew - Spike, who seeks to reunite with his lost love Julia, and Faye, who searches for answers to her shadowy past in the "woman-less" town of Blue Crow. Their quests ultimately converge in Spike's connection to his archenemy, Vicious.
So far, Jupiter Jazz (Parts I and II) are my favorite of the series on many levels. One reviewer has called Cowboy Bebop "a veritable succotash of Blade Runner, Bruce Lee, Dirty Harry and Jack Kerouac." I say that it is all these things - and possibly, even more. Session 3 will astound and touch you with its lighthearted outtakes on life in Toys in the Attic and Bohemian Rhapsody and with its surprises in Jupiter Jazz. This certainly makes Session 3 the jewel of all the volumes to date.
On a final note: Is it just me, or is Ed a loveable, new age, "techie" equivalent of Pippi Longstocking? I might be crazier than you think.
Panasonic K510D DVD player, Denon AVR2000 Reciever, Toshiba CX35D60 TV, Mitsubishi front towers, Polk Audio center and rear speakers.