Cowboy Bebop Vol. #4 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • 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. #4

By Chris Beveridge     February 03, 2002
Release Date: August 01, 2000

Cowboy Bebop Vol. #4
© Bandai Entertainment

What They Say
Jazz Agers, flower children, lost generation, beatniks, rockers, punks, nerds, hackers, lovers generation X – whatever the designation, there have always been outlaws in our society who live in pursuit of autonomy.

At times they are revered for their roles as pioneers, challenging the unknown; other times people consider them lawless desperadoes and a dangerous presence.

Yet really, it is only their exuberant music and an autonomy founded to express opinions different from those of others that set them apart from the rest of society.

The year 2071 AD. That future is now. Driven out of their terrestrial eden, humanity chose the stars as the final frontier.

With the section-by-section collapse of the former nations a mixed jumble of races and peoples came. They spread to the stars, taking with them the now confused concepts of freedom, violence, illegality and love, where new rules and a new generation of outlaws came into being People referred to them as Cowboy Bebops…

The Review!
The crew of the Bebop is back again with four more episodes of adventure, music and Cowgirl Ed. Frankly, how can you go wrong?

Both audio tracks for this release are top notch for their stereo presentation. Dialogue for both is clean and undistorted, though again the English track sounds more full and vibrant in many areas. There's some good panning affects across the front soundstage as well.

The video side of it also continues with high marks. Blacks are very solid with no visible breakup, very minimal line noise, mostly just in some of the side panning shots. The episodes on the disc cover run the gamut from fast paced dark space action to well toned desert vistas and even to the more lush and hazy days of the Earth of the past.

Continuing with the striking covers, the green hued Jet cover is great. The back cover continues the same as past releases, with a general synopsis of the state of the solar system and then launches into Jet's profile and a bit on one of the episodes. There's also the episode # and title list. The insert provides another look at the front cover, while the inner half of the insert lists each of the episodes with an image and synopsis as well as the chapter stops. The DVD itself has the green used to help give it the look of a classic 45.

The menu system also replicates the style used from the previous volumes with Jet's computer interface. There's nothing too surprising here, and as with the previous volumes, they all work well. Access times are a bit sluggish, but not unbearably so.

Unlike previous releases however, there's only one extra on the disc, but it's a fun one for fans of the music. The DJ Food remix of Tank! with footage from the first episode.

So in essence, it's the usual above average presentation we've been floored with by the first three releases. And in a similar way, the episodes continue this tradition.

My Funny Valentine provides Faye fans with plenty of good stuff. She starts off her tale of her past with Ein. It's here that we learn that she was cryogenically frozen for almost 54 years before being awaken and cured of some mysterious illness. Her attempts to reconcile her new life don't go well, and she attempts to escape to something more tangible with the man who tries to help her acclimate to her new future. The episode overall is very somber and more informative than the usual episodes, but it ends on a high and funny note, but tinged with some sorrow. I definitely enjoyed this episode more than Jet's past episode, but Spike's past episode is still the best.

Black Dog Serenade delves into the story of how Jet lost his arm. It goes more into his past in with his time spent as a member of the ISSP. It focuses in the flashbacks on his tracking down of a Syndicate assassin with one of his fellow officers. The present day sequences focus on the escape of several prisoners who were on their way to an outer planet prison. There are some really violent sequences in here, but it does show just how good both Jet and the assassin are.

Mushroom Samba is an Ed episode. Does more need to be said other than that? It's fun, it's weird. It has the rest of the crew doped out on mysterious mushrooms. It has quite possibly one of the funniest moments in the series to date. After Ed and Ein, starved beyond belief, are presented with some mysterious mushrooms, Ein takes a big bite. His eyes change briefly, and the next thing you know, he's bouncing on all four paws down the street. I haven't laughed that hard at anything in this series yet. The episode focuses heavily on Ed and Ein's adventures, which are madcap and all over the place. Very funny stuff, and though really just a filler episode, really helps lighten the things in the overall show in a good way that few filler episodes can.

Speak Like A Child builds solidly upon My Funny Valentine by delving more into Faye's past. A mysterious item shows up at the Bebop that Jet signs and pays for, for Faye. Upon returning and finding out about the package, Faye bolts, not knowing who it could be from since so many people have grudges against her.

Jet's ready to send it back to the courier company, but with Spike nearby, the package is simply opened to reveal... a Beta tape. That alone had me laughing. Spike and Jet attempt to figure out what this ancient relic is and head to a specialist in such things. Rows upon rows of VHS and Beta decks line the place (but no DVD decks!). Of course, they get a complete video otaku. Jet and Spike end up doing things that of course annoy these kinds of souls, but they eventually get their tape played, but not before the video otaku begins his spiel on the history of the Beta format. And it's accurate no less! Go figure.

It's not long after the tape starts playing before the machine starts eating it and Spike does what he thinks is best and begins to kick the Beta deck. Another great moment. Not longer that, the two of them journey to Earth to a place deep underground and far away to acquire another deck so they can play this tape that they saw briefly. The whole section there was wonderfully done and very reminiscent of Lupin. The remainder of the episode focused on getting the tape played again with Faye present... and it only leads to more questions. Definitely a solid episode and one that really makes you feel more for Faye than you did before.

Only eight more episodes to go in this series and it doesn't seem like enough.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Tank! Music Video Remix

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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