Cowboy Bebop Vol. #5 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A

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  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: B+
  • 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. #5

By Chris Beveridge     September 05, 2000
Release Date: September 05, 2000

Cowboy Bebop Vol. #5
© Bandai Entertainment

What They Say
Following the adventure of Spike, Faye, Jet, Ed, and Ein as they continue their endless search for cash. Along the way, tragedy and triumph await as they navigate their way through the dangers of space and corridors of memory. The hottest anime show only gets better as it draws toward its end.

The Review!
In a manner of a few months, the Cowboy Bebop DVD releases have managed to catch up to the VHS release, with session 5 coming out the same time as tape 12. The final DVD volume will be released the same day as the final VHS volume according to retailer sites as well. Patience has paid off for those who didn't get the VHS in anticipation of the DVD releases.

As expected, the audio is pretty much on par with what we've had to date. The English track continues to have a bit more oomph and still a great sounding cast. We listened to it while writing this review, though during the main presentation we listened to the Japanese track with the subtitles. Dialogue in both is clean and clear and we had no instances of dropouts or distortion.

The fifth session is the first time we've watched any Bebop on the new TV, so we were a bit disappointed with the results. The majority of the disc looks very good, with several areas having more color depth and vitality than we previously saw on our old setup. What stuck out more with this viewing though is line noise through several scenes across all episodes and more instances of the dreaded rainbows. I played the disc across some other setups as well, just to see the differences in these scenes. On our 36" set via a Sony S3000, they were practically unnoticeable. On our 27" set via an Apex 600A, the line noise sections, such as cityscapes and parts of ships, were somewhat noticeable and the rainbows turned into slight discolorations, such as on some faces or parts of clothing. The loss of color vitality was also noted, so it's a bit of a tradeoff for us.

Menus and packaging are pretty similar to what we've seen with the previous volumes, so there's no surprise there. The cover this time around (purple) is graced by both Ed and Ein, since this was the only way to get Ein a cover. Besides, you know if Ed had her way, she'd be on all the covers. The inserts continue to be very nice, with animation pieces for each episode, a brief summary and the chapter listings.

The only extra this time around is one that I'm sure some people will love, a creditless version of the ending. Optional subtitles included! It's definitely nice to see a much less cluttered version of this and pick out all the details. But then again, I'm a sucker for the openings and endings being provided this way.

Session 5 has been something a good number of fans have been looking forward too, for one episode in particular, #20. But first, let's talk about #19.

In Wild Horses, we have what I found to be one of the weaker episodes of the series so far. Spike is partially stranded on Earth, getting his Swordfish repaired. Meanwhile a group is in orbit being Starship Pirates, which Jet and the gang go after. Eventually Spike makes his way back up and ends up in trouble, leading to some daring rescue attempts. There are some good moments in the episode, such as seeing the hidden spaceship that Spike's old friend has and the interplay between Spike and said friend, Doohan. While episode resolution is never a high priority for this series, this episode just seems to drift into some real kind of non-ending.

What most fans were looking forward to is Pierrot Le Fou. This is probably one of my favorite episodes since the highly regarded episode 5. The episode has Spike strolling the street after a pool game. Spike's luck being what it is, he comes across an assassination scene. The whacked assassin sees him, and naturally has to take him out. This leads to some great fight sequences where Spike gets the crud beat out of him. Repeatedly. These sequences, and the final big action sequence in Space Land, a futuristic theme park, have some great fluid animation and some wonderful fight choreography. Definitely a highlight episode.

One thing to note in this episode is the cat that's show during the flashback. Note that two different colored eyes, which makes an impact later in the show.

Episode 21 starts off with a great title; Boogie Woogie Feng Shui. The episode revolves around an old friend of Jet's, a Feng Shui master who died shortly after sending Jet a message to meet him. He ends up meeting his daughter (who Spike and Faye make jokes about being either his new girlfriend or his secret love child) and they run off on an adventure to acquire the Sun Stone. The interactions between Jet and Meifa are pretty fun and definitely help flesh out Jet's character more. The episode continues through its action motions to a hyperspace chase sequence that was a lot of fun.

The final episode on the disc, Cowboy Funk, simply had me in stitches. Spike is about to capture the Teddy Bear terrorist, when another bounty hunter arrives on the scene. Cowboy Andy. The character is a variant on Spike, though less swift and kind of goofy. Though Faye would say that describes Spike pretty accurately. Andy's a bit of a nut, in that he hardly remembers anything and mistakes Spike as the Teddy Bear terrorist several times. This absolutely infuriates Spike and he makes it a personal mission to put this guy in his place. There were a lot of great interactions between Spike and Andy (as well as a few unflattering comments from Faye and Jet about both of them). The episode provided me with a lot of laughs, which is something that's needed after a few more serious episodes.

See you next time, Space Cowboy!

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Creditless Ending

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster gold plated component cables and Sony speakers.


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