Cowboy Bebop Vol. #6 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A+

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • 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. #6

By Chris Beveridge     November 07, 2000
Release Date: November 07, 2000

Cowboy Bebop Vol. #6
© 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, and illegality an love, where new rules and a new generation of outlaws came into being. People referred to them as Cowboy Bebops?

Profile: Julia
She is the phantasm that continues to inhabit his past ? a clutch of memories never to be forgotten. When she appears before him, the world he had believed to be reality begins a shift towards the illusory. The illusion named Julia ? her of unclear providence, unknown age.

Her tears, her smile, her perfume ? never had he considered the possibility of their loss- all slip away into the recesses of memory. All he remembers for certain is her name and nothing more; even that may prove to be just a figment, another phantasm. But for the moment he cannot be sure.

A woman, who disappeared on that rainy day; a betrayal, by the friend he considered a brother in arms; and flight, away from the organization that had raised and nurtured him ? by thus destroying his own past and her ghostly phantasm, he ?died? a first death and was reborn anew.

Yet he subconsciously continued to seek this truth, which he had supposedly destroyed and had vanished beyond the limits of his memory. For it is this very phantasm that defines the reality he lost, is his anima and his sole embodiment of a woman. And once again, on another rainy afternoon, in that selfsame place, he will face his destiny.

The Review!
In the space of about seven months, Bandai has managed to not only enter the DVD market in full force, but take arguably their most popular series that started release on VHS the previous year and have it all wrap up at the same time.

Frankly, DVD fans made out like bandits with the release of Cowboy Bebop, and this fan is very much pleased with it. This final disc brings the series to conclusion in a definitive way, unlike many other series. But more on that after the technical side of things.

Once again, we get a really solid couple of audio tracks with this release. Both tracks sound very good and both casts continue to impress greatly. There's a fair amount of directionality across the front soundstage throughout and everything sounds pretty much on the mark. The music of course continues to be the high point, and this disc is no exception. There's probably more vocal tracks in these episodes than prior ones though, and this really accentuates the mood very nicely throughout.

Overall, this is a very good looking release and I'm sure the majority of people will be pleased by it. Colors look just right without any oversaturation, there's no noticeable bleeding and the black levels are very solid. There are a few minor issues though that seemed a bit more prevalent this time around than earlier releases. In the first and third episode, I noticed a bit more artifacting in the opening song sequence when the screen is mostly the softer solid colors. There's a few rainbows scattered throughout, some more obvious than others. Line noise thankfully was practically non-existent. What was surprising though, and lowered the grade from an A- to a B+ was the final episode at the very end when the credits roll. As the camera pans up a blue sky and into the blackness of space, the blues are artifacting so badly at one point, it was one of the poorest segments of video I'd seen on an anime disc in quite awhile.

Thankfully it wasn't in the show proper itself, but after absorbing the final episode and listening to the beautiful music, it was jarring to see as much blocky artifacts as there were.

Oh yeah, I'm very pleased by the final cover. Heck, I've been pleased with every cover for this series. Ending the series with the near-entire cast shot (poor Ein!) is of course the perfect way to do things. Some folks are going to be disappointed no matter what, as there are a few Japanese covers that couldn't be used due to the difference in the number of discs. A lot of people wanted Vicious for the last one, but for this release I think the cover used is perfect. The back cover follows the tradition of previous ones as well, this time doing the profile for Julia. The insert gives nice small summaries of each episode as well as a piece of animation for it.

Very little difference between this and the other five menus on previous volumes as they're all the same. One exception this time around though is that it does start off with the Tank! song, but then slips into something a bit more mellow. Access times are fairly decent if a but slow moving between a few of the menus.

The only obvious extra is the image gallery which contains both the DVD and VHS covers for the US releases. While there are some VHS covers that I liked, overall I think the DVD covers are much more striking in appearance and likely to be remembered and/or visually associated with more quickly. There's also an easter egg hidden on the disc, but I rarely put those in reviews...

Simply put, wow. This is one roller coaster ride of a disc and one that I was surprised that it brought out emotions in me with the characters. While I've enjoyed the series, I never really felt any kind of attachment to any of them. These episodes definitely proved me wrong on that count.

Outside of the first episode, Brain Scratch, these episodes all focus in one way or another on the lives of the characters and their place in the universe. As such, there's just a ton of spoilers in each episode, especially the final two parter, that even really mentioning much of anything is almost criminal to those who haven't seen it yet.

The first episode though was quite a spot of fun. In various ways, the gang all tries to cash in on the huge bounty on a cult religious leader whose getting people to convert to his electronic soul release idea. Faye and Spike end up taking the more traditional way of locating him while Jet and Ed end up teaming up together and do something a bit more unconventional.

Listen, Ed in a dress? It's unconventional.

The moments between Jet and Ed as they were working through the problem and role-playing together were just perfect and quite hilarious. There was a definite synergy that I wish was more capitalized upon after Ed was originally introduced.

Overall, Cowboy Bebop has been a truly fun series to watch and an enjoyable cast of characters to see interact and be comfortable with themselves for the most part. Amazingly, these final episodes wrap everything up in a way that was very unexpected at times and without the usual sense of letdown that you get from many series in recent years.

Bebop ranks high on my list this year and in recent years as well. While not everyones cup of tea, it's a series that most people should at least take a look at. For those like myself who are fans, I don't think we could be more pleased by how this series was released. Highly recommended.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Image Gallery,Easter Eggs

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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