Cowboy Bebop Vol. #6 - 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: 15 & 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. #6

By Bryan Morton     September 05, 2005
Release Date: July 18, 2005


Cowboy Bebop Vol. #6
© Beez


What They Say
The shocking conclusion! Still haunted by her missing past, Faye searches for more clues to her identity. During her search, she meets a woman named Julia. She tells Faye to relay a message to Spike. Could this be the same woman from Spike's mysterious past? When he finds her, what will the future hold? And Spike and Vicious are reunited one last time. How will it all end?

Episodes Comprise
23 - Brain Scratch
24 - Hard Luck Woman
25 - The Real Folk Blues (part 1)
26 - The Real Folk Blues (part 2)

The Review!
As Cowboy Bebop comes to an end, everyone but Jet gets a chance to find their place in the universe, in their own unique ways. As for Jet - he's just the guy that provides the spaceship...

Audio:
As with previous volumes, this release features a standard 2.0 stereo mix that makes good use of the left & right channels for both background effects and dialog to add depth to the soundtrack. I listened primarily to the Japanese track and did not notice any problems. Occasional switches to the English track showed it to be of similar quality.

Video:
Presented in its original 1.33:1 format, this is one of the better-looking discs of Cowboy Bebop's release. There are some issues with spacing in the subtitles - there are quite a few instances where words run together - but other than that there are no real problems. The show's highly-detailed artwork comes across clearly and just looks the part.

Packaging:
After a run of Faye covers, Spike is the centre of attention for this final volume, which is fitting given what happens here. He's pictured sitting on a chair embracing Julia, whose face is hidden - definitely a nice piece of artwork. The same image is used on the back cover in a smaller form, along with episodes summaries and disc technical details.

Menu:
Menus are the same as on the previous volumes, mimicking the style of the Cowboy Bebop opening credits, and are backed by the opening theme. Submenus are provided for 'Bonus' material (a few Beez trailers), language setup & chapter select, using the same background music & presentational style as the main menu. They're responsive & intuitive to use, although as before the background music cuts out very suddenly after about 20 seconds, which feels a bit untidy.

Extras:
None

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Four episodes, three stories, and two fewer people on the Bebop by the end of it all. The first episode is the last of the "typical" Cowboy Bebop bounty-hunting stories, as the gang search for the leader of new religious cult Scratch. With growing numbers of people being attracted to their promise of "electronic transcendence", the authorities has put a price on the head of the group's leader, Londes. Londes proves particularly tricky to pin down, and with their best lead being a virtual-reality game console, could it be that Londes really has discovered transcendence? Or is it all just an elaborate hoax?

This is probably one of the weakest episodes in the series. I'm always worried when a story relies too much on technology, as story writers have a habit of getting a bit too carried away with their futuristic thinking and end up with a scenario that just doesn't ring true, and that's what has happened here. The idea of Londes somehow managing to reach out from his dreamworld and gather his disciples, with nothing other than a game-console demo disc to persuade them just didn't work for me. Seeing Jet queuing up with a crowd of kids to buy the latest gaming machine was a typically-Bebop comedy moment, but that was about as good as the episode got.

Hard Luck Woman, on the other hand, is classic stuff and gives both Faye and Ed their chance to get away from bounty-hunting life. Thanks to the videotape she received in an earlier episode (Speak Like a Child), Faye's memories are beginning to return. When Ed claims to know one of the landmarks in the video, Faye's need to find out who she really is comes to the fore and she sets off with Ed in search of her past. Ed's father, meanwhile, has come looking for his daughter. Or son. He really can't quite remember.

This episode had both comedy and some amazingly touching moments. On the comedy front is Ed, her detour to the orphanage she'd spent some time in a few years earlier, and her father. He's obsessive about producing accurate maps of the Earth - an impossible task when meteorites are constantly falling and reshaping the landscape - and very rarely thinks of anything else. Ed finding her father again was a great scene (and you can she where she gets her personality from), turned into pure comedy by the way her father almost immediately becomes distracted by a falling meteorite and rushes off to find its crater - leaving Ed standing and forgotten again. The touching scenes come from Faye's side of the story, first when she meets an old friend, and later when she returns to her old home, now just a ruin, and curls up where she remembers her bed to be. It brings home just how much this woman, apparently so hard and worldly-wise on the outside, just wants the security of a home and a past that up until then she couldn't remember ever having. The impact of this episode would have been greater if that had been the last we saw of Faye - at the end of the episode you really do feel that's the end of her story - but she reappears in the next episode. I guess she just can't stay away.

Finally, the 2-parter The Real Folk Blues brings Spike's story to an end. After Vicious tries to seize control of the Red Dragons syndicate, its leaders decide the he should be killed - and for good measure, so should those who had been his friends over the years, meaning Spike is once again brought to their attention. Another person to be targeted is Julia, Spike's lost love. After meeting up with Faye, she asks her to pass a message to Spike - that she wants to meet him one more time. Vicious, meanwhile, has taken a second attempt at seizing control of the syndicate and this time has been successful. He sets about securing his control, killing Julia in the process, leading Spike to set out for one final showdown with his former comrade.

Having seen Vicious in past episodes and being given a good idea of his way of handling people, you know from the start that this story isn't going to have a happy ending. While you get a certain warm feeling from seeing Spike and Julia finally re-united, along with an explanation of why she left him behind, emotionally it's all downhill from there. Over the course of the series it's hard not to build some sort of attachment to the characters, which makes Faye's plea to Spike not to face Vicious all the more dramatic - you know these people, you know what they're like, and life Faye you know what's going to happen if Spike carries through his plan, but can only sit and watch events unfold. It's the ability to do that to the audience that makes Cowboy Bebop stand above almost every other series I've watched.

In Summary:
After one final bounty-hunting episode, this final disc produces some of Cowboy Bebop's best stories yet. Jet fans may feel a little short-changed as the other characters get the lion's share of the screen time, but the final three episodes will leave anyone who has enjoyed the series up until now wondering why it had to end. A fitting end to what, for me, is one of the best series ever.

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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