That, my friends, is the only thing I missed in this first volume of Cowboy Bebop –the groovy jazz score that enlivens the anime show is a sad but inevitable loss. Nonetheless, my favorite interstellar bounty hunters from Mars fills these pages with all the teasing banter; the tireless, if often hopeless, pursuit of piles of woolongs (i.e. cold hard cash); and the occasional shows of mercy that make the TV show kinetic fun. There’s no need to have seen the show to appreciate the tale: on the Bebop, a junky but reliable spaceship, three professional bounty hunters haunt the planets, living like a dysfunctional family, and pursue any elusive prize that will allow them to retire drowning in wealth. The spiky haired, loose-limbed Spike charms with his low-key wit while the sexy cardshark Faye Valentine pursues money with a single-mindedness that excludes everything including the soft spot she may have for Spike. Jet Black, a solid ex-cop, grounds the crew in reality. Wacky hijinks definitely ensue, from pursuing an ex-con who turns out to favor drag over violence to falling for a reality-TV ploy, though moments of seriousness are well-plotted and lend weight and mystery to the characters’ backstories. So, get your hands on the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack and read.
Cowboy Bebop, vol. 1
By Yutaka Nanten and Hajime Yatate