Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (Kaubōi Bibappu: Tengoku no Tobira) 2001
Another powerhouse film from the dawn of Bones as a studio.
Back when I was reviewing the Escaflowne movie I was reading about Bones using certain scenes to showcase the animators and I wonder if that holds true with the Cowboy Bebop film?
The opening credits come to mind or the smash-up in the convenience store (“You take too long in the toilet!”) where things are very self-contained, serving as both a reintroduction to some of the cast, and as its own little mini story.
In any event, it all looks pretty ace and not just the fight scenes – but plenty of the scenery and montage moments too. The team themselves also look great with all that extra detail and narrower aspect ratio, which did take me a bit of time to adjust to, actually.
A note, this won’t be a detailed analysis, it’s just going to be me skipping through a few things I liked 😀
So, if you loved the series but for some reason have never seen the film, will you like it? Surely yes.
This time, the gang have to deal with a terrorist with the skills to actually bring about some serious destruction, choosing the chemical warfare path. Vincent is a pretty good villain, menacing and understandable if not someone I’d actually empathise with perhaps.
Of the new characters showcased in the film, Eletcra is easily my fav – fitting nicely into the ‘girls with guns’ mold, but great hand-to-hand skills are also on display with the that fantastic ‘Clutch’ fight against Spike.
The OST is another triumph of versatility from Yoko Kanno (even with the uncredited Sugababes cover), with What Planet is This?! and Time to Know being my favs, and of course, having Time to Know linked to Ed and Ein’s search is obviously perfect.
There are too many great scenes to highlight of course – and so beyond the two I’ve already mentioned above, I will also say the super-dramatic introduction to Vincent is great, especially with the depth of field tweaks.
Speaking of Vincent, I’ve always wondered about his almost half-hearted attempted rape of Faye. Is it meant to illustrate his disconnect with reality or was it ‘just’ fan-service?
If it is supposed to show Vincent as dehumanised (which fits) I find it hard to believe he’d bother, he’s so apathetic – yet at the same time, desperately focused on a singular goal to the exclusion of everything else.
(Sometimes the film is described as a long episode of the show, and that feels right but not in a disparaging way, I hope. Cowboy Bebop’s episodic storytelling often had more content and stronger resolutions in 20-odd minutes that plenty of feature films).
But to return to the film now and also wrap things up – for me Cowboy Bebop The Movie lives up to the series, and exceeds it visually, and even though Jet is a little side-lined throughout, it’s still one of my fav anime films.