Cowboy bebop

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Cowboy bebop
Original title カ ウ ボ ー イ ビ バ ッ プ
transcription Kaubōi Bibappu '
genre Action , science fiction , space western , comedy
country JapanJapan Japan
author Hajime Yatate
publishing company Kadokawa Shoten
magazine Asuka Fantasy DX
First publication 1998-2000
expenditure 3
Anime television series
Country of production JapanJapan Japan
original language Japanese
year 1998
Studio Sunrise
length 25 minutes
Episodes 26 in 1 season
Director Shin'ichirō Watanabe
production Masahiko Minami
Kazuhiko Ikeguchi
music Yōko Kanno
First broadcast April 3, 1998 on TV Tokyo
first broadcast
January 8, 2003 on MTV

Cowboy Bebop ( Japanese カ ウ ボ ー イ ビ バ ッ プ , Kaubōi Bibappu ) is a 26-part anime series that was broadcast in 1998 in Japan and from 2001 in the United States and enjoyed great popularity. The anime is about the adventures of a group of bounty hunters, called "cowboys", who go about their business with a spaceship (the bebop ) in 2071 .


In 2021, a series of rings were constructed that made it possible to travel quickly through the solar system in hyperspace and colonize other worlds. However, due to a defect in the ring system, which was largely ignored by the Gate Company , the rings that connected the earth to the rest of the solar system exploded . A large piece of the moon was blown away. The remains of this shredded piece now form a kind of asteroid belt around the earth, from which parts continuously hail on it. This made the surface of the earth uninhabitable and some of the earth's inhabitants sought protection underground. Most, however, moved to the newly developed planets and moons ( Venus , Mars , Ganymede and Europe ) or to rougher worlds ( Callisto , Io , Titan, etc.)

In 2071, the crew of the ship Bebop will travel the solar system to pursue their business as bounty hunters (called "cowboys"). The crew initially consists of only two members; in the course of the series three more join them. Each one has unique skills to help capture those who have been bountied. While the plot revolves ostensibly about the bounty hunters and their constant failure in a futuristic world, the individual experiences and fates of the individual characters are actually described - each one of them has an individual background that makes his ambitions and desires understandable.

Temporal context

All information is based on statements that appear in the series / film.

year event
1994 August 14th, Faye Valentine is born on earth.
2007 Faye, 13, records a beta max message that her later (23-year-old) self finds again.
2014 Faye is put into cryogenic sleep due to a shuttle crash.
2021 The hyperspace gate incident near Earth destroys part of the moon.
2035 December 3rd, Jet Black is born on Ganymede.
2040 Vincent Volaju is born on Mars (opponent in Cowboy Bebop - The Movie ).
2044 June 26th, Spike Spiegel is born on Mars.
Vicious is born.
2058 Edward will be born on Earth January 1st, according to the series (likely an incorrect date of birth).
2063 Jet loses his left arm and leaves both the ISSP and Ganymede.
2064 Edward is forgotten by her father "Appledelhi Siniz Hesap Lütfen".
2066 Edward goes to the orphanage.
2068 Spike "dies" (apparently), leaving the Red Dragon Syndicate .
Faye was awakened from her sleep and now owes over 300 million Woolong.
Edward leaves the orphanage.
Jet and Spike become partners as bounty hunters on the bebop.
2071 Present in the series.


Spike mirror

Spike, a 27-year-old bounty hunter who was born on Mars, was once a risk- taking member of the Red Dragon Syndicate , where he learned his shooting and hand-to-hand combat skills (especially Jeet Kune Do ). He was originally a good friend of Vicious, until some events (but these are only hinted at in the series) induced him to leave the Syndicate. He faked his own honorable death and now leads a life as a bounty hunter. His goal is to find his lover Julia, whom he had to leave behind when he left the Syndicate, at some point. In terms of character, he has no problem using his martial arts when necessary. Spike seems disinterested, which comes with a certain resignation. One of his eyes is bionic because he lost it in an accident (hence the different eye colors). He always carries a Jericho 941 handgun . For Spike, all events are just a dream from which he will never wake.

Jet black

Jet is a 36-year-old former police officer, a clear contrast to Spike. He used to be an investigator for the ISSP ( Inter Solar System Police ) for a long time until he lost an arm in a failed mission. Although this was replaced by a cybernetic prosthesis, he quit - mainly due to the corruption at the ISSP - and became a bounty hunter. Jet sees himself as a universal genius. He enjoys jazz music, tends his bonsai trees and cooks for the entire bebop crew. Unlike Spike, he's not emotionally brutal, worries about Spike and Faye. He has a kind of motherhood role. A constant companion of jets is a Walther P99 .

Faye Valentine

Faye is 23 years old, vicious, corrupt and often comes across as cold-hearted. Her existence as a kleptomaniac and gambling addict bounty hunter promotes her very independent lifestyle, much to the detriment of the other members of the bebop. Faye uses her sex appeal to achieve what she wants. However, behind her vain demeanor hides a frightened girl. Due to an accident while traveling in space, she was cryogenically frozen for 54 years and woke up in a world strange and unfamiliar to her, with no memory of the accident itself and her past - only to learn that her initial naivete was willingly taken advantage of in what she was in the Episode hardened. She got her name from a doctor who treated her at the time. Later she meets an old friend, which does not significantly alleviate her sadness about the past time and her lack of understanding of the new world. In her desire for harmony and longing for a better life, she resembles Spike in some ways. The firearm she usually carries with her is a Glock 30 .


Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV, nicknamed "Radical" Ed, is a strange young girl - her age is estimated at 13 - who was born on earth and could be described as a " free spirit ". She gave herself the name Ed , her real name is Francoise Appledelhi . Since her father, Appledelhi Siniz Hesap Lütfen, is just as impulsive and flighty as she is and has forgotten her for several years, she spent most of her childhood in an orphanage. Nevertheless, she has a sunny and lively disposition and, despite many peculiarities, is a brilliant hacker , perhaps the best there ever was. She has a computer she names Tomato after a friend from the orphanage . Ed gets on well with Jet, who acts like a surrogate father, and, much to their annoyance, sees Faye as a kind of big sister. Ed also seems to be the only one who understands the dog Ein.


One is a Welsh Corgi , named after Albert Einstein, who was brought on board by Spike after a failed bounty hunt. One was originally a dog in an experimental laboratory, but nobody knows exactly what it is now. In episode 2 he is referred to as a DataDog and his value is priceless. He shows an unnaturally great intelligence, takes calls on videophones, uses the Internet and does another number of things that a normal dog cannot. However, his intelligence is practically imperceptible to the other crew members.


Vicious was Spike's partner and friend while with the Red Dragon Syndicate. However, the two got into an argument because they loved the same woman, Julia. Vicious ( English for "malicious") lives up to his name: He is nefarious, devious, ambitious and willing to do anything to consolidate his power. However, Vicious' favorite weapon is not a handgun, but a katana , which he can handle well. The blood feud between Spike and Vicious runs as a continuous storyline through the events of Cowboy Bebop and ends in a fight in the last episode.


Julia is a charming and mysterious woman from Spikes and Vicious' past. This love triangle led to the feud between Vicious and Spike, and ultimately to Spike's departure from the Syndicate. With the exception of the last two episodes, Julia herself only appears in flashbacks. She looks like a contrast to the world around her - her blond hair, a bright red umbrella and also a red vehicle stand out from the otherwise bleak surroundings. Julia dies in a car chase in Spike's arms.

Vincent Volaju

Vincent Volaju is a retired soldier and a member of Group 7 of the Mars Army Special Operation Forces . He fought in the war on Titan. In an experiment, he is infected by a new type of weapon - nanomachines - and becomes resistant to it, although he suffers from memory loss. The loneliness and doggedness in the world lead him to carry out several terrorist attacks with the same nanomachines on the people of Mars. The bebop team get in his way, as does his former lover Electra Ovilo. The events surrounding Vincent are highlighted in Cowboy Bebop - The Film .


One of the most notable elements of cowboy bebop is the background music from Yōko Kanno and her band ( The Seatbelts ). Many of the blues and jazz pieces add significantly to the mood of the series. The theme song is called Tank! . The end song, which with the exception of three episodes always ends at the end, is called The Real Folk Blues .

Voice actor

The German synchronization of the series was based on a dialogue book and the dialogue direction by Björn Schalla on behalf of Arena Synchron GmbH in Berlin .

SMG Filmproduktion in Munich was responsible for the film , which is why all the characters were newly cast.

role Japanese speaker German speaker (series) German speaker (film)
Spike mirror Kōichi Yamadera Viktor Neumann Martin Halm
Jet black Unshou Ishizuka Karl Schulz Bert Franzke
Faye Valentine Megumi Hayashibara Antje von der Ahe Marion Sawatzki
Edward "Ed" Wong Tada Aoi Ilona Brokowski Sabine Bohlmann
Judy Miki Nagasawa Angela Ringer Michele Sterr
Punch Tsutomu Taruki Hans-Jürgen Dittberner Thomas Rauscher
Vicious Norio Wakamoto Andreas Hosang No appearance
Julia Gara Takashima Anke Reitzenstein No appearance
Vincent Volaju Tsutomu Isobe No appearance Ekkehardt Belle
Electra Ovilo Ai Kobayashi No appearance Elisabeth Günther

Episode list


Cowboy Bebop almost didn't make it onto Japanese television as a completed series . In the first attempt at TV Tokyo 1998 only the episodes 2, 3, 7 to 15 and 18 were shown, but from October 23, 1998 to April 23, 1999 the full series was broadcast by WOWOW .

The series was shown in 2001 in the USA as the first anime on the cartoon network Adult Swim . That was risky at the time, as adult anime was virtually unknown in the United States. This type of cartoons had not yet established itself and the television station could not assume stable audience numbers. Nevertheless, the series was very popular and Cartoon Network later expanded the program with anime series such as Inu Yasha , Lupine III and Witch Hunter Robin . Cowboy Bebop was instrumental in making the anime genre popular with older viewers in the United States.

The TV station MTV tried to get a localized German version and broadcast Cowboy Bebop from January 2003 to the end of 2004. This version was also released on six DVDs by Dynamic Visions . The Dybex company brought out the series in full with interviews and comments from the speakers, production teams and the director. In the US, the series was also released on 6 DVDs by Bandai . In 2006, a new US release followed as a “remix” version with English and Japanese sound as Dolby Digital 5.1 upmix as well as processed bonus material.

Due to the popularity of the series, the movie Cowboy Bebop: Tengoku no Tobira ( カ ウ ボ ー イ ビ バ ッ プ 天国 の 扉 ) was produced, which was released in Japanese theaters in 2001. In the USA it ran in 2003 under the title Cowboy Bebop: The Movie . In Germany, the film was first presented in the summer of 2004 as part of a festival tour before it was released on DVD as Cowboy Bebop - The Film .

In Japan there was also a 27-minute special called Session XX - Collection Blues . In this special, the crew members talk about various trivial things, for example about the food, while the appropriate excerpts from the series are shown.

On April 26, 2007, a cowboy bebop DVD box with all episodes on nine DVDs was released in France. In November 2007, the box was released as a German version limited to 2000 pieces.



The series was produced by Hajime Yatate , a collective pseudonym for the members of Sunrise , the animation studio who also developed Mobile Suit Gundam , Big O , Outlaw Star and Vision of Escaflowne . The direction was Shin'ichirō Watanabe , who also worked on Macross Plus and A Detective Story and Kid's Story of the Animatrix . His last project was Samurai Champloo , again a 26-part anime series. The animation was done by Studio BONES, a studio with many former employees of the animation studio Sunrise, which completed one of its first projects with Cowboy Bebop.

Actual filming

On January 15, 2009 it was announced that the American film studio 20th Century Fox and Sunrise were working on a real film of the series. The main role of Spike Spiegel is played by Keanu Reeves . The release was originally planned for 2011, but difficulties with the budget of the film delayed the start of shooting. In 2014, Keanu Reeves announced on reddit that the production is still in question, especially since he is now too old to play the role of Spike Spiegel. In the meantime, instead of a feature film, a live series on Cowboy Bebop is in the works, which will be released on Netflix .


Cowboy Bebop draws on a variety of different influences - mostly from American culture, including kung fu , gangster and western films and jazz music in the style of the Harlem nightclubs of the 1940s .

Spike's own martial arts copy the style of Bruce Lee . There are other subtle references to Bruce Lee and his films, including the name of a person in the second episode with a bounty being Abdul Hakim , borrowed from the Bruce Lee film My Last Fight , Where the NBA Legend was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played a role named Hakim.

Many individual stories and typical film implementations in Cowboy Bebop contain borrowings from various films, including 2001: A Space Odyssey , The Crow , Alien , Star Trek and Dirty Harry .

Other influences are reflected in the music of Cowboy Bebop, this is particularly evident in the episode titles, each of which bears the name of a well-known song title, including Honky Tonk Woman , Sympathy for the Devil , Bohemian Rhapsody , My Funny Valentine , Speak Like a Child , Wild Horses , Hard Luck Woman and The Real Folk Blues . The subtitle of the film, Knockin 'on Heaven's Door , also quotes a song title.


  • The fictional currency in the series is Woolong (symbol: ). A Woolong has roughly the same value as a Japanese yen .
  • Bebop, the name of the spaceship, is derived from the music genre bebop , which replaced swing as the main genre in jazz in the early 1940s and thus formed the origin of modern jazz .
  • The opening credits of the episodes are the same with two exceptions. In episode 1 ( Asteroid Blues ) there is a prologue from Spike's past before the opening sequence , which only becomes understandable during the course of the series. In episode 26 ( The Real Folk Blues, Part 2 ) the music-backed opening credits are completely missing. The episode begins with a tablet with the title of the series.
  • The end credits of the series are also the same with two exceptions: a collage of black and white images of Spike Spiegel's past is accompanied by the song “The Real Folk Blues” , sung by Mai Yamane . In episode 13 ( Jupiter Jazz, Part 2 ) the end credits run over a long animation sequence, accompanied by the song "Space Lion" by The Seatbelts . In episode 26 ( The Real Folk Blues, Part 2 ) the credits for the song “Blue” by The Seatbelts feat. Mai Yamane also over a long animated sequence.
  • Almost all episodes end with a fade-in, which in most cases reads "See You Space Cowboy ..." . However, in some cases and in Cowboy Bebop - the film deviates from that. Only the episode Brain Scratch has no fade-in at all.
  • The film is located between episodes 22 and 23. Because Faye, Ed and Ein are still part of the team. Cowboy Andy (from episode 22, Cowboy Funk ) can also be seen in a scene. The show Big Shot has not yet been issued. And the 3 old men who appear as running gags in various episodes are still complete. One of them was already dead in episode 23 ( Brain Scratch ).
  • The episodes are not titled as such in Cowboy Bebop. The term used in the series at the beginning of each episode is session . The only exception are the previews - these are titled as Coming Episode .
  • In episode 11 ( Toys in the Attic / The Galactic Killer Beast ), Spike goes on board the Bebop in search of an "alien" who seemed to have escaped from an old refrigerator in the Bebop's hold. The detector Spike uses to search has the same display as the detectors the Marines used in the Alien films with Sigourney Weaver .

Web links

Commons : Cowboy Bebop  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Cowboy Bebop. In: German dubbing file , accessed on May 18, 2019 .
  3. Announcement of the real version on Anime News Network
  4. Announcement of the publication date ( Memento of May 19, 2009 in the Internet Archive ), Zimbio, December 22, 2008.
  6. Netflix strikes again: Real series on cult anime finds perfect home . In: . November 28, 2018 ( [accessed November 28, 2018]).