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So, the second episode of the live action Cowboy Bebop draws inspiration from episode 22 Cowboy Funk, but reimagines it substantially into more of a character piece for the relationship between Jet and Spike.

Faye doesn’t appear in this episode.

What’s interesting here is what the episode is saying about the live action adaptation. Where Cowboy Gospel is there to reassure fans that, yes, this is Cowboy Bebop[1], Venus Pop is meant to establish this as its own show[2].

There’s also a stronger sense that this show will be focusing more heavily on the Vicious/Julia storyline overall. That makes a certain amount of sense – at 10 episodes this is a much shorter series, and it simply doesn’t have time for the almost slice of (bounty hunting) life episodes[3] that made up the bulk of the anime.

Let’s face it, the Vicious storyline made up only about 5 episodes of the original 26 episode run of the anime, and using all of those episodes in the season 1 run would probably make up half or more of the series.

I’m going to speculate that some of these changes are due to the rise of the story arc in western television. Whilst this was always a thing in anime, to an extent the original Cowboy Bebop was a much more episodic affair. I do wonder if there was significant influence from the structure of Dirty Pair on that of the original Cowboy Bebop[4].

In terms of the episode itself, I think it does what it set out to: we get a better look at Spike’s past, and there’s hints that he’ll open up about that to Jet soon(ish). Vicious is, well, vicious. Ana’s place is interesting, and will probably recur to a greater extent in this version than in the original.

I enjoyed it, I’m looking forward to more.

Question of the Post: What were your thoughts on this episode?

NB: As with the last post[5], no spoilers for future episodes please. I’m taking my time with this.

[1] Something that Cowboy Gospel does very effectively – see previous review.

[2] Even as it also introduces  familiar elements like the Big Shot show for Bounty Hunters with Punch and Judy.

[3] Not to mention the Ed focused episodes. Which tended to be… interesting. 🙂

[4] Both were products of Sunrise, and it’s worth remembering that chronologically Cowboy Bebop is closer to Dirty Pair than it is to the present day.

[5] But hey, two blog posts in two days. Woo hoo!