If you have read my latest Natsume Book of Friends review you’ll know I often have issues with second episodes of anime. These are usually exposition dumps that have very little interesting stuff to tell in favor of fleshing out the world. Cowboy Bebop takes a bit of a different approach and I like it! It isn’t a flawless second episode but we got no exposition dump here.. instead we get Corgis.
Spike and Jet travel to Mars where a new bounty rests on the man named Abdul Hakim! Using Bounty Hunter TV we discover the universe knows roughly 300.000 Bounty Hunters and an 8 Million bounty is sure to attract some attention right?! Hakim allegedly stole a precious lab-animal. Spike decides to go to shady pet-shops to track the man when he eventually wants to unload the precious pet. Spike quickly slips up however when Hakim seems to have used a proxy to make the sale. Seeing a “worthless” Corgi sitting in a box the petshop owner with a turtle on her head values it at just 200k which apparently in this world is nothing… maybe it’s even just 200.. I am not sure how much the currency of this world is worth and heck it might even be called K… *Checks around if she accidentally summoned a movie blogger*
Hakim walks into the store and tries to take the dog back.. but Chaos ensues.. the dog escape and Spike pursues Hakin.. eventually the dog Jumps of a bridge onto a boat and when Spike leaps in to pursue.. the dog latches onto his face causing him to miss the jump and the dog escapes from Hakim. Jet and Spike don’t care much for worthless Corgis so they use the dog as bait.. only to lose it to some scientist who made a super sonic dog whistle van.. as all dogs in town chase the car, Hakim steals a car and Spike goes in pursuit with his airship. The scientist snare up all the other dogs but the Corgi escapes, it seems super smart..almost like a person.. it can not escape Hakim however.. who basically Chloroforms it with an Aerosol (And I know Chloroform doesn’t actually work like that.. but it’s a detective novel/film noir trope,, that I think fits the setting) The scientist start using guns on Hakim and Spike.. who tries to use his landing gear to bash the roof of Hakim’s car open. This makes the Corgi wake up who jumps on the wheel.. pushes some buttons and then falls out the window once Hakim’s car gets harpooned by the dog whistle van. Spike chooses to save the dog and forsake his bounty. Hakim turns himself in.. and Spike gets himself a genetically engineered super smart Corgi…even though he dislikes dogs.
For those who have followed me for a while and actually read what I write, you probably know I love randomness. It’s a big elementi I try to incorporate in my life as much as I can… so when I see what i believed to be a dark Space Western with some dandy elements ..be all about chasing a Corgi I was amazed. It felt so random and nothing like a second episode normally is. We get no long tales of Spike’s tragic past, we get no flashback to how he and yet met.. no we get a guy who goes and tries to earn some money and ends up with hyper intelligent Corgi instead. I love it! The weird pet shop lady, calling all the animals her babies but looking like a heavy smoker and boozer felt almost out of place.. but also not.. THere is a turtle on her head that nobody questions.. which is kinda amazing and seeing a Corgi do that classic bridge leap to land on some canvas instead of the human characters?! I certainly haven’t seen that before! This episode was entertaining with a capital E.. Maybe a capital N as well.
The character designs were amazing as well. Abdul had so much flavour, the Petshop lady even more.. even the random mook who had to sell the Corgi had this design element to him.. kind of looking like a young Leorio from Hunter X Hunter. Last week I complained that the grunts looked a bit like “video game mooks” which instantly told you how easy they would be to deal with. This week we have some new grunts but there is a sense of design in them, unique hairstyles different body types even a bit of personalities.. as a result you can push them way further and get a much more interesting chase in the end. I also love the design elements in Mars so far.. taking a more Chinese like approach in design it feels a bit like Macao City… the Chinese Vegas but more seedy and filled with underhand deals and earlier .. opium trade and the likes. It is also established as such.. on Mars “Everything” is for Sale. Under the counter shops are everywhere , and people don’t take kindly to you asking questions.. unless you show you are a cool guy. I like that money isn’t the only rule here.. Spike adresses an arms dealer based on his passions and it works, it lifts these characters from cartoon characters in a stereotypical town to something a bit more real.
I really enjoyed this episode but it also does feel a bit sloppy at times, because of how weird the plot is. The Corgi can bend his shape to operate a steering wheel but can also latch onto a face and for whatever reason Spike and Jet have a dog collar in it’s size on board..while they don’t really seem to like dogs. Jet seems to be fine with him.. but he calls the Corgi a Mutt anyway. When it hopped onto the steering wheel it kinda felt to “liquid” also Hakim not yanking it off his steering wheel feels off! If I was driving a car.. and Arceus have mercy on the soul who is in the car with me, I would not allow a dog to make me crash let alone push it several buttons on the wield why I just quietly tell it “stop it”. I would punch the dog of my steering wheel.. and No that doesn’t make me cruel I am driving on a bridge while being shot at that just makes me sensible.. and sometimes this episode misses that sensibility making the characters cartoony… it’s very entertaining but it isn’t “ engaging”.
I am willing to believe this dog is hyper intelligent.. I just don’t think ti can change size… To make this episode a bit more powerful I would have at least liked to see Spike and the dog bond a bit… I am pretty sure they are going to keep it..but now it staying on Bebop feels kinda un-earned.. I would have loved a brief scene where the dog found Spike a half eaten Peking Duck in one of those take away boxes that he could finish.. or stealing him some actually food out of a restaurant.. heck even a look would have been fine! Just something that makes Spike want to save the dog when it falls out of the car later on..That is not really a negative though ..but more of a suggested approvement.
I really liked this episode a lot LOT more than the first one, and that already was great.. yet I have to give this episode the same grade. This episode is a lot muddier than the first one and a bit more clownish. It is really something I want to see in this series.. the ability to have fun with itself but I can not escape that feeling that there is a lot of rickety parts either. It’s kind like comparing A Tardis with Bell and Teds Payphone time machine. I’d probably have more fun with Bill and Ted but if you ask me which is the better time machine it will be the Tardis. The payphone is a bit of a joke so it lacks that same wow factor and I think that is a good summary of those episode as well.
I loved this episode and I am super excited to see if they will keep the dog and name the dog. I am super curious to see if the dog will live and heck.. I am also super curious to what other worlds are out there.. what else Mars has to offer and what is in store for the crew of the Bebop. This is quickly turning out to be one of those cases that Science Fiction really works out for me and Mari pointed me out why. One of the few sci-fi shows I really like is drawing HEAVY influences from Bebop to a point where I now feel that Firefly really copied HARD. The way these characters are, the banter, the level or airiness and the whole Cowboy/Space world building it clearly was a love letter to this. So seeing a prequel to one of the greatest Sci-Fi shows ever seems to become quite an enjoyable ride.. but who knows.. which of these two will be my favourite Sci-Fi Serial in the end?!