Konichi…Wooohooo! This was such an awesome episode of anime to experience! After knowing more or less nothing of this show before.. This was the first episode I truly had expectations off… I wanted to see something with gambling, seedy crime ..smuggling stuff! The underbelly stuff of Mars that we established in the last episode.. Okay so we weren’t totally on Mars but it was darn close.. I got so much of what I asked and I got so much more in the third episode of Cowboy Bebop.
We do begin our adventure in the streets of Mars.. at least I think it mars.. it looks like Macau with all the chinese lettering and I feel that’s what they were going for with Mars, plus the planet is red. So yes.. A woman is heading into a herbal store.. just to find herself being attacked by goons.. But this is not an ordinary woman. She comes prepared.. she takes out a machine gun and shoots at the shadowy figures outside the store.. teaching the friendly store keeper a lesson in violence. In response.. The henchmen shoot up the guys store with a gatling gun and the woman finds herself captured. She gets taken as a space variant of a cruise ship that has this rotating roulette wheel as an engine thingy.. lot’s of spaceships have these spinny things…but this one is a roulette table.. It feels so campy but just the right amount. On that ship is a Mafia boss who calls the girl Poker Alice who is allegedly over 200 years old. Is she an android?! Why am I so obsessed with Robots lately! .. Regardless she allegedly has a huge gambling debt which she can pay with one job.. it just happens that Spike stumbles upon that job
Spike and Jet are having a nice relaxing night out.. .. Jet sticks to slots .. and things mechanical while Spike’s sharp mind draws him to the Black Jack table.. the girl is the dealer of the table and uses her cheating skills to scam him.. thinking it is part of her job! A guy in an outfit like him.. and looking kind of but really not all that much the same was supposed to lose everything and hand over a final chip.. that is actually A CHIP .. that unlocks some super hacking thing. Spike catches her cheating and has some fun and walks off the table with his last chip.. Thinking she somehow blew it and wanting to repay her debt she follows him and Spike ends up bumping into the guy he is mistaken for.. they end up swapping chips in the old.. duplicate item falls on the floor sjtick. The girl chases Spike and ends up getting captured by him.. getting locked up in the bathroom.. Ein the dog .. Now the named guards her while the other two investigate the chip and discover her name is Faye Valentine.. a woman with a 6 million bounty on her head. Trying to decide whether to give her to the police or sell the chip to the crime lord type.. they end up going for the latter which obviously ends up being a trap. We get an awesome space scene.. Faye escapes and after some more epic space action we see Faye take off and Spike still having the chip. I assumed she would join the crew by the end of this episode but looks like we need more time! And I like that.
Without a shadow of a doubt in my mind, Cowboy Bebop was the best thing I watched this week! And I watched the finale of Flip Flappers so that is saying a lot. It encapsulated my love for the OLD Star Wars ( I really enjoyed the prequels but none of the sequels did it for me.. I liked Rogue One and Solo well enough) . I deeply enjoyed the atmosphere, the action, the characters and the amazing will sets and action pieces. Faye Valentine is a really interesting character, there is a mystery of her age.. her violent tendencies, at the beginning there is so much to unpack. I do feel like she will join the team but I am not sure yet.. but I think I saw a shadow of her ship in that funky little intro! She kind of fills the function of a rogue of the party with stealing and sleight of hand. It works well with Spike who is the muscles of the group punching and kicking his enemies. She seems more heavy range based. So I already like the sense of diversity! Ein was a good boy in this episode though it did not seem not nearly as intelligent as the last episode. Jet in a white suit looks pretty amazing.
The Zero G/ Gravity Boots fight on top of the casino spaceship was something else.. so many moving pieces are utilized. Spike throws the chip in low gravity.. uses the gravity boots to have a very different momentum, to dodge bullets, he uses the mechanics to defeat an enemy all while there is a little ship floating around that is being attacked by missiles. I really loved that action scene. I also very much enjoyed the casiono chase as well, the use of colour in that scene.. the way Faye froze when she was revealed to be a cheater.. unable to repay her debt. There’s a way the motion has been done that really sold the scene for me. The show caters HEAVILY into tropes.. and yes even for an anime that was released in 1998.. these tropes we get might be older than me.. yet for some reason it really works. For some reason I want those Film Noir tropes to happen. I also love how everything is just oddball enough.. the world is quite grim and raw.. but it is also funny and charming. The Bebop might feel cold and grey but by seeing Ein run around in it.. it’s quite cute. There are plenty of jokes that relieve the “dark” and keep things consumable for me.
I have very little negatives about this episode . and when I saw few I kind of mean none.. So it’s nitpicking time! I found the roulette wheel on the big cruise ship a bit too garish and cheap. It’s a fun effect but the way these space ships are built no one would see it.. yep .. that’s about all I have as a negative. I still really want to see more of Mars as it looks so cool.. but for now I can’t really use not seeing that as a negative either because it looks like we might see more of Mars in the next episode so yeah.. I am honestly unsure how to fill this segment. I just loved this episode that much.
Thematically Cowboy Bebop might not be my show entirely.. but there is just a way that it is presented that makes it so appealing and a delight to watch. The cyberpunk atmosphere, is normally not something Pinkie enjoys.. and I do have issues with seeing cliches be used at times.. it can make a series predictable .. as if I know the blueprint. With Cowboy Bebop it’s not the cliches that drive the plot it’s the personality of everyone and the world.. The cliches happen in the world as a reward. To strengthen that atmosphere.. let’s compare this for example to let’s say.. Sailor Moon or more so Pretty Cure.. In Pretty Cure.. we get a monster of the week and one monster does fears, the other creates strife in a group.. the cliché is the engine. Here Spike is the engine.. the cliché just makes it more enjoyable and delightful. It’s a testament of how strong the writing in this show is.
While watching this I remember a time of my live I really love, when western film making did not bore me when everything was predictable.. but in a bit of a different and more satisying way. This episode has a level of campiness that makes this show so great to me. We aren’t the only ones having fun with this.. the maker is having fun with this.. the writer is telling a tale they really want to tell.. or at least that’s how I experience what is shown in this episode. It’s not made just for us.. it’s made out of a love, a passion project. It’s just one of those episodes where goodness oozes from every pore!
I think it’s a great thing if all you have to nitpick about is thinking a certain spaceship is slightly garish! Oh! And I just thought up of a second one.. you for people who really want to burn this episode to the ground because they want to hate on it! When Ein Barks at Faye .. there is no Echo in a room that clearly should have an echo! You know that is a great reason to drop this show if you want. Oof I am really catching steam right now with finding the negatives so let me stop this review before I burn this episode to the ground… or think about Ein so much that I want a Corgi!