Iím fairly convinced this entire episode is an extended dream sequence.
A mysterious monster has invaded the Bebop and is taking each crew member out one by one. Who or what could possibly be behind such a nefarious attack on the ship?
Dunno actually, but itís like watching The Thing so thereís that.
Kill it with fire and send it to Hell is what I say, but who knows? It might go well with bread.
Jupiter Jazz (Part 1)
When you go into a relationship, platonic or romantic, familial or intimate, there is fear. Sharing your life with another is always frightening and sometimes that fear is what ultimately leads to disintegration. Always the What Ifs rather than actions that create vulnerability and running away becomes a much more appealing option day after day.
Understandable really. The crew of the Bebop resembles a family more and more each episode and if thereís any habit of lonely people itís that they usually enjoy being alone.
But what is it they say about trials? That a test of endurance usually strengthens? I donít really know.
When you meet someone you love more than life itself you become chained. No one in that relationship wants the chain to break but if somehow it shatters than they will do whatever it takes to reconnect with their lost partner.
Spike is looking for his missing half.
I wonder if itís his past that forces him to look for Julia or is it because he wants her to be there in his future. Regardless of the circumstances, I think itís safe to say that itís hard to comprehend a man or woman in pursuit of something no one understands.
Jupiter Jazz (Part 2)
I once read a book with a character who was a woman but with the mind of a man who is gay.
Now Iím not bringing that up to make assumptions on the sexual orientation of any major characters in these two episode, but it relates easily to my main point about identity. Namely, who or what factors decide such ideals of identity in life? Is it gender? Is it innate? External rulings? Regardless of any force of civilization that sets standards that dictate anything, the choice of identity, of who you want to be ultimately rests with you. Sadly itís presumably easier to follow along with the pact.
After all, the realization that individuality exists simply opens the door to a new question of ďHow do I create my own identity?Ē and thatís where the true problem lies.
Do you forge yourself through your experiences? Do you mix and match? Iíd like to think it is a natural progression. Like adding layers to a base thatís so inborn that nothing you do can change that core.
But I digress from the episode.
The collective Jupiter Jazz parts 1 and 2 is another beloved, plot heavy inclusion into the Cowboy Bebop storyline that asks a lot of questions while at the same time provokes some thought. Great action, plot twists, and beautiful scenery art makes these two something worth appreciating. Jet also gets some useful characterization as a man whoís really grown fond of his new family and is scared of losing this rag tag group of misfits that somehow become a close knit group of kindred spirits.
Oh and questions of the opening monologue:
ď What warrior is it?Ē
ďA lost soul who has finished his battles somewhere on this planet. A pitiful soul who could not find his way to the lofty realm where the great spirit awaits us all.Ē
Perhaps it means that a warrior, a person who fights for survival, has finally finished the battle of life only to realize that struggling against the great tide of life leaves nothing but a weakened corpse, yet the interesting thing is the entire series is full of characters fighting for so many thingsÖMaybe it just means that Heaven is beyond the reach of anybody who keeps looking for an absolute answer.
And weíre back to something of an episode I find really hilarious in hindsight.
They always say vengeance is futile or that it doesnít solve anything. That the pain wonít disappear and the likes. But that feeling wonít be felt until after you have revenge Iím assuming. That lingering pain that doesnít disappearÖbut what if you just forget afterwards?
Would the burden of both the original trauma and the seeds of revenge both alleviate the afflicted?
Regardless thatís what happens after an old manís revenge plan decades in the making finally comes through only for him to be too senile to remember anything.
Hilarity in futility or success without appreciation? I donít really know, but like with everything here; food for thought.
My Funny Valentine
I always thought Faye Valentine was the greatest female character of all time. Sexy, yet in control, a femme fatale that doesnít lose sight of either her goals or her femininity. While a weaker female character would lose sight of one or the other in the process of being the showís lead female, Faye Valentine pulls her weight as a character completely free of the rest of the cast. When she has adventures she simply takes off and leaves and when sheís in trouble she tries to solve them herself. In fact, all the characters act independently of one another.
My Funny Valentine is part of a spread out origin story for our main heroine. Glimpses of her past as well as the basic story of her origins are mapped out in this episode and for the most part shows a pre life of crime Faye which is not only adorable, but pitiable and vulnerable. They just donít make female heroines like they used to.
My favorite episode in the entirety of Cowboy Bebop is a Faye centric episode so thereís that.
Black Dog Serenade
I still maintain that Jet is still the least characterized member of the Bebop and his moments of brilliance always shine when heís interacting with others and rarely appears in Jet centric episodes. I get what theyíre trying to do with character, a burnt out detective who would go on to emulate the noire private investigator complete and yet throughout the show Iíve always felt that all you saw was what Jet resembled rather than what he wasÖand then it hit me.
Jetís a pushover with Spike, heís the one who cares the most for the little family that formed aboard the Bebop (and thatís saying a lot because I like to think they all love each other deeply). He used to be a hardened detective but heís softer now and maybe thatís the point. Age doesnít make you more badass it just simply makes you wiser, kinder. Jet is arguably the wisest member of the crew, heís the one who isnít necessarily searching for anything (unlike the rest of the crew) and even if he was the noire detective Black Dog of the police force, heís now a big softy and I think Iíd have that over the brutish burnt out old dog any day.
This episode though really does rely on the noir elements heavily. Black and white, fedoras, intrigue and betrayal and a damn manly ending that I have to admit filled me with some form of happiness. If you want a cool episode centered around Jet Black then this is the one.
Oh Jesus Mushroom Samba. The alternative manís favorite episode.
Okay, let me paint a picture for you. 70ís blacksploitation, funky soul music, Ed saves the day while the crew are each 1.) swimming in a toilet 2.) Walking up stairs for the entire episode 3.) discussing the meaning of life with inanimate objects.
You think you know Bebop? Watch this and perhaps you too will learn to live a little.
Speak Like a Child
When we grow up I think we forget how optimistic we were as children.
Even the difference between ages 4 and 7, 7 and 13, 13 and 18, 24 and 30 there are significant changes in personality and mentality that I think is overlooked commonly.
Like as children the concept of future was more of excitement than fear. The idea that there's a tomorrow was so instinctively joyful that it would be hard to imagine there were people who dreaded the next day so much they might jump off a building. Food for thought.
If you lived in the 90ís this episode is really meta as the search for the elusive betamax is what carries our heroes across the ruins of Earth. I donít really have a philosophical musing for this episode because everything I hinted about aging, childhood innocence, and even nostalgia are all tackled brilliantly in this episode and I love it.