It may be over ten years old now, but Cowboy Bebop is still an excellent example of modern soft sci-fi. Yet, the series doesn’t get much attention in “traditional” sci-fi circles because of its medium.
Cowboy Bebop is a hardline staple of anime culture, and has long been recognized as one of the greatest anime series in history, having a dramatic effect on all series in the medium which have come after.
Unlike some anime sci-fi, the plot is recognizable to American audiences: An old-west-style bounty hunter in space deals with a series of difficult cases punctuated by periods of bad luck, and low funds.
There is a slinky blonde from the bounty hunter’s past, and a dog with a partly robotic brain.
The bounty hunter’s ties with gangsters on Mars comes back to haunt him, and ultimately lead him down an ever-darker path.
Interspersed with genuinely humorous moments, and ingenious looks at our space bound future, the serialized space western delivers one of the most dramatic and moving stories in any medium.
Of course, space battles, robots, aliens, time warps, and futuristic drug cartels don’t hurt in making the story most entertaining.
It’s also easy to appreciate the serial nature of the story.
It has a clear beginning, middle, and end, something that American produced television series almost always lack, instead striving to extend a premise indefinitely.
If you’re not already familiar with the series, I urge you to give at least the first disc (5 20-minute episodes) a look.
I’m confident that anyone who enjoys good Science-fiction will find something to like in the animated tale.