Cowboy Bebop Blu-ray Box Set Review

Though released multiple times on disc, Cowboy Bebop gets a new release on Blu-ray, with a new transfer, mix and features.

This show is… something else. Easily in my top 5 TV shows of all time, it’s a magical blend of action, story, characters, setting, and music.

Oh the music. The music is why you should buy this.

Just listen to that intro. Yoko Kanno is a musical genius, able to write convincingly in seemingly any musical genre. Without her, CB would have been a good, but not great, anime.

Music is so integral with this show. Episode names call out musical genres and occasionally song titles.

Even within episodes, writing on walls or items will reference music.

It’s a master class in tone, Kanno’s score brilliantly augmenting the emotions of the story.

Here, listen to one of my favorite pieces of music ever recorded. Let it play out, it changes mid-way through.

If you’ve never seen it, Cowboy Bebop is the story of underpaid bounty hunters, always aiming to do the right thing, and often failing into poverty. Each character has a rich back story (even the dog, Ein), and how they interact and care about each other is yet another of the show’s strengths.

The transfer itself is very good, though don’t expect miracles. Bebop is hand-drawn animation (with some CG) from 1998. So it’s SD, but it’s really solid looking SD. Pretty clean, rich colors, and so on. Mercifully, it’s in the original aspect ratio (4x3). Some shots are a little softer than others, but even on my 102-inch screen, the image was the best I’ve seen it (though admittedly my memory of CB is on highly compressed on cable, which looked horrid).

The audio sounds excellent too, with lots in the surround channels, and a clean mix of the dialog and music.

If you have the DVD box set with the 5.1 surround from a few years ago, you probably don’t need to upgrade (though I wasn’t able to directly compare them).

If you haven’t seen it in years, haven’t seen it at all, or don’t have it on disc, this is an excellent use of $42.

Twenty-six episodes (and a movie) are hardly enough, but when they’re this good, it’s almost OK.

K.Reid's picture

Glad to see Japanese anime getting some attention. By the way look into Gundam 00 and Gundam 00 Awakening of a Trailblazer. Love the story and awesome visuals.

MatthewWeflen's picture

Got it for x-mas, and have enjoyed it, but I was really bummed to see that there are no subtitles for the English dub. Why in heaven's name would you restrict subtitles to only the Japanese dub? They're ON THE DISC already.