In my very last review, I was just talking about how difficult it would be for me to determine who I thought was the greatest movie director of all time (or really for that matter, what film I think is the best film ever made). If you were to ask me what I thought the single greatest TV show ever made was though, that answer would be easy. It would be HBO’s The Wire. There aren’t any TV shows (or other pieces of fiction period) that compare to how simply fantastic that masterpiece is. My choice for the greatest anime of all time is pretty easy too, and it goes to 90’s classic and Adult Swim staple, Cowboy Bebop. It’s part space western, part film noir, part yakuza story, and 100% fun.

Cowboy Bebop is the story of Spike Spiegel, a “Cowboy” which is the show’s term for a bounty hunter. The show is set in the distant future where interplanetary travel has become a possibility thanks to “gates”. Spike serves on the Bebop, along side Jet Black, an ex-cop who is the even-headed thinker to Spike’s think-on-your-feet antics. While there is no denying that Spike is a veritable bad-ass and quite a capable martial-artist, let’s just say that he’s not the most successful bounty hunter on the planet, and his missions are very rarely successful. This rag-tag crew eventually grows to encompass Faye Valentine, a gorgeous con-woman who much like Gurren Lagann‘s Yoko is built of pure fan-service, Ein, a genetically enhanced dog of extraordinary intelligence, and Ed, the solar system’s greatest hacker despite being a 13 year old girl and who is also bat-shit insane and a cloud cuckoo lander of the highest order.

This show really has everything. I’ve seen it before, but in these first five episodes alone, you got humor, action, noir, western, space opera. The fifth episode itself is pretty much one of the single greatest episodes of anime that I’ve ever seen. You also can’t forget that this show has the best anime opening theme ever and one of the greatest TV theme songs ever period. I never fast-forward past the opening theme. Hell, the closing theme itself is pretty damn good too. This is one of the best scored TV shows you’re going to watch. It’s score is very jazz-oriented and consistently amazing. Also, I’ve watched this in Japanese and English and in terms of voice acting quality, they’re actually equal. It’s the only anime I can say that about. And actually, Steve Blum is a superior Spike than the Japanese equivalent. His performance is a master class in fine voice acting.

Simply put, this is just one of those anime shows that deserves every bit of recognition and accolades that it gets. A lot of the most popular anime (Dragonball Z, Naruto, Bleach) are super over-rated and not that great. However, there’s a reason why this is one of the most beloved anime of all time. This is actually one of the only anime that I can easily recommend to those people who don’t even like anime because of its mature story-telling, engaging characters, and tightly-woven plots. So, if you’ve somehow been living under a rock for the last 15 years and still haven’t gotten around to this all-time classic, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t go out and watch this right now.

Score in Progress: A+

 

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