Cowboy Bebop: The Movie

The year is 2017, and the world of the mega-popular anime Cowboy Bebop explodes onto the big screen with the aptly titled Cowboy Bebop: The Movie. It's great for fans that want to see more of the four favorite bounty hunters in action, but will probably not be of much interest to anybody else. The main issue is that while it looks great, the story is both slim and a little too convoluted to make it worth the effort to pay attention for nearly two hours. The movie follows the exploits of four bounty hunters (or 'cowboys') as they try to save the world from a killer virus.

It all starts when Faye (voiced by Wendee Lee, Twice as Dead, The Bouncer) fails to bring in what should be an easy bounty. She is after somebody who stole a truck, but when she nears the vehicle, a different man leaves the truck, then it explodes. The man promptly disappears. With over 500 people dead, the government offers a huge reward, which promptly convinces the bounty hunters to locate the responsible parties. Faye, Spike (voiced by David Lucas, Real Bout High School, The Bouncer), Jet (voiced by Beau Billingslea, My Favorite Martian, Final Voyage), and Ed (voiced by Melissa Charles, Legend of Black Heaven, Ah! My Goddess! The Movie) all begin in earnest (and greed) to figure out what is happening. It all has to do with nano machines, designed by Vincent Volaju (voiced by Daran Norris, The Mark of Kiri, In the Bedroom). But keep in mind that Jet and Ed barely appear, and seem to be there to appease the established fans

It takes an awful long time for director Shinichiro Watanabe (Macross Plus) and writers Marc Handler (Metropolis, Tenchi Forever) , Keiko Nobumoto (Macross Plus), and Hajime Yatate to get the story where they want it. There is the typical cheesy humor, thanks to the Ed character, and the typical complex script. It doesn't work here because there is not much foundation for the script to rely upon. The bounty hunters are looking for somebody and the world is at stake, but things move too slowly and seem to happen at random. Worse, is that when the story slows down, the script begins to philosophize, which becomes truly agonizing. All of a sudden, things begin happening much too quickly, and Cowboy Bebop zooms along to its conclusion.

The animation is pretty typical for its genre. It is fairly detailed, but nothing spectacular, and American detractors still complain that it's not as fluid as American animation (so what?) It's pretty disappointing, given that every person involved with the American adaptation has extensive experience with anime, from adapting to dubbing. Which again brings us to dubbing. Although dubbed anime seems to take much more care with translating story and looking natural, NO DUBBING would be even greater.

Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 56 minutes, Rated R for some violent images.

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