Anime / Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door
aka: Cowboy Bebop The Movie

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Cowboy Bebop: Knockin on Heaven's Doornote  is a 2001 anime film based off the popular show of the same name. It serves as a Interquel to the series, as the events of the film take place chronologically between episodes 22 and 23 of the show.

The Bebop crew—Spike, Jet, Faye, Ed, and Ein—are going about their usual bounty hunter business when a bomb goes off in a city on Mars. The culprit, Vincent Volaju, soon has a sizeable bounty placed on his head. The gang jumps at the chance to catch Vincent and claim the reward, but soon discover a deeper well of conspiracy and revenge that puts the fate of the city—and the lives of the Bebop crew—at stake.


Cowboy Bebop: Knockin on Heaven's Door contains the following movie-exclusive tropes:

  • Action Prologue: The movie begins on an unrelated bit with Spike and Jet trying to catch a group of low-level thugs at a convenience store.
  • All Hallows' Eve: The whole movie takes place around Halloween.
  • All Just a Dream/Or Was It: Played with that the film may or may not be just a dream: it starts with Spike falling asleep and ends with him waking up.
  • Anachronism Stew: Several scenes look like they could be set on present day Earth rather than a Mars colony in the future.
  • The Atoner: Vincent ultimately let Elektra kill him when he regains his memories to both atone for his actions and apologize to his former lover.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: "Pushing the Sky", which plays in the final battle with Vincent.
  • Battle in the Rain: Spike and Vincent's final battle qualifies.
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre: Moroccan Street is one of these.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Vincent Volaju was once a clean-shaven short-haired man, judging by the picture taken of him when he was still in the military. His Sanity Slippage caused him to grow a beard and apparently stop cutting, or even combing, his hair.
  • Big Bad: Vincent Volaju
  • Bland-Name Product: Averted; a canopy over a shop entrance clearly has "Coca-Cola" on it.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: A side-effect of the nanomachine virus causes people to see illuminated orange butterflies before death.
  • The Cameo: You can see Cowboy Andy—or "Samurai Musashi", in this case—from episode 22 of the series during the parade scene.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The movie brings in one from the series. Remember that poker chip from "Honky Tonk Woman"? In the movie, Elektra breaks one in half to scramble Spike's tracking device. Those chips can seemingly be used to hide all manner of electronics.
  • Chickification: Faye gets a bad case of this in the movie, what with her not being able catch a pudgy hacker and spending a sizeable amount of time as a captive of Vincent.
  • Climactic Elevator Ride: Spike has one before the final battle with Vincent.
  • Dub Name Change: The film was retitled Cowboy Bebop: The Movie in the U.S. because the distribution company could not secure the rights to use "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" from the estate of Bob Dylan.
  • Feel No Pain: This is apparently a side effect of the nanomachine virus, at least for Vincent. He barely registers any pain despite being punched, kicked, and even shot at one point.
  • For the Evulz: The film never really clarifies the motive for Vincent's rampage. He does what he does because, as he puts it, he feels like he is in a dream from which he can cannot awaken.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Spike suffers one before his final fight with Vincent thanks to the latter shooting the former at point blank range in an earlier fight.
  • Government Conspiracy: The Cherious Medical Pharmaceutical Company wants Vincent captured because he was a test subject for pathogen warfare and the process made him insane. The company wants him caught—or dead—to hide both how it experimented on him and how the tests led to the creation of a biological weapon.
  • Grand Finale: The film does not count as this chronologically, but given how the movie came out after the series—and the events of the series from episode 23 to the end—this is, in every way possible, the last big adventure of the Bebop crew as a whole.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: The Bebop crew prevents the nanovirus from spreading and saves the city on Mars. But no one will ever know that they saved the city, and they receive no reward for their efforts other than staying alive for another day.
  • How Much More Can He Take?: Vincent becomes one of the few people who obviously outclasses Spike in personal combat. Spike does a little better in the last battle with Vincent—at least before the virus kicks in.
  • Incredibly Conspicuous Drag: While Ed is looking for Lee, she comes across a crossdresser who has stubble and a bit too much muscle to pull off the look.
  • Interservice Rivalry: The ISSP and the Army squabble over who gets to stop Vincent's plan to spread The Plague through the water supply. His "plan", however, is a distraction from the actual plan.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: Spike does this in the middle of the movie to infiltrate Cherious Medical Pharmaceutical Comapany. Elektra sees through the disguise before he can get too far inside.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: A small envoy of military fighters intercept Spike, then launch a simple pair of missiles at him. When the missles get close to the Swordfish, however, they split into about a dozen rockets each.
  • Magic Skirt: Vincent cuts open Faye's halter top while she is tied up. The top opens up a bit, but does not fully expose her chest, and it stays in place when she wriggles around trying to free herself. Maybe she was wearing costume tape.note 
  • The Movie: Shinichiro Watanabe says the movie takes place between episodes 22 and 23 of the series. This can also be inferred from the film, as Andy appears as Musashi during the Halloween party—which means episode 22 has already happened—but "Big Shot" has not yet been cancelled, which happens in episode 23.
  • Only a Lighter: The movie features a lighter shaped like a grenade at one point.
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away:
    • One of the robbers attempts this with Spike at the start of the movie. Naturally, it fails.
    • Elektra tries this with Vincent when he has Spike pinned and at gunpoint. It fails; Spike nearly dies as a result.
  • Suicide by Cop: Vincent regains his memory at the last moment, then lets Elektra kill him to atone for his actions.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Vincent is an obvious stand-in for Vicious as an Evil Counterpart to Spike, while Elektra's relationship with Vincent—past lovers who still care about each other—is similar to Julia's relationship with Spike.
  • Titled After the Song: Averted with the movie's subtitle. This trope happens with most of the episode titles in the show, but the film does not pull this off in the English version thanks to rights issues.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Two people help Vincent with his plans throughout the film. Neither of them survive.
    Vincent: When the game's over, there is only one left


Alternative Title(s): Cowboy Bebop The Movie

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