YMMV / Cowboy Bebop

  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Spike/Faye, at least some people think so. Their exchange (and her subsequent reaction) before he heads off to his final fight in the last episode just hammers it home.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • In The Movie, when all the classic war planes are taking off one of the planes is piloted by the three old guys. As they're taking off one of them asks the others where they're going and gets the (incorrect) response that they're "going to sink the Bismarck". The plane they are flying in is the same model of plane that delivered the crippling torpedo shot to the Bismarck. In a further bonus the name of that model of plane is Swordfish.
    • All the written Chinese (no, it's not Japanese, despite the origin of the show) and other languages.
    • The chess game between Ed and the Chessmaster.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: While it's still respected in Japan, this series is one of the most beloved anime in Europe and especially America. This is partially because it uses so many American action-movie and Western tropes that at times it seems like it was made for a Western audience.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The episode "Wild Horses" has the space shuttle Columbia, now a long-disused antique, being brought out for one last mission.. Cartoon Network actually pulled this one off the air for a while after the Columbia was destroyed during re-entry. Even worse, the episode mentions the shuttle's heat-resistant tiles being damaged, which is what caused the real Columbia to be destroyed.
    • Cartoon Network also pulled "Cowboy Funk" from its first run in September 2001 for its depiction of a pair of identical skyscrapers being destroyed by a terrorist.
      • As was "Waltz for Venus" for the opening scene of terrorists taking over a commercial airliner.
    • In "Jamming With Edward", Jet making fun of Faye's age provides some really depressing Foreshadowing.
    • The Movie didn't get an American release in theaters until two years later due to its terrorism theme and that the movie made its run in Japanese theaters just days before 9/11.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Back in the early 2000s, some advertisements mistakenly stated that Cowboy Bebop was a part of Toonami, which was still airing on Cartoon Network at the time. Fast forward to 2012, when Toonami is revived and now airs during [adult swim] hours. Cowboy Bebop finally makes its debut on Toonami, albeit as a holdover from [adult swim] Action.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Gren admits to Faye that "women aren't [his] style," and much of his interaction with Vicious could be read as jilted former lovers. At the very least, it's very much in Vicious' character to be aware of Gren's affections and manipulating him through them.
    • Ed rubbing her head against Faye's thigh in "Ganymede Elegy". Also, Faye's constant glancing at Julia in "The Real Folk Blues".
  • Hype Backlash: It it one of the most highly acclaimed series in the west, and has a reputation for being enjoyed even by people who don't normally care for anime. Inevitably, some people will watch it and wonder what the big deal is.
  • I Am Not Shazam: No character is actually named "Cowboy Bebop". "Cowboy" is an in-universe slang term for bounty hunters, and the ship used by the main group of hunters is named the Bebop. See also Cowboy BeBop at His Computer.
    • It also doesn't help considering names are rarely spoken.
    • Many people confuse the name of the villain Mad Pierrot with the episode in which he appears ("Pierrot Le Fou"). Though since he appeared in one only episode, where his name is rarely mentioned, it's understandable. Particularly since "Pierrot le Fou" means "Mad Pierrot" in French...
    • Even the back cover of the DVDs makes this mistake: "A new generation of outlaws came into being. People referred to them as Cowboy Bebops."
  • It Was His Sled: Those to whom the ending isn't spoiled are a rare breed.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • It's impossible not to feel bad for Tongpu when he cries for his mother after Spike throws a knife into his leg.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • SEE YOU SPACE COWBOY...
    • SPIKE DIES.
    • DYKE SPIES
    • Related to the spoiler above and much more common nowadays: "Bang", or "You're gonna carry that weight."
    • Generally, within three posts of SPIKE DIES there will be a MAYBE
    • "Don't talk to me or my son ever again". Explanation 
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Whenever Edward giggles or chants in the dub.
  • Narm:
    • Spike's arch-enemy and former ally goes by the name of Vicious.
    • The ending of the episode "Pierrot le Fou". Let's just say the sight of a grown man squirming on the ground crying out for his mommy just before being stepped on by a big goofy dog thing doesn't exactly help his previously established image as a stone-cold assassin who is Immune to Bullets and kills for the love of killing.
  • Narm Charm:
  • Nausea Fuel: In the third episode, Spike's response to Jet pointing out a "No Smoking" sign is to swallow his cigarette.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Mad Pierrot was a Villain Of The Week who only appeared in one episode, but being made of pure Nightmare Fuel made him one of the most memorable characters in the series.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: While this series is still among the pantheon of Anime Classics, some minor aspects are not perceived as innovative as they once were.
    • The Superlative Dubbing by the producers of the English Language version is something this series has been praised for. However, given that the quality of dubbing in Anime has (generally) improved since 2000, though some people may disagree, this is a less than top selling point nowadays.
      • The group behind the Bebop dub went on to localize Wolf's Rain and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, both of which are arguably better than Bebop on a pure technical level. Yet it's the early work that gets more praise, (not that GITS:SAC necessarily lacks it).
    • The character of Spike Spiegel, while still an indisputably popular character in anime for his badassery and cool attitude, ends up coming across like a clone of countless other generic cool guys that are a dime a dozen in anime that followed.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Julia getting shot, then falling to the ground in excruciating slow-mo is one of the most iconic moments in all of anime, not to mention a major Tear Jerker.
    • Spike's final moments on the stairs at the end of the series.
    • Spike's fall from the cathedral to the music of "Green Bird" during Ballad of Fallen Angels.
  • Superlative Dubbing:
    • One of the most well-known examples. In fact, the series is very often used as THE example of what an English dub can/should be. For original-language purists in the Anglosphere, it's often the ONLY exception to their Japanese-only rule.
    • The Mexican Spanish dub is not a slouch in this department either, despite having some not-too-serious translation mistakes.
    • Cowboy Bebop is one of the most consistently well dubbed animes of all time. Other famous good dubs of this anime are, among others, the Western European languages: European Spanish, French, German and Italian.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: When the back story of Tongpu is revealed, minimalist synthesizer music with a marked similarity to "On the Run" by Pink Floyd can be heard in the background.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: This series is held in such a high regard that the simple announcement of a live action movie in the works has cries of this. Well, there's another reason, too...
  • Too Good to Last: Shooting Star, the first manga spinoff. It was meant to run for a year but got cancelled after just ten installments. Due to its being made while the anime was still airing, it had an almost completely different continuity, which may have been the deciding blow against it. Yet, many reviewers in the West considered Shooting Star superior to the second manga spinoff (this one simply named after, and hewing much closer to, the show) due to its lively artwork and interesting, though abortive, story arc.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • In addition to several characters in-universe, many viewers initially assumed Ed was a boy.
    • VT from Heavy Metal Queen also has a very masculine appearance and a deep voice which can cause some initial confusion.
  • The Woobie: Everyone and their dog, really. Spike's a seemingly happy go lucky thrill-seeker that couldn't care less about his safety, using the adrenaline rush to mask his suicidal and apathetic outlook, still running from a dark past he refuses to acknowledge. Jet's a cynical cop that's haunted by his failures to protect his love and stay an honorable man in a police force gone corrupt, believing the world has no place for him, vainly attempting to project a wiser image of himself to his few friends. Faye's a Fish out of Temporal Water forced into an unfamiliar world with amnesia, feeling she cannot belong to a past with a home and family she cannot remember nor the present with people that have only betrayed her. The only exception is Ed, who seems cheerfully oblivious to everything around her, having fun in her own little world where she skips to her own beat, speaking in silly rhymes in a singsong voice without a care in the world. Not even learning she's an orphan with a father that abandoned her seems to slow her down much, though her last scene in the series suggests otherwise.
    • As for the not-main cast, Gren takes the cake. Despite fighting alongside Vicious and considering him a close comrade, Vicious leaves him on an alien planet and frames him for a major crime that Gren didn't commit. To say that this shattered his faith in making friends is putting it lightly.

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