This October will mark the 20 year anniversary of the initial run of the ill-fated Cowboy Bebop manga, Shooting Star. While it’s not very well-regarded, it does mark the official start of one of the most influential, wildly creative and important cartoons of the 90s, Cowboy Bebop.
First broadcast in 1998 in Japan and quite famously the first anime ever broadcast on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim in late 2001, Bebop is widely credited with kick-starting the anime boom of the early 2000s in America. While its enduring popularity was eventually outstripped by shows like Dragon Ball Z and Naruto, it still remains one of the single-most beloved, interesting, and beautiful shows of its time period, second only to Batman: the Animated Series and Justice League to me as far as animated shows go.
To try and describe Bebop‘s genre off-hand is incredibly difficult, but for the uninitiated, the show’s 26 episodes followed the loosely chronological adventures of the titular Bebop, a beaten-down wreck of a spaceship in 2071. The four core characters — cool ex-hitman Spike Spiegel, amnesiac gambler Faye Valentine, gruff ex-cop Jet Black and child prodigy Radical Edward, along with Ein, the Data Dog — form a loose-knit family unit that also functions as an intermittently successful crew of bounty hunters. After a space gate catastrophe nearly destroyed the Moon and almost entirely depopulated the Earth, the rest of the solar system, with major colonies on Mars, Venus and the Moons of Jupiter, descended into a state of lawlessness. In response, the Inter-Solar System Police (or ISSP) set up a legalized contract system, carried out mainly by lowlives and former criminals. The colloquial term for these hunters is “Cowboy.” So there’s part of the title.
Under the direction of Shinichiro Watanabe, the writing of Keiko Nobumoto, the art design of Toshihiro Kawamoto and Kimitoshi Yamane, and the musical stylings of legendary composer Yoko Kanno, Cowboy Bebop formed itself as a sort of space western, noir, detective show, comedy, philosophical character study, thriller. Or, as Watanabe famously coined, “a work which becomes a new genre unto itself.”
Being as there are only 26 episodes, or “Sessions” (four of which are two-parters) as the show calls them, accentuating the importance of music to the show’s style, I thought it’d be pretty easy to rank them all in ascending order of quality. I’ll dig a little deeper into the genre identifiers, resonant themes, character tropes and overall style of the show as they appear in each episode, because Cowboy Bebop is nothing if not episodic.
#24) Session 21- Boogie-Woogie Feng Shui
Faye: Definitely. Men are extremely predictable.
Let’s make something clear upfront: there’s no such thing as a *bad* episode of Cowboy Bebop. Just less essential. This particular tale is the third and final episode focused almost solely on Jet, and this is where its problems start. This isn’t to say that Jet can’t carry an episode, just that as a cynical ex-cop with a haunted past, he tends to fare much better as the classical Noir character in this show. Some elements of that transfer to this episode; the mysterious girl with a mysterious object, the faceless goons in suits chasing them through the big city (Alba City in this show tends to stand in for New York or Tokyo), even Jet’s narration are all classic noir archetypes.
The problem here, then, is a tonal one. Meifa, the daughter of Jet’s ex informant who he gets roped into helping, is hardly a femme fatale (to her credit). She’s a very strong, memorable character, but her arc just does not at all fit with the dreary, brooding tone Jet tends to bring. It’s also, unfortunately, the only episode that really feels *boring*. Jet and Meifa discover the sun stone her father, Pao, left for them about 14 minutes in. The next half of the episode is just them sort of wandering around, both on Mars and in space, until they find out what happened to him.
Part of me can’t help but wonder if the episode might have been stronger if Spike, not Jet, were the primary character. Spike’s generally the go-to for Syndicate storylines on this show, and his vague Taoism would have been a much better contrast to Meifa’s optimism than Jet’s sort of blank cynicism, and he’s a full ten years closer in age to her, which would’ve made their bond a lot more earnest (and not the subject of a bunch of really terribly conceiving prods from Faye and Spike about Jet liking young girls).
Anyway, it’s certainly not the worst episode of television I’ve ever seen, and it definitely still looks good.
#23) Session 7- Heavy Metal Queen
V.T.: When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Here’s another episode that fits perfectly into the idea of “less essential =/= bad.” One of the most endearing and interesting concepts Bebop ever tangled with is gender identity, and with one exception, no episode in the show’s run toyed with this idea more than “Heavy Metal Queen.” “Queen” is primarily the story of V.T., who stands out as a female character in an anime who is not even in the slightest sexualized or objectified. She’s simply a tough, sort of butch older woman, who enjoys her job as a space trucker and loves heavy metal music.
Her backstory, such as the reason she hates bounty hunters so much (which lets Spike both fulfill and defy the expectations she has of his profession), is satisfactorily explored, and watching her and Spike whoop on a bunch of lecherous sex predators is great fun. V.T. leaves the show feeling both like a completed story and the foundation of another show entirely. A lot of this show’s “lesser” episodes almost function as backdoor pilots for the guest characters who come into the lives of the Bebop‘s crew, cause a bunch of crazy shit to happen all of a sudden, and leave just as quickly. It paints Bebop’s universe as one filled with real people, who have pasts just as complicated as Spike’s, as mysterious as Faye’s and as melodramatic as Jet’s. Real people, with real goals and traits. What separates them from our main cast is that, for the most part, their pasts are dealt with. They get to move on.
Don’t let this low ranking overshadow the fact that I’d probably watch a show about V.T. and her trucker buddies cruising the solar system and jamming out to their Iron Maiden soundalike tunes (a great example of this show becoming the guest character’s show for a bit in how the music generally changes to suit their character).
#22) Session 4- Gateway Shuffle
Faye: You know what they say, cowboy. Easy come, easy go.
Being honest, I only put this episode — technically the second part of Faye’s introductory arc — this low because I just can’t think of very much to talk about with it. As I’ve said, pretty much every episode of this show has a guest character of some sort. And while a lot of people seem to really like the Space Warriors, I’ve just never really found them appealing. Eco-activists who turn out to actually be hypocrites and terrorists is a well-worn trope, and while I’d never say this show is above such usage (in fact, it’s sort of based on that sort of thing), it paints the Warriors, and especially their leader, Twinkle Murdock, with a broader brush than Bebop usually employs.
Look at it this way: she seems like a much goofier figure than basically everyone else in the show. She seems like a Trigun villain, and as much as I love that similarly short-lived space western, it’s not a good fit for the more emotionally intelligent, sober maturity Bebop is most famous for.
Still, there’s some fun in this episode. Spike and Faye’s dynamic really comes to a head, as they start the first of what will eventually be many adventures in the world’s most destructive tag team. We also start to learn a little bit more about Jet’s background in ISSP, and how it makes him the best investigator of the crew. The straight man, who does the obvious and is usually rewarded for it. In fact, this is the episode where four of the five main crew members are together for the first time, and we get a real look into their strange family dynamic. Spike’s the cool leading man, Faye’s the sultry wild card, Jet’s the pragmatic team leader. It works, except for when it usually doesn’t, as even though the Space Warriors are soundly defeated (in a very cool introduction to the show’s warp gate technology), the Bebop isn’t able to collect a bounty, rendering the whole thing pointless. But that’s sort of what Cowboy Bebop is all about, in a Sartrean sort of way.
#21) Session 14- Bohemian Rhapsody
Chessmaster Hex: This is either an idiot or a genius! I like this fellow…
Coming right after the unofficial “midseason finale,” this episode had the unfortunate burden of trying to re-set the show after the momentous happenings of “Jupiter Jazz,” and while it certainly is up to that task, it’s maybe too up to it? Let me explain. Focused originally on the individual efforts of Spike, Jet and Faye to track down the ringleader of a seemingly unrelated gang of criminals who are robbing the space gates, “Rhapsody” kind of ends up converging around Radical Edward, and the seemingly innocuous chess game she’s playing.
As it turns out (because this is a detective show), the random person she’s been playing holo chess with is the mastermind, only he’s too old and senile now to remember the plan he set in motion to take revenge on the Gate company for firing him 50 years ago. So Jet convinces the company to stop sending bounty hunters after him, and he dies peacefully after finally beating Ed. It ties up into a nice little bow, but it feels strangely…disconnected. Chessmaster Hex is one of the neatest character designs in the show, but he doesn’t have nearly the effect that someone like V.T. or even Meifa has on our characters. Episodes like this are sort of by design meant to be meaningless on the surface, but this one just sort of ends up happening, and not even the viewer can make much sense out of it. The entire sequence where Spike and Faye infiltrate Hex’s uncharted commune is gorgeous, though.
#20) Session 19- Wild Horses
Spike: Whatever happens, happens.
One of the problems with some the episodes to this point is that, compared to what comes later, they don’t really have a unifying theme or character concept. That’s not the case with “Wild Horses,” which is all about putting Spike’s worldview to the test. After crash landing on Earth on the way to get his ship, Swordfish II, serviced by original owner Doohan, Spike undergoes a series of trials seemingly designed to get him to lose his cool.
Spike’s cool, aloof persona is, for lack of a better term, his mask. What he uses to hide the parts of him that he’d rather stay buried with his past from the world. His violent rage and bloodlust. What’s interesting about this is that there’s one trait that stays consistent in both of Spike’s personas: his unrepentant death wish. Spike will charge, headlong, into dangerous situations just to feel alive. It’s what makes him effective as a bounty hunter, but it’s also what nearly gets the entire crew of the Bebop killed. In this episode, after Jet and Faye unsuccessfully fight off the crew of hackers they’ve been hunting (a crew that, in line with this episode’s baseball obsession, are named “George,” “Herman,” and “Ruth”), Spike is the one who rushes them head-on, gets his ship disabled and has to simply watch as he begins to drift slowly back into Earth’s atmosphere, another meteor to burn up on re-entry.
It’s only through the quick action of Doohan (and his assistant, Miles) that Spike survives. It’s a relatively simple plot, with an even simpler theme, but at least it has one. In fact, the most interesting thing about this episode is how Doohan and Miles’ usage of a retrofitted Space Shuttle Columbia, and that ship nearly disintegrating upon re-entry (in an eerie coincidence, this episode aired roughly five years before the real life Columbia did the same) got it banned in the States for a few years, which also hurt this episode’s reputation a bit. One more bit: this episode is probably the best showcase for Kimitane Yamane’s iconic mechanical design.
#19) Session 16- Black Dog Serenade
Fad: This is the real world. There’s no place for your petty ideals.
So that thing I said before, about Jet’s episodes trending more toward classic Film Noir? This episode in particular is what I was referencing. The whole thing, from start to finish, is focused almost entirely on Jet, his past, and his relationship with his former ex-partner, Fad. The plot, derivative as it is, sees Fad call Jet back into service to help stop the takeover of a prison ship by a ragtag group of convicts, tenuously led by the grim-faced Udai Taxim, the last man Jet arrested, and the man he blames for the loss of his arm.
Without spoiling too much, Jet is obviously wrong about what happened in his past (another recurring theme with Jet is that he’s never as right as thinks he is). Things go south, and get really bloody. This might be the single bloodiest episode of the show in that respect. The episode preview goes out of its way to warn younger viewers away from it, and while it’s kind of played as a joke, there’s definitely some merit to it. I don’t remember seeing this episode on the show’s original run in America, but if I did, it might have weirded me out a little. And really, what more could you ask for?
#18) Session 2- Stray Dog Strut
Jet: Complaining again. Didn’t your grandmother ever tell you that a good boy has to finish what he starts?
I often see “Stray Dog Strut” cited as one of the absolute worst Cowboy Bebop episodes. While I certainly wouldn’t argue it’s in the top ten, I’ve always liked it, and there’s one simple reason why: it’s incredibly fun. On top of that, it builds the universe more than the first episode does and maybe more than any other episode since. Just look at all the recurring Bebop things that get introduced here: Mars’ standing as cultural center of humanity, the purpose and general economic structure of Woolongs as a currency, the purpose of television (including the first episode of Big Shot, whose hosts, Punch and Judy, are two of the most indelible side characters in the show. Shucks howdy!) and most importantly; Ein, the data dog, third member and most adorable member of the Bebop’s crew.
The episode is entered around Spike’s hunt for an escaped pet thief named Abdul Hakim (who was very noticeably modeled after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to better act as a foil for Spike’s Bruce Lee, a reference that is name-dropped explicitly in this episode). Eventually, Hakim’s stolen goods are revealed to be a simple Welsh Corgi, seemingly worth almost nothing. Once a group of scientists (whose license plate is NCC-1701, the same as the serial number from the USS Enterprise) show up, it’s revealed that Ein is actually some sort of genetically modified genius dog, worth millions. The specifics of that don’t matter, and are never really revealed, as most of the episode is dedicated to an extended chase scene. Ein escapes from Hakim, who gives chase. Spike chases Hakim, the scientists chase Spike, until eventually both antagonists end up falling into police custody, literally.
Spike, having chosen to save Ein from certain death after the very good boy outsmarts Hakim again, settles for a new pet in lieu of a lucrative bounty, and the Bebop leaves Mars none the richer. It’s kind of a more stereotypical, almost Lupin III style resolution, one this show rarely does. But it’s nice to know that not all of Spike’s adventures end with piles of bodies.
#17) Session 9- Jamming With Edward
Jet: What’d I tell you? Nothing good ever comes from the Earth.
Cowboy Bebop straddles a lot of different genres almost effortlessly (as I told you before, it was rather immodestly labeled “the work that will become a genre unto itself”), but one I’ve never really been comfortable giving it is “post-apocalyptic.” For one, those sorts of products tend to be a little more utilitarian, more concerned with the how of surviving a post-Earth scenario than the why than Bebop. If there is an episode of this show that can be labeled post-apocalyptic, it’s this one.
Earth in the Bebop universe is one of the most interesting depictions of our home I’ve ever seen. After a catastrophic gateway accident cracked the Moon, Earth exists in a state of constant bombardment by meteorites. What’s interesting is that while it depopulated major cities across the globe and forced the center of human civilization to Mars, it didn’t completely depopulate Earth. The surviving populace lives underground, or in sheltered cities inside giant craters. It’s these forlorn people the crew of the Bebop pries for information in their hunt for the mysterious Radical Edward, a hacker blamed by the ISSP for hijacking defunct satellites in Earth’s orbit and vandalizing the surface with drawings.
In reality, Edward, soon to be the fourth member of the crew, is just a lonely 13 year old girl. She’s a hacker, sure, but not responsible for the vandalism. In fact, she’s instrumental in putting a stop to them by first identifying, then helping neutralize the true culprit, a reawakened former spy satellite that had achieved sentience and came to realize it was all alone. I’ll have more to say about Ed in her later episode, but in the end, that’s the core of post-apocalyptic fiction that is so incompatible with what Bebop is all about: moving on after the death of a culture. Because culture in Bebop, the show, is everpresent, and the culture of Bebop, the ship, just got a little more Radical.
#16) Session 22- Cowboy Funk
Andy: See you, space cowboy.
So before, I was talking about how “Stray Dog Strut” works best because it’s kind of a departure from the more serious-minded episode of Bebop. Imagine if that were still true, but instead of happening right at the start, it happened right after one of the darkest episodes in the show, and right before the equally dark final four episodes. It’s a last gasp of air, and it’s weird and hilarious and great.
So what would it be like if Spike met himself? He’d hate him, right? That’s the basic idea of “Cowboy Funk,” where the crew of the Bebop, hot on the tail of the appropriately named mad bomber Teddy Bomber, encounters the lonesome cowboy bounty hunter, Andy. Voiced by veteran voice actor Daran Norris, Andy is physically similar to Spike, almost identical, but turns Spike’s aloof coolness into aloof stupidity, which is a fine line. As Andy and Spike consistently clash over who gets to bring in the Bomber, they grow more and more tired of one another, resulting in them completely ignoring Teddy and just fighting it out on top of a building the man they were supposed to be stopping destroyed.
It’s pure farce, elevated even more by Faye and Jet’s initial curiosity-turned-disdain of Andy as they realize how similar to Spike he really is. The entire Bebop world’s reaction to Andy is one of the funniest things in the show (alongside this background joke), from the general populace’s confusion to Spike’s increased irritation, to the point that before Spike confronts Teddy Bomber the last time, he impatiently waits for Andy’s theme music to hit, which of course people in the world can hear. I wouldn’t go as far as to call “Cowboy Funk” meta, but it’s about as close as this show cares to get.
#15) Session 8- Waltz For Venus
Spike: Something beautiful, huh? I’m afraid that… afraid that I lost that a long time ago.
Something I mentioned earlier that I think is particularly relevant to this episode is the idea that the guest characters are just as interesting and well-rounded as the main crew of the Bebop. There’s an alternate version of this show that’s just about low-level associate Roco Bonnaro and his sister Stella trying to get out from under the Venusian Mob. In one of these episodes, Roco, after finally getting his hands on the rare plant that might help cure his sister’s blindness, has the misfortune of being on a shuttle that ends up getting hijacked by a bunch of dangerous criminals.
Luckily for our hero, the criminals are thwarted by a crew of exceedingly cool bounty hunters. Roco takes an immediate liking to their leader, Spike, and becomes his protege. Unfortunately, the Mob catches up to Roco, and before he and his new mentor can really get to know one another, Spike is killed, shot in the back and left to die like a dog. Roco tries to move on and use what Spike taught him to help his sister, however he can.
That’s not the reality we live in. In this one, it’s Spike who comes across Roco, hates him, then begrudgingly teaches him a little of Bruce Lee’s martial philosophy of being “like water.” After meeting Stella and deciding not to cash in the meager bounty on Roco’s head, Spike and Faye watch as Roco is gunned down by the people he swore an oath to. Knowing that the seeds Roco left for his sister are worth a fortune, Spike uses them to help cure Stella’s blindness. When she learns her brother is dead, Stella only asks what Roco looked like, and what kind of person he really was.
“He’s exactly the guy you thought he was,” is all Spike can say, because he didn’t even really know the guy. When Roco was lying in the muck, slowly dying, he asked Spike if, in another life, they could have been friends. Spike doesn’t answer him. Maybe he’s not the guy we thought he was, either.
#14) Session 15- My Funny Valentine
Faye: How long were you in there listening, Spike?
Spike: Too long. Your story needs editing.
I know a lot of people would have this episode, the first to feature Faye’s backstory, and maybe the most well-realized and best plot in this show, a lot higher. There’s two reasons I don’t. The first is, simply, that this show is really fucking good and being the 14th-best Cowboy Bebop episode means you’re a pretty great episode of television. Second is that it ends on a really sour, confusing, and ultimately unfitting note.
The extended flashback, where we learn that Faye was cryogenically frozen for 50+ years and has accrued 300 million Woolongs in medical debt, is masterfully done. Showing Faye as a more naive, wide-eyed 20 year old struggling to take in the technological advances of the future is equal parts sweet and pathetic. Making the first person she makes a connection with after awakening a con artist who only adds to her debt before abandoning her goes a long way to explaining the bitterness, cynicism, trust issues and general callousness she wears on her sleeve as a 23-year-old. Having that same con artist, Whitney Haggis Matsumoto (one of the silliest and best names on this show), be this week’s bountyhead is a little ham-fisted, but still appropriate.
What I don’t like here isn’t that Faye kidnaps Whitney before his bounty is turned in to get some answers — that makes sense. It’s that the episode’s minor antagonists, Doctor Bacchus and Miss Manly, show up briefly in the present day and then leave, never to be seen again. If you’re going to spend that much time in the flashback establishing these two and then bring them into the foreground in the present, there should be some kind of payoff. I get that Bebop loves messing with genre convention, but this just feels lazy. Really good episode, though.
#13) Session 6- Sympathy For the Devil
Wen: Do you understand? Do you…?
We’re hitting the point now where every episode is great in some way, shape, or form. As the sixth session of the series, “Sympathy For the Devil” has the misfortune of immediately following an episode that drastically shifted the scope, tone and overall feel of the series, but it does an incredible job of resetting things a bit just with its opening scene, with Jet and Spike tracking a new bountyhead in a seedy blues joint on Mars.
Before that, we’re treated a brief teaser that doesn’t matter much for the episode but that I think is worth mentioning. In it, we see Spike daydreaming about the “accident” that cost him his right eye. In his flashback, we see his apparently fully functioning eye being removed and then replaced by some sinister-looking scientists. Not only does this make Spike an unreliable narrator, but it raises some interesting questions about who Vicious really is (you’ll note what sort of drug Vicious deals).
Anyway, Spike and Jet’s bounty, a man codenamed Giraffe, mysteriously gets thrown out a window, with Spike barely saving him in time only for Giraffe to give him an even more mysterious ring, and the instructions that “he isn’t what appears,” before dying. Without turning these into summaries, what follows is surely one of the stranger and more supernatural cases Spike undertakes.
While it’s true that this episode gets by more on mystery and imagery than most, it’s a good mystery, and some great imagery. The screenshot above is one, as is the shot of how Wen survived the fallout from the Gate Disaster. It’s obvious that when he climbs out from under the charred corpses of his parents, he’s no longer a child in any way that matters. In fact, Wen might be the only character in the show with a more marked death wish than Spike. When his age finally catches up with him, and he starts to turn to dust, Wen is glad to finally die, and he asks Spike if he understands.
Spike sarcastically agrees, then grabs Wen’s harmonica (that this show loves to give characters specific and identifiable instruments is proof of how crucial music is to understand it). He throws the harmonica in the air, then pretends to shoot in with his finger. “Bang.” The next time Spike does that, he’ll have a much better idea of Wen meant.
#12) Session 10- Ganymede Elegy
Jet: I’m the Black Dog, and once I bite, I don’t let go.
The first time I watched Cowboy Bebop, it was piecemeal. Catching an episode here or there during the first run on Adult Swim was probably the closest I got to feeling like I was doing something I could get in trouble for. My mom generally didn’t care what I watched, but she was very adamant I not watch TV of any kind after 8pm or so for a long time. Bebop‘s the only thing I ever really risked it for, at least in 2001.
I’m pretty sure I caught the first airing of “Ganymede Elegy,” and I remember not liking it. Watching the series as a whole a few years ago, I think I liked it more, but it didn’t make an impression on me. Watching again this year, and suddenly it clicked. I’m 28 now. I was 12 when this show first aired. As an adult, an episode about Jet, the oldest and most adult of the Bebop’s crew, dealing with the mistakes of his past and the dawning realization that he can never fix them feels a lot weightier to me.
Set in Jet’s home satellite of, you guessed it, Ganymede, “Elegy” finds the crew turning in a low-level bounty. Taking the opportunity to reconnect with his home, Jet tracks down his old flame Alisa, only to find out that she’s skipping town, and her new boyfriend, Rhint Celonias, is another potential bountyhead. With some help from Spike, Jet brings them in. That’s really all that happens in the episode.
But that’s not all that happens. The thing I find most fascinating about this episode is how realistic it is. The demons of Jet’s past this time aren’t maniacal assassins or crooked cops, just a woman who found him too controlling and wanted to leave, and a man who got in over his head and made a mistake. Jet’s not the bad guy, either, just a burnt-out cynic who’s made a few too many mistakes. That’s a lot like how these sort of things work in the real world.
A lot of people have some trouble with Jet still handing Rhint over to the ISSP after Alisa’s revelation, but I think it’s a realistic choice. It’d be unlike Jet to throw away a potential payout for sentimental reasons, just like it’d be selfish of him not to provide for his new family. In a way, he’s still just as controlling as he ever was. Despite seeming to take her advice to heart, his relationship with Alisa can only end on his own terms.
The more that I think about it, the more I think “Ganymede Elegy” comes closest to encapsulating the biggest underlying theme of Cowboy Bebop: that the only way to reconcile with your past is to deal with it. You can’t live a life of regret, and despite Jet throwing the watch Alisa got him into the shining sea at the end, he’s obviously still not over her. It’s not in his character. After all, he’s the Black Dog. He never lets go.
#11) Session 17- Mushroom Samba
Jet [Extremely stoned]: So that’s it? The secret to the universe is so simple!
I think my favorite thing about “Mushroom Samba” is the commentary. Featuring composer Yoko Kanno and Director Shinichiro Watanabe, it’s the perfect companion piece to the episode its commentating on: disjointed, illusory, confusing and strange.
Kanno spends most of the commentary reacting as though she’s never seen the episode, only briefly taking asides to talk about how cute Ein is and how much she loves mushrooms. Watanabe, meanwhile, is upset that no one on the staff seems to have appreciated the blaxpoitation references he put into the episode, with two supporting characters designed after Pam Grier in Coffy and the titular hero in Shaft.
Maybe the best moment in the commentary comes during the episode’s climactic chase scene, where Kanno and Watanabe express bewilderment about the creation of the song that accompanies it, “Mushroom Hunting.” Kanno thought the episode as a whole was modeled around her song, which she wrote simply because she loves mushrooms. Watanabe thought she wrote the song specifically to fit into the chase scene in his mushroom episode. It’s the happy sort of coincidence that can only happen when you give a bunch of wildly creative people free reign.
Throw this in with the weird, improvisational tone of Ed and Ein’s bounty hunting career, the incredible scenes where Ed doses Spike, Jet and Faye with magic mushrooms, and the two rival bounty hunters being taken out by a Corgi running on top of a moving train, and you have one of the sillier and best episodes of Cowboy Bebop.