OK, I know when it first came out I said some pretty harsh things about it. (See it here I was funnier then.)
But when it first came on TV, I had just seen all the really great anime. Trigun, and Gundam Wing, and Outlaw Star, and FLCL, plus loads of really tripey stuff. I was comparing it to the great shows, and compared to the great shows, the only thing that stood out was the incredible music. The animation quality was similar to Trigun and FLCL, the art style is comparable to Outlaw Star and Trigun, and the characters were very Outlaw Star. I didn't see anything really original in it, so I didn't think it was worth the hype it got. The villains were episodic, and as we all know, I'm partial to serial villains.
But here we are, two years later, and I love the show. Sure, Spike is a lot like Gene Starwind, but he's more of a slob and actually a lot cooler than Gene. Faye is a lot like many many anime chicks, but the fact that she never really is a love interest makes it OK. Plus she smokes cigars, and that's always cool. Ein is the dog, and as the dog, he's not quite as cute as other anime dogs. At first, I thought Edward was very annoying, but then I saw other shows with REALLY annoying kids. Plus my daughter got older, and she does Ed things now. Except for the hacking and the computer genius part. I won't let her do those things.
Jet is my favorite character. He's cool, and he's nice, and he can put his foot down when the kids get out of line. He's just a mellow kind of guy. I can't think of another series that he reminds me of, but if I do, who knows where I'll post it.
As far as the episodic secondary characters go, Bebop has some of the best. One of my favorite characters of all time I think has to be VT, the Heavy Metal Queen, from the episode Heavy Metal Queen. That episode was on tonight, and reminded me that I needed to retract my Bebop loathing from prior years. Ed's dad is another great character, I wish we'd gotten to see a little more of him in the show. The episode Cowboy Funk has one of the funniest minor characters in Andy. That's my other favorite episode, not just because Andy is funny, but the way the main characters react to him is so great.
And really, no Cowboy Bebop discussion would be complete without a few words about the music. It is the best music ever, and I'm not just talking about incidental music or theme music. I have the CDs, and I listen to them in the car. I don't think producers realize how well great music works as incidental music, or more shows would have great music like this. Unless Yoko Kanno is just a genius, which may well be the case.
I'm kinda mad I forgot to go see the movie when it was in theaters, but I have it on DVD so I think I'll watch it now. (ok, in a minute. I have another post to make first.)
EDIT: The movie is so awesome. It changed my life. Check out the new background on my raditzsex journal. Isn't that cool?