Good news is that most of the marvelous English dialogue cast from the “Cowboy Bebop” series has returned for the film. The bad news is that the heart and soul of the series hasn’t.
For those not in the know, “Cowboy Bebop” is an anime series focusing on the futuristic exploits of a band of bounty hunters who cruise the galaxy in their ship, the “Bebop”, as they capture wanted criminals to put food in their bellies. The 26 episode series appeared in the U.S. on DVD two years ago and then went on to be a regular part of the Adult Swim line-up of programming on Cartoon Network. “Cowboy Bebop”‘s American fan base was already enormous before the series was even officially released in the U.S.. Die hard anime fans go as far as learning Japanese so that they can watch the original videos of the newest, hottest anime as soon as it is released in Japan. But once “Cowboy Bebop” was officially released by Bandai in the U.S., the fan base just exploded. This is one of the most popular anime of all time. Talk of a “Cowboy Bebop” movie being made over the last couple of years has kept the mouths of anime freaks watered. Well, that movie is finally here and it’s with great displeasure that I have to say IT SUCKS!
The English dialogue casting for “Cowboy Bebop: The Movie” was actually a big concern of mine as I know it was to a lot of other people too. The English dub that Bandai did for the “Cowboy Bebop” series is one of the best, if not THE best, dubs in anime history. Those voices belong to those characters and there’s never any question about it. So, I was worried that Tristar would use an English cast for the movie that wasn’t only way different than what “Cowboy Bebop” fans would be used to, but far inferior as well. However, within the first few moments of the film, my worries were laid to rest. The only cast change is the voice of bounty hunter Spike, but I gotta say that the replacement voice sounds awfully close to the original. So, those familiar voices were in place and I could sit back and take in…
…a soulless husk, dressed up in “Cowboy Bebop” clothing. Not only does this movie lack the addictive charm of the series, but it also stands as one of the most boring anime films I’ve ever had to endure. What happened to those four characters aboard the “Bebop” that I came to love? It’s like all the fun’s been ripped out of them. Out of these four main characters, only two, Spike and Faye, get ample screen time, while Jet and Edward kind of linger in the background. But no matter who gets how much screen time, all of these characters have been gutted and left to lazily shuffle through a not so exciting adventure about a terrorist who plans on spreading a killer virus to the inhabitants of Mars on Halloween night. It’s not that the story idea is dull, it’s the way that it’s gone about is what will induce yawns. There’s just a lot of boring, dry talking scenes, one after the other, that leave very little for an audience to be compelled by. There’s not a whole lot said in all the jibber jabber that’s presented us and the action to help break up this monotony is sparse. Actually, the most action I got out of this film was being kicked in the balls repeatedly as I watched a unique anime series get turned into a boring, disposable film.
And the last kick to the balls…the “Cowboy Bebop” theme song isn’t even used. Well, maybe it’s used at the very tail end of the credits, but I wouldn’t know because I ran my a*s out of the theater right after those credits began to roll. If “Bebop” fans aren’t bummed about this film, it’s because they’re in denial.