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Cowboy Bebop

Thursday 31st December 2009 Leave a comment

I recently finished watching the anime series Cowboy Bebop. I’d rented the film several years ago, and at the time (when I’d only seen Akira, Ghost in the Shell and The Animatrix, and no Studio Ghibli movies) found it to be the first anime I’d seen that lived up to its reputation. Now, thanks to LoveFilm I’ve been able to watch the whole series.

It was quite superb. However, the “mythology” episodes with Julia and Vicious were probably my least favourite “sessions” of the series – I was more a fan of the one-offs that focused more on action (“Pierrot le Fou”), sci-fi (the cyberpunk episode “Brain Scratch”) and comedy (the wonderful “Mushroom Samba”).

I was disappointed that Ed, the most memorable character from the movie, was introduced so late in the series (episode nine). I suppose she’s the sort of character who’s best used sparingly, generally as comic relief from the sidelines, with more central appearances being rationed out, but I don’t think that introducing her a couple of episodes earlier would have led to her being overused.

I was never really sure whether I should be watching the episodes subtitled or dubbed. Sometimes the subtitles gave additional information, but were really awkwardly-worded (I was irritated by the weird rendering of numbers: “1 0000” appearing instead of “10 000” or “10,000”). The English voice acting was generally fine, but again there were a lot of sentences that felt awkward – as if matching the timing of the lip sync was taking priority over a naturally-flowing sentence. In the end credits, strangely, some episodes had the lyrics as both burned-in Japanese subtitles and English DVD closed captions, for others it was the other way round, for others they were both English, others were both Japanese, and some had no burned-in subtitles at all. But I suppose such inconsistencies are all par for the course in the wonderful world of translated anime!

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