Cowboy Bebop: The Complete Series (Blu-ray Review)

Cowboy Bebop Explore the far reaches of the galaxy in this undeniably hip series that inspired a generation – and redefined anime as an indisputable art form. The Bebop crew is just trying to make a buck. This motley lot of intergalactic loners teams up to track down fugitives and turn them in for cold hard cash. Spike is a hero whose cool façade hides a dark and deadly past. The pilot Jet is a bruiser of a brute who can’t wait to collect the next bounty. Faye Valentine is a femme fatale prone to breaking hearts and separating fools from their money. Along for the ride are the brilliant, but weird, hacker Ed and a super-genius Welsh Corgi named Ein. On their own, any one of them is likely to get lost in the sprawl of space, but together, they’re they most entertaining gang of bounty hunters in the year 2071. 

Cowboy Bebop

The Series  

I like westerns, animation, science fiction, so when Cowboy Bebop was released way back in the late 90’s I quickly gobbled it all up. It really was cutting edge at the time and predates some of the more loose comparisons of what came after it in terms of style and tone. Hell, some would say that Joss Whedon’s Firefly was inspired by Cowboy Bebop. I see the similarities but they’re two different beasts altogether. Oh, I should actually tell you what Cowboy Bebop is all about first before I ramble on.

The year is 2071 and our crew is comprised of the super cool Spike, Jet Black (metal arm man), Faye Valentine (wears bright yellow outfits), Edward (computer hacker and is a female) and their faithful dog Ein, go from bounty to bounty on their spaceship. They really are the epitome of “rag-tag.” Each character is slowly introduced one episode at a time, which is really cool, because it allows us to absorb their story and introduction with a bit of ease instead of asking who’s this guy and who’s that girl?

We’re basically flies on the wall when t comes to their straightforward adventures. They’re out to get paid and then they move on. The show really benefits from not really having to invest too deeply into the storyline, because 90% of it is standalone and the rest figures a bit into Spike’s past, which even if you missed those few episodes, you would be able to take in the bulk of the show with no problems. I should also point out that Cowboy Bebop is actually hand drawn. Yes, you read that right. A few years ago before computers automated the process illustrators actually sat down and drew these things that were given life by voice actors and digital tools. There’s a certain weight to it that I love.

As I said at the beginning of the review: Cowboy Bebop combines many different genres and even melds jazz notes within the very fiber of its being. Oh, and James Bond, too. Throughout the years we have gotten various sets that didn’t have every episode on them. I remember there being a “Perfect Sessions” set on DVD that quickly went out of print and then we finally did get a Japanese and UK version on Blu-ray. Unfortunately, America got snubbed unless you paid a premium and had a region-free player.

The Internet let out a collective orgasm when FUNimation announced this set and an even bigger one was let out when they announced that there would be two exclusives – one from Amazon and one from FUNimation. This review is for the standard set that anyone can get. I will post my thoughts on the FUNimation Exclusive set in a later review. I will go out on a special note and say that had this set been released earlier in 2014 it would have earned a top spot on my Top-10 Blu-ray list as opposed to just an honorable mention. In any event, what are you still reading this? Get out there and get yourself a set!


Cowboy Bebop


Encoding: AVC MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p (Native HD)

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Clarity/Detail: Traditionally animated and drawn, Cowboy Bebop looks exceptionally awesome, and rich in both detail and clarity. There are only a few bumps here and there but the show has definitely found its home on the Blu-ray format. Contras and sharpness levels look leveled and balanced, with no post-production tweaking that I was able to detect.

Depth: Outside of the all computer-animated scenes, which were animated in SD, the level of 2-D animation is stellar. We’ve waited almost 20-years for something like this and I am happy to say that Cowboy Bebop trumps expectations in terms of video quality.

Black Levels: Crush and compression artifacts are present here and there but you’d be hard pressed to find them.

Color Reproduction: The colors are big and bold and beautiful. From the colorful outfits that the bounty hunters wear, to the planets and cities they visit.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Noise and artifacts are kept to a minimum.

Cowboy Bebop



Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English Dolby TrueHD 2.0, Japanese Dolby TrueHD2.0

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: Cowboy Bebop: The Complete Series sounds terrific. It features TWO lossless surround soundtracks that bring the funk and jazz to our antihero’s journeys nicely.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE subwoofer channel gives a nice flourish of extra bass when needed and doesn’t overpower the sound field at all.

Surround Sound Presentation: Gunshots, spaceships, Spike getting his butt kicked while kicking butt comes through awesomely in the rear (channels). They never bleed into what’s going on in the front stage. I appreciated that.

Dialogue Reproduction: The humorous dialogue is still humorous and comes through the center channel nice, big, loud, and clear. Additional effects are also brought through the front and that did not affect dialogue levels at all.


Cowboy Bebop


This review is for the general Cowboy Bebop set that can be found at any retailer. It’s the complete series. Some may be aware that two additional special editions were released – one was a limited edition Amazon exclusive that contained art books and the DVD versions of the show. A FUNimation Exclusive was also released and that had special packaging in the form an n LP style jacket in addition to the complete series on DVD, as well. I actually obtained a copy of the FUNimation Exclusive and will be posting my thoughts on the special edition in a later review. This set contains several Japanese audio commentaries with the creators and actors (subtitled in English) in addition to some interviews with the American cast and ADR crew for the show. Textless openings, closing songs are also present including a shorter “episode 0.” What puts this set over the top in terms of features is the almost 2-hour “Memo from Bebop,” where the entire cast and ADR director sit down for a nice dinner and reminisce about the show. This is a brand new production made just for this release and it’s literally like being a fly on the wall. It was great.

  • Session #1: Audio commentary with Koichi Yamadera (Spike) and Unshou Ishizuka (Jet)
  • Session #5: Audio commentary with Wendee Lee (Faye) and ADR Producer Yutaka Maseba
  • Session #10: Audio commentary with Wendee Lee (Faye) and ADR Producer Yutaka Maseba
  • Session #17: Audio commentary with Director Shinichiro Watanabe and Composer Yoko Kanno
  • Session #24: Audio commentary with Megumi Hayashibara (Faye) and Aoi Tada (Ed)
  • Interview with Wendee Lee (English voice of Faye Valentine)
  • Interview with Cartoon Network Producer Sean Akins
  • Tank! Full-Size music clip
  • Tank! Club remix music clip – UK version
  • Original opening and closing songs
  • Textless opening and closing songs
  • Original and textless closing song Ep. 13
  • Original and textless closing song Ep. 26
  • Memo from Bebop: The dub sessions remembered
  • Ein’s summer vacation
  • Cowboy Bebop session #0
  • U.S. trailer


Cowboy Bebop


16 years after Cowboy Bebop premiered and more than 10 years since the first DVD sets appeared on video store shelves this new Blu-ray containing the entire series run has finally arrived for anime and high definition enthusiasts alike. Cowboy Bebop: The Complete Series is one of the best releases of 2014 and if you were lucky enough to scoop up one of two limited edition sets (one from Amazon and one from FUNimation) then I salute you. I went ahead and ordered the FUNimation set for myself a couple of months ago, so stay tuned for a separate review covering that set and its contents. For everyone else – I reckon this Blu-ray set is your only way to enjoy the classic show in all its glory. The technical specifications are up to snuff and extras contained with in are more than adequate. Cowboy Bebop: The Complete Series is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Order Cowboy Bebop: The Complete Series on Blu-ray!

Cowboy Bebop


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

Comments are currently closed.