One of my all time favorite anime series got the royal big screen treatment a few years back. No angst-ridden teenagers, no whiny schoolgirls, just four space cowboys and a data dog looking for their next bounty to the tune of jazz music. Cowboy Bebop: Knocking on Heaven’s Door is set in the future, where the planet Mars has a government, and Spike is about to become wrapped in a terrorist plot to infect the planet with a deadly new virus. So, along with Jet, Faye and company, Spike sets about trying to save the world – for a price, of course.
They start to investigate a bioterrorist attack, which leads the Bebop crew to tail a thrill-seeking hacker and delves into a classified experiment and a corrupt biomedical corporation. Spike meets Electra Ovilo, a security officer who can match him move for move. The lovely Electra has a past with the military and with Vincent Volaju, a soldier and experimental subject believed dead — or believed dead by everyone but former paramour Electra, and Faye, who saw him by the tanker. Thus, the chase begins. Vincent plans to infect all of Mars with the virulent disease.
The animation in Cowboy Bebop, the series, raised the bar for animation on TV. It’s no surprise that the creators gleefully jump at the higher cels-per-minute rate of theatrical animation. The Cowboy Bebop movie doesn’t attempt to recreate the universe. Instead it tells a previously untold adventure that takes place between episodes 22 and 23 of the TV series, using the characters we’re already familiar with. The animation and sound of the movie is excellent, pushing the already high production values of the TV show even further.
Those often put off watching anime like Cowboy Bebop by the shoddy standard of the dubbing should note that in this case the voice-over work is excellent, and the conversion from Japanese to English is an outright success. This sounds like a 5 star glowing review but basically I am writing this review while being under the weather (with the flu) and I don’t want to nitpick too much. I give credit for following the formula based on the TV series and if you are a fan of the series you should enjoy this movie. A stylishly created piece of anime – the storyline’s a little cluttered, but it’s still great entertainment. Recommended.