All Aboard the Bebop (Cowboy Bebop Thoughts)


I don’t think that there are many works of fiction in this world that play out like Cowboy Bebop. This anime carries a somber note, infused with aloofness, action, laughs, and tragedy. It doesn’t fall in line with series like Dragon Ball, Harry Potter, or Entourage, it’s more like a Matrix or Romeo and Juliet. Although the series is perfect as it is with the 26 episodes and movie, I have never felt more resolved after watching a series due to satisfaction from the story and characters – but yet in so much sadness that it was over and that no matter how much more I wanted, I knew that ending, with those characters was perfect. Regardless, this is how I really feel about Cowboy Bebop.

Getting into it

To me, Cowboy Bebop is a tragedy. A tragedy about how no one is stronger than their unresolved past. “You’re gonna carry that weight”, a common saying among Bebop enthusiasts is the pinnacle phrase in which the entire series is founded on. Among the Bebop, the three lead characters are all held up by a past that they cannot let go. A past that although does not change how they appear towards others, is a past that prevents them from taking that next step to whatever goal they desire. That is why the crew never catches the bad guy. To even say that they really have a goal but to survive is an overstatement. It was as if the Bebop itself was a metaphor for how the protagonists felt. It was just a spaceship that was drifting along, looking for it’s next payday.

My Experience

I think that most people would agree that at some point in their lives that they have hit a low point and just absolutely go into a depression. And I myself, have gone down that road. There was about a 6 month period in my life when I was 19, where I didn’t get something that I already knew that I probably wasn’t going to get. Meaning that I was already sad but decided that I wanted to be ignorant to the truth and dug my hole a little deeper. That sadness I felt, it wasn’t a disappointment – rather it was a void of meaning. Like Spike, I just existed to exist, “whatever happens, happens”, as Spike would say and I was simply alive because my heart was still beating. I was quite sad and I decided that I should probably just stop doing anything that meant that I had to put my heart into because I just didn’t care anymore. Now let me say this – it was not genuine depression and I did not feel like offing myself either, I just lacked purpose and although I would smile and make jokes on the outside to fit into my surroundings, in reality I just really did not want to appear sad and bring up more questions that needed to be asked because I did not know how to answer those questions myself.

And as I continued to live with that weight on my shoulders, my grades proceeded to slip in school, my relationships with friends started to diminish, and I would not be able to play guitar or draw or make videos or anything, because every time I wanted to express myself, a very sour tone came out of my expression. Let’s say I wanted to write a song, it became a sad song and my voice would suck. If I wanted to draw, the pencil would just shake in my hands and I would lose inspiration and give up. Due to this weight I was carrying I just ended up hating everything, even myself and I would often just lie in bed, thinking about what went wrong and how I would definitely change things if I could.

The Reality of it All

But sooner or later, and for some of us it’s years and years from now, you have to realize that you will probably live a long life and have many more experiences and many more hardships. For me, I realized that I was stuck in this downward spiral of depression. So one day, I looked up. I looked up and the world opened up to me. I figured that no matter how many times I looked back at my situation I never stopped to think about how I could accept it and get over it. This is where we fall off from the protagonists of Cowboy Bebop. Due to Spike never resolving his past, he ends up losing traction and control of his life, like with Gren, Julia, or Vicious. You don’t have to have that happen to you. Although it’s a very hard thing to do, to be able to get over something in your past – you have to do eventually do it to continue to thrive. Even as I write this, am I 100 percent over what I was depressed about? No. However, am I at a better place? Yes. Just like Faye, or Jet, or Ed, I’m working it all out.

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