Session#2 – Stray Dog Strut
If there is anything I have learned over the course of my anime viewing its that episode directors can largely play a role in how an episode’s pacing, art, choice in music let alone overall tone can be integral in making or break an episode whether it has a good script or a poorly written one. When it comes down to it the episode directors have a way of completely overturning so many of these elements and general director Shinichiro Watanabe knows this when he recruits his staff.
What I mean to say here with regards to Cowboy Bebop is that we’ve got this hardened and intelligent series and the first episode proved just that with the attention of quite a few factions wanting the drug Bloody Eye. However, here we’ve got a plot that has introduced what Space Dandy had done so well and that is putting its characters through comedic situations. Not over the top like what tons of anime series from the 90’s and even today do with its repetitive jokes– Nichijou, Monogatari series are to name just a few. Comedy anime series that have more than meets the eye and that triggers every aspect on the development side to have a finished animated production with substance.
Spike hates animals and when he tries to catch up with the mysterious Ein in order to receive his bounty reward on Hakim he is left a lot more irritated than what we’ve seen before. This provides a very nice balance to what we already know so far– he’s a bounty hunter that knows martial arts is a daring pilot. Plus we had one of the coolest vocal tracks featured in this episode by Mai Yamane– “I Want it all Back”.
Ikuro Sato helmed this episode and I can see where the inspiration from the zombie episode of Space Dandy came from this story of Cowboy Bebop— odd yet funny scenes that capture the misfortunes of the main cast. Spike is led on a chase by data dog Ein where Dandy is running away from a collection of mindless brain-munching zombies– two different genres that tackle similar elements– strange animals [Bebop] and strange aliens [Dandy] push the lead character into a worse situation than what they had started with. Both episodes had a rather fast pace to them considering how slow Dandy and his crew moved by the second half of the zombie episode! Haha!
Which brings this full circle into Spike’s character in that he hates animals and now has one as part of a crew member on the Bebop. Fantastic direction in introducing its characters! However, there was a lack of backstory for Ein– the scientists that are chasing after him provided a wider entanglement part of this episode but little to no understanding as to how and why Ein was made into a data dog.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 9/10