Cowboy Bebop voice actors name the best episodes for their characters

When Cowboy Bebop initially took off onto tv screens in a flurry of jazz horns and shooting, it left a deep and long lasting impression on a generation of anime fans, making a track record as not just one of the very best anime of its age however a perfect entry point for beginners to the medium. That track record is owed in no little part to the initial English voice cast who called the series back when it aired on the late-night animation block Grownup Swim in 2001. For lots of fans, the English dub is the conclusive variation of the series; with singing efficiencies of Steve Blum (Spike Spiegel), Beau Billingslea (Jet Black), Wendee Lee (Faye Valentine), and Melissa Fahn (Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV) being the last component that moved the anime to the height of its appeal and vital reception.

With the initial 26-episode anime being provided to stream on Funimation, Polygon spoke with the initial voice cast of Cowboy Bebop to discuss their preferred episodes and minutes from dealing with the series.


“Toys in the Attic,” “Mushroom Samba,” and Cowboy Bebop: The Film

Steve Blum: Strangely enough, it took me going through the whole series and doing the motion picture prior to I actually figured it out who Spike was as a character, Personally and expertly. There was a minute in the Cowboy Bebop motion picture, when Spike and Electra remained in a prison cell and he needed to in fact access his discomfort and his vulnerability. Which seemed like the missing out on component to Spike. I understood there was something in there and it was mentioned throughout the series. However that was when I actually zeroed in on precisely who he was. What the genesis of that pain was, that underlying sadness, and that confusion that he seemed to walk through life with. It made everything else gel and it made me have to go back and actually revisit what had been done before. I almost wish I had that insight from the very beginning.

But it happened when it was supposed to happen. And it affected me on a very profound level as an actor, as a person, and as a man; being able to express vulnerability while playing this badass dude who actually didn’t seem to care about anything. I wasn’t that badass in real life, but I did have shields up to protect myself against getting hurt. And accessing that through Spike’s discomfort actually helped me on a personal level and made whatever else gel for me. It was that one moment in that movie that did that for me.

Spike sitting in a jail cell in Cowboy Bebop: The Movie

Image: Sunrise / Bones

[If I had to pick one episode,] “Mushroom Samba” was just pure fun from beginning to end and just really weird. “Toys in the Attic” also because that kind of accessed my science fiction fandom, the weirdness of it all and its comedy, and it’s the one thing that we’ve been able to perform live together because it was basically just the main cast. So that episode holds a very special place in my heart, too.

“Ganymede Elegy” and “Mushroom Samba”

Beau Billingslea: One of my favorite moments in Cowboy Bebop is in “Mushroom Samba,” when Jet is talking to his bonsai trees. He’s stoned and talking to his bonsai trees and just goes, “Who am I anyway?” [laughs]

But overall, I’d have to say “Ganymede Elegy,” when he goes back to Ganymede, when he talks with his ex-girlfriend and they resolve their issues and he finally tosses the watch in the water and puts that part of his life to rest.

Jet holding the broken watch left to him by his ex Alisa in “Ganymede Elegy”

Image: Sunrise

I really enjoyed recording that episode because we had actually the time to spend to get it right. The voice director, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, directed me through the process of recording it, and it was an emotional episode obviously. And I really enjoyed that because so much of what we do in our world is not like that. We’re usually doing voices for loud monsters or whatever else we’re doing. However to do that, that legitimate barring of your soul as a star, portraying that character was very special. I really appreciate having the opportunity to do that, so that kind of balances out “Mushroom Samba” as one of my favorites.

“Speak Like A Child”

Wendee Lee: I honestly hit the ground running when I was performing Faye. I felt like I knew who this girl was. But I was super interested in discovering the layers. It was clear to me that there was something below the surface; she was wounded, or there was something she was hiding. I was aware of that pretty early on. But when we were recording, I had no idea we would get into her backstory with “Speak Like A Child,” any of that stuff. And it was shocking. That’s the richest backstory I’ve ever had for a character, especially after being with her for so many episodes and having no warning that this was coming. That she had been through real trauma and disaster, and instead of acquiescing into a spiral of just unraveling as an individual, she picked herself up and reinvented herself. I took real strength from that.

A young Faye Valentine performing a cheer in episode 18, “Speak Like a Child,” of Cowboy Bebop.

Image: Sunrise

I felt like she actually raised the bar for me, or for any actor for that matter who portrays her, because it brought a whole other level of nuance that needed to be incorporated into all of her scenes from that point on. Once you were aware of that, there was no turning back or seeking safety in the naïveté. Once she had a major footprint of a backstory, that had to be dragged into her present. It became a part of her DNA, so for me, the experience of performing Faye just got richer after that episode and I felt more protective of her over time.

“Jamming With Edward” and “Mushroom Samba”

Melissa Fahn: There are so many great moments for Ed throughout Cowboy Bebop. I mean even just her introduction in episode nine, “Jamming With Edward,” how she comes forth to the Bebop crew, as annoying as she might be to the characters, how she still melds in with them. They are all coming from a place where they all kind of need each other. I think Ed really needs them. You can look at Ed and she’s effervescent and childlike. She brings a completely different energy to the Bebop, and it’s needed. But she’s also a wounded character in a lot of ways herself, trying to find her own way as well.

Ed riding a scooter with Ein in tow in episode 17 “Mushroom Samba” of Cowboy Bebop

Image: Sunrise

We were talking about this earlier and Wendy brought it up, about how there’s a musicality to Ed and to all of our performances working together, however especially with Ed. I come from a musical background myself, and so I got to bring the effervescence of a child, the genius of a hacker. There are so many layers to Edward. There’s a lot going on underneath the surface, and I was so proud to be able to bring those moments of vulnerability and depth. In her last episode, “Hard Luck Woman,” she leaves in the end to find her own path. Maybe she’ll find her father, or maybe she’ll go back to the orphanage to find something to eat. It’s hard to pinpoint my favorite minute, but “Mushroom Samba” is my absolute preferred episode.

Cowboy Bebop is offered to stream on Funimation, Netflix, and Hulu.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.