Every Cowboy Bebop episode is worth watching, except for one
Fans of the 1998 sci-fi western noir anime Cowboy Bebop can settle on 3 things: The series is still incredible, even after all these years; Yoko Kanno’s rating is spotless and probably the best thing to come out of the series aside from the series itself; and there are, at the majority of, a couple of episodes out of the 26-episode anime that are kinda “ehh.”
Appearance, I understand a few of y’all simply begun shouting, however can’t we simply keep it a dollar fifty here? I am not alone in stating this, simply take a look at the remarks of the list of Cowboy Bebop episodes we advised last month where, in-between a number of lots responds yelling at me for not suggesting newbies simply see the whole series (which I completely did, mind you), folks discussed which of amongst the 26 episodes in the series was the weakest. Some recommended that either “Sympathy for the Devil” or “Toys in the Attic” were the worst episode of the series. I respectfully disagree. “Sympathy for the Devil” includes an interesting villain whose nature not just harkens to the series’ overarching style of “living in the past,” however materially mentions a significant occasion in the history of Cowboy Bebop’s universe. “Toys in the Attic,” while insignificant to the anime’s primary characters’ arcs, is an enjoyable and creepy send-up to Ridley Scott’s 1979 scary classic Alien that jointly foregrounds and juxtaposes Spike, Faye, Jet, and Ed’s characters for the very first time because Ed’s intro. It’s enjoyable!
Neither of these episodes is the “worst” episode of Cowboy Bebop. That honor goes to an episode so unexceptional that it is apparently non-existent in the memories of fans of the series. Here’s why the 21st episode of the series, “Boogie Woogie Feng Shui,” is the nadir of a near-perfect program.
Set smack-dab in the middle of the series’ last quarter, “Boogie Woogie Feng Shui” centers on the character of Jet, the oldest member of the Bebop bounty team and captain of the ship. After getting a puzzling e-mail riddle from Pao Pu-Zi, a separated associate and kept in mind master of “universal Feng Shui” (more on that later), Jet searches Alba City on Mars looking for him — just to find that Pao is now dead. Going to Pao’s tomb, Jet satisfies Pao Meifa, Pao’s teenage child, prior to being bombarded by strange enemies. Avoiding their potential pursuers by diving into a close-by river, Jet brings Pao Meifa back to the Bebop. Knowing that her late daddy tried to get in touch with Jet prior to his death, Pao Meifa is encouraged that his message associates with a legendary “sunstone” covert someplace on Mars and asks Jet in her mission to discover both it and ideally the reality about her daddy’s death.
The issue with “Boogie Woogie Feng Shui,” or more particularly, why it makes the difference of being the “worst” episode of Cowboy Bebop in my estimate, is that it eventually totals up to a shaggy pet detour that concentrates on a specific character (Jet) that not does anything to advance his arc or deepen the audience’s understanding of him, prior to concluding with a climax that as anything however climactic. And sure, this exact same criticism might probably be used to “Toys in the Attic,” however what that episodes uses in lieu of drawbacks — and what “Boogie Woogie Feng Shui’’ notably does not have — is time invested in the particular headspaces of Bebop’s core characters. It juxtaposes and uses a peek into the idea procedures and character peculiarities of Spike, Faye, Jet, and Ed as they mull over the secret at the heart of the episode.
The previous 2 Jet-specific episodes, “Ganymede Elegy” and “Black Dog Serenade,” which respectively looked into the character’s history through his past stopped working relationship with a female called Alisa and the story of how he lost his arm as a member of the Inter-Solar System Police. What “Boogie Woogie Feng Shui” does not have in contrast to either “Ganymede Elegy” and “Black Dog Serenade” is a main idea that completely comes together. The episode as an entire centers around “Universal Feng Shui,” an approach which itself fixates relationships and bonds in between living beings (i.e. people) and their environment are formed through a sort of “law of attraction” referred to as the “chi of magnetism.” Jet and Pao Meifa’s bond is the focus of “Boogie Woogie Feng Shui,” with the 2 serendipitously conference by method of their shared connection in the kind of Pao Pu-Zi, however Jet appears to be the only one of the 2 who appears to reveal anything looking like an intimate interest in the other. Additionally, it’s specifically odd that for an episode focused around relationships and auras of tourist attraction that the remainder of the Bebop team, whose vibrant as a group would otherwise appear an ideal example of and focus for using Meifa’s “chi of magnetism” theory, are rendered nearly totally peripheral to Jet and Meifa’s continuous look for the sunstone. There’s no genuine factor for them to be included anyhow because there’s no real bounty for these fugitive hunter to hunt, which definitely doesn’t work in the episode’s favor.
How “Boogie Woogie Feng Shui” finishes up the setup eventually checks out much better on paper than how it really plays out on screen. After Jet and Meifa lastly recuperate the sunstone Ed unintentionally finds that, when integrated with Meifa’s Luopan board, the stone can be utilized as a magnetic compass pointing to Pao Pu-Zi’s last recognized location. Piloting the Bebop into hyperspace, Jet and business open a wormhole in hyperspace by shooting the sunstone with a blast from the Swordfish II’s cannon, exposing a pocket measurement where Pao Pu-Zi’s ship is stranded. Lacking oxygen and with no ways of escape, Pao Pu-Zi exposes that he sent his message to Jet to apply his own “chi of magnetism” with the hope that he would bring his child with him so that he might bid farewell. The episode ends with Meifa making peace with her daddy, going back to Mars, and Jet reviewing how the something that’s altered because his encounter with Meifa is that he never ever takes a look at the horoscope pages when inspecting the news now, so as not to accidentally seal his own fate.
Developer Shinichirō Watanabe can’t coalesce the parts of an interesting story into a gratifying conclusion. What’s missing out on for the episode eventually, aside from any especially notable or unforgettable minutes of action or character advancement, is any form of clear tie-in in between the styles of the episode and the series as a whole. There’s absolutely nothing here similar to how Wen’s secret yearning for death in “Sympathy for the Devi” mirrors and foreshadows Spike’s own supreme fate in the series, or how Gren’s ruminations on what it indicates to be a “comrade” in “Jupiter Jazz” force the audience to analyze the collaboration in between Spike, Jet, and Faye aboard the Bebop. It doesn’t assist either that this episode is sandwiched in between “Pierrot Le Fou,” among the most renowned and action-packed episodes of the series, and “Cowboy Funk,” a fan-favorite episode for its main villain Teddy Bomber and Spike’s half-witted bane and comical foil Cowboy Andy.
Eventually, “Boogie Woogie Feng Shui” a so-so episode in a series specified by marvelously special, securely focused, and enduringly unforgettable highs. While it definitely is not without its own tips of appeal, it never ever rather completely enters its own and might quickly be avoided, however probably is so fairly inoffensive that it wouldn’t even matter if you did.
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.