Cowboy Bebop

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The main cast -- Jet, Spike, Faye, Ed, Ein.

I think it's time we blow this scene, get everybody and the stuff together... okay, three, two, one, let's jam!

Cowboy Bebop is a celebrated Science Fiction / Film Noir anime series consisting of 26 episodes (and one movie that takes place halfway in).

In the late 21st Century, Earth has become an unimportant backwater following a cosmic accident involving "hyperspace gates" that blew up half the moon and devastated the planet. Humanity has settled most of the solar system, with Mars becoming the new center of human society. Travel between worlds, while not especially fast, is commonplace and reasonably safe -- as long as you watch your fuel and your back. But wherever humanity goes, so goes its criminal element, and thus the need for those who hunt criminals. To help keep up with the rise in criminal behavior, the solar system police eventually reinstated the bounty system of the Wild West -- catch a bounty alive and deliver him to the cops, and you get paid. Gear up, space cowboys...

Originally broadcast from October 1998 to April 1999, Cowboy Bebop is the story of the five inhabitants of the spaceship Bebop and the living they (barely) make at bounty hunting. They are: hard-nosed ex-cop Jet Black, laid-back ex-hood and Jeet Kune Do master Spike Spiegel, gorgeous con-artist Faye Valentine, 13-year-old (mad) genius hacker girl Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV (or simply Ed), and the genetically engineered "data dog" Ein. The Bebop's crew faces dangerous criminals, occasional starvation, a particularly disgusting refrigerator, and their own dark pasts over the course of the 26-episode series. Although the primary thrust is dramatic, there are moments of humor leavening the story which -- despite its episodic nature -- carries along a continuing plot and builds to an explosive climax. One of the defining thematic choices the show makes is that everything has a rich backstory, but almost nothing is explained in full; the stories are concerned with the problems in the present, so in many cases, only an implied history is given.

The other half of Cowboy Bebop is its sound. First off, it's one of the few anime that doesn't lose anything if you switch to English. Bebop also thrives on its soundtrack, composed by Yoko Kanno, which is almost entirely jazz music, with a few tracks even defying categorization -- and some of the music was actually improvised to finished footage at the moment it was recorded. The show's soundtrack is not an afterthought, it is central to the experience, and many scenes are related solely through visuals and music, eschewing dialogue entirely.

Bebop was the very first anime to air on Adult Swim, starting on the very same night that the network itself premiered in August 2001. The show still airs in a regular timeslot on the network over a decade after its American TV debut, making it the network's longest-running show (Inuyasha is second; it started airing in early 2002).

The show is frequently evocative of both Westerns and Film Noir, though the single biggest influence on the look and feel of the series is the 80s and early 90s Heroic Bloodshed action movies directed by John Woo (such as A Better Tomorrow and The Killer); Lupin III is also a visible influence. Underneath the sci-fi and action flick surface, however, is an overall plot line primarily based on the most Japanese of all Japanese cinema: the Yakuza picture, a genre that is relatively unknown in the West.

A Cowboy Bebop movie (Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, aka Cowboy Bebop: Knocking on Heaven's Door) was released in 2001. Unlike many other anime movies, it is not an Alternate Continuity or sequel, but rather fits in between episodes 22 and 23 of the series, both in chronology and in quality. A live-action adaptation is currently in production (but has been for a long while), with Keanu Reeves confirmed as playing Spike Spiegel. At the very least, Reeves admitted he's a fan of the series.

A Star FOX-esque Playstation game and a beat-em-up Playstation 2 game based on the series were made, but were never released outside of Japan. If you're looking for Cowboy Bebop at His Computer, you'll have to import the PlayStation 2 game.

Now has its own recap page

The creator Shinichiro Watanabe went on to create a successful spiritual successor, Samurai Champloo.

"Bang..."


Cowboy Bebop is the Trope Namer for:


Tropes used in Cowboy Bebop include:

A-H[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Abandoned Mine: In "Heavy Metal Queen".
  • Absolute Cleavage: Judy from Big Shot. Faye also has her moments.
  • Abuse Is Okay When Its Female On Male: When Big Shot is cancelled, Judy shouts at Punch and gives him a Dope Slap. It's Played for Laughs, of course.
  • The Adventure Continues: When Ed and Ein leave the ship forever to find her father.
  • Aerith and Bob: When Julia and Faye meet, Faye claims that her name is "common" (it's really not). On the other hand, this is a series where characters can be called anything from Udai Taxim to ... Ed (when female), so anything is possible.
  • After the End: The "Gate Disaster" destroyed a chunk of the moon and the scattered fragments subject Earth to constant random meteorite impacts. Mars is the center of human society now.
  • All Deserts Have Cacti: Io in the Mushroom Samba episode. Could be considered a Justified Trope since all the planets are terraformed and therefore not natural anyway.
  • All Just a Dream:
    • Spike and Julia both seem to believe their entire lives are simply dreams.
    • Played with in The Movie which may or may not be just a dream (it starts with Spike falling asleep and ends with him waking up).
    • Also possibly the episode "Toys In The Attic", according to the Wild Mass Guessing below.
  • Almost-Lethal Weapons: Cowboy Bebop takes after Heroic Bloodshed movies, so this one's fairly common.
  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: Played with In-Universe in "Toys In The Attic". Each member of the crew monologues a different Aesop to the same story: Jet says people should work hard to earn things, Faye states that people can't trust each other and should take advantage of each other when possible, Edward serves us some Word Salad ("If you see a stranger, follow him!"), and Spike gives one that sounds like a Spoof Aesop but is actually probably more applicable to your daily life than almost any TV aesop ever -- Don't leave food in the refrigerator for too long.
  • Anachronism Stew: Old School Dogfighting IN SPACE? 20th-century handguns alongside domed cities? Why not? And then there's the soundtrack...
  • And I Must Scream: In the episode "Brain Scratch", the cult leader 'villain' turns out to be a young hacker who got brain damage from a mishap with a mind/machine interface, leaving him a functioning mind with a vegetative body. His only connection to the outside world is through cyberspace, and at the end of the episode Jet pulls that connection to keep him from harming anyone else and leaves him trapped in his own body. However, the kid winds up watching the happy, peaceful video he created to indoctrinate the cult inside his head, and the suggestion is that he's content to do so.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: The Space Warriors in "Gateway Shuffle". At least, they became this after "Twinkle" Maria Murdock took over the group.
  • Anti-Hero: Most main characters are morally-neutral type III, while Faye Valentine is a darker type IV.
  • Arc Words: He lived his life as though it were a dream...
  • Asleep for Days: Spike after being beaten up by Vicious in "Ballad of Fallen Angels".
  • Asteroid Miners: In the backstory of "Heavy Metal Queen", so that some of the action could take place in a deserted mine.
  • Asteroid Thicket: The asteroids in "Heavy Metal Queen" are closer together than one would find in reality.
  • Attempted Rape: Of the Dumb Blonde waitress in "Heavy Metal Queen".
  • Ave Machina: The philosophy of Scratch, who think humans can Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence through Brain Uploading.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Spike and Vicious do this in a flashback in "The Real Folk Blues".
  • Badass: The adults in the crew, and a fair few of the villains. Spike is the best of them.
  • Badass Adorable: Spike and Faye.
  • Badass Crew: The crew of the Bebop, of course. Yes, all of them. That does include the dog.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Vicious. Spike too, in a different way.
  • Badass Longcoat:
    • Vicious.
    • Spike wears one from time to time. Particularly whenever they meet.
    • Andy from "Cowboy Funk" wears a very nice duster.
    • Also used in the movie by the antagonist, Vincent (who is in many ways a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Vicious - compare their names, outfits and demeanor).
  • Bad Bad Acting: The 20th century television that the VCR collector is watching in "Speak Like a Child".
  • Bar Brawl: The one that breaks out in "Heavy Metal Queen" is one that those various bounty hunters won't soon forget. A few others take place in other episodes as well.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Faye, Ed, and Judy (the host of Big Shot).
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: All over the place.
  • Battle Couple: Subverted in "The Real Folk Blues". It looks like Spike and Julia are doing just fine escaping from Vicious' men, and then she gets shot and dies.
  • Battle in the Rain: The Final Battle between Spike and Vincent in The Movie.
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre: Moroccan Street in the movie.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: When government officials are portrayed positively, they will probably be this.
  • Berserk Button: Don't call Spike 'Vicious'. Just don't. Ironic in that calling Spike 'Vicious' triggered a very vicious reaction indeed. Spike doesn't like being compared to Andy either.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Never underestimate Ed, no matter how flighty she may seem.
    • Spike acts laid-back, and never seems to take personal offense to people trying to kill him. He's not even coldly methodical, he's just an easy-going cowboy. Right up until you piss him off.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Rocco towards his blind sister Stella, in "Waltz for Venus".
  • Big Eater: Ed, and also Faye (especially when she wakes up from being in stasis for 50 years).
  • Big "Shut Up!": Both Spike and Faye give one to Andy in "Cowboy Funk".
  • Bittersweet Ending: "Waltz For Venus". Sure. Rocco might've stopped Picarro and his thugs from harming Stella, sure the Bebop crew might've gotten their bounty (at a reduced price), and, sure, thanks to the four of them, Stella might be able to see, but Rocco is killed in the process, just as Spike's lessons are starting to sink in, which ultimately prevents him from being the first thing that Stella sees once she regains her vision.
  • BLAM Episode: Despite being a mainly episodic series, "Toys In The Attic" is arguably the best example.
  • Bland-Name Product: All over the place, e.g. "Boofeater's Gin".
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Wen and Spike have a Mexican Standoff where they do this to each other in "Sympathy for the Devil".
    • In "Waltz for Venus", Faye does it to the denizens of the Bad Guy Bar she finds herself in.
    • Tongpu does it to Spike in their last confrontation in "Pierrot le Fou".
  • Blob Monster: In "Toys in the Attic", the crew is attacked by a small black blob that escaped from a forgotten fridge in the back of the ship. They go hunting for it in a massive Alien homage, but find that it's more or less invincible, surviving gunshots and blasts from a flamethrower. Ed eventually manages to kill it by eating it in her sleep and digesting it.
  • Blood From the Mouth: In "Jupiter Jazz Part 2", when Spike finds Gren after his ship gets attacked by Vicious.
    • Also, in the first half of "The Real Folk Blues" when Vicious brutally murders each of the elders of the Red Dragon syndicate.
  • Bloodstained-Glass Windows: Featured in "Ballad of Fallen Angels".
  • Blown Across the Room: Generally averted, but does happen occasionally.
  • Blush Sticker: Ed has these permanently.
  • Body Horror:
    • When Spike shoots Wen in "Sympathy for the Devil" and he undergoes Rapid Aging, then dies.
    • Also the eco-terrorists turning into apes in "Gateway Shuffle".
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Besides Jet, Ed's father certainly qualifies.
  • Book Ends: Spike eats "beef" with green peppers before his first bounty in the series and before his last battle in the series. It becomes a Brick Joke in one episode: when the crew has nothing to eat, he mutters that he wishes he had some green peppers.
    • In both the very first episode and the very last (two-part) episode of the series, an unsuspecting bartender gets shot in the head. Each shot signals the beginning of a Bar Brawl. Likewise the names of the first and last episodes: "Asteroid Blues" and "The Real Folk Blues" respectively, both reference the same style of music.
    • "Jupiter Jazz" (a two-part episode) begins and ends with a scene about Laughing Bull.
    • "Wild Horses" begins and ends with a shot of Spike sitting glumly beside a crashed ship.
  • Boom! Headshot!: How Udai dies during "Black Dog Serenade", right before he's about to kill Jet.
    • Several Dragons die this way in the fight at Vicious' execution during "The Real Folk Blues".
    • Bartenders tend to get headshot before all hell breaks loose (see Book Ends above).
  • Bottle Episode: "Toys in the Attic" takes place entirely aboard the Bebop.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Vicious' Mooks wield automatic weapons which keep firing after they're dead. Averted in that Spike is shown reloading his pistol quite a few times.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: "Black Dog Serenade" - Jet thinks Udai Taxim was.
  • Bounty Hunter: The premise of the show in general.
  • Brain Uploading: The goal of the cult group Scratch in "Brain Scratch".
  • Brick Joke: In "Cowboy Funk", Faye and Jet fail to believe Spike's recounting of his run-in with Andy, saying the "cowboy character is completely unbelievable" but "if it were a samurai, then it might work". Guess what Andy decides to become at the end of the episode.

Andy: Call me Musashi, haha!

Spike: I wish she'd be more delicate!

    • In the beginning scene of "Toys in the Attic", Spike takes a bite of a kebab and makes a face because it tastes awful. When he's suiting up to find the blob-monster pest, he spears a piece of meat on his sword and takes a bite out of it... and makes a face again.
    • Dub-only example: Two episodes after "Big Shot" is cancelled, Faye sees a black man in the airport and remarks that he appears familiar. He's obviously the host of the show, except he's dressed differently and no longer talking in a Mexican accent. It's easy to miss unless you're paying close attention.
  • Broke Show: The crew very, very rarely bring in a successful bounty. When they do, it's off-screen, negated somehow, or the funds are eaten up to repair all the shit Spike broke chasing down the criminal.
  • Bulk-Buy Only: Food, in "Mushroom Samba".
  • Burial in Space: Gren in "Jupiter Jazz, Part II".
  • Camp Gay:
    • Julius and the transvestite prostitutes that Spike runs into on Callisto in "Jupiter Jazz".
    • Also, the couple in the seedy hotel Faye storms while picking info in "Waltz for Venus".
  • Can't Grow Up: Wen from "Sympathy for the Devil". Subverted as by the end of the episode he not only starts aging again, but he makes up for lost time...
  • Captain's Log: Dub-only, and usually delivered by Jet.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Spike is fond of this. In the bar shootout at the beginning of "The Real Folk Blues", he stops to take a sip of a martini and comments "too much vermouth".
  • Casual Interplanetary Travel: The constantly broke protagonists are nevertheless able to afford to operate an interplanetary fishing(!?) ship. This is facilitated by hyperspace, however. They do run out of fuel and food at points.
  • Catapult Nightmare
  • Chef of Iron: Jet can always be counted on to whip something up to eat (when there's food to cook), even if he only has one or two ingredients to work with.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Remember that poker chip from "Honky Tonk Women"? In the movie, Electra breaks one in half to scramble up Spike's tracking device. It seems they can be used for all manner of electronic purposes.
    • The music box from "Jupiter Jazz".
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Spike teaches Rocco to do a judo-like throw near the beginning of "Waltz for Venus". At the end, he does it to one of the villains and beams with approval and then gets shot and dies.
    • Ed shows that she can remotely steer ships via satellite when she wrecks the police cruiser during "Jamming with Edward". Guess how she directs the Bebop to come back for her at the end of the episode? And how she pilots the Bebop during "Hard Luck Woman", despite being aboard?
  • The Chessmaster: The appropriately-named Chessmaster Hex, in "Bohemian Rhapsody". Set an untraceable revenge plan into motion designed to take revenge against the corrupt Gate Corporation 50 years before the show's present. Also an actual accomplished master of the game of chess. By the time his plan completed itself, he was too senile to really appreciate it.
  • Chess Motifs: "Bohemian Rhapsody", being the episode that features The Chessmaster, is full of them.
  • Chiaroscuro: Used all over the place, e.g. some shots of Spike playing pool.
  • Chickification: Faye gets a bad case of this in the movie, not being able catch some pudgy hacker, and spending a fair chunk held hostage by Vincent.
  • Church of Happyology: Scratch, the Heaven's Gate-inspired cult in "Brain Scratch". Londes himself is an Expy of the HG's founder, Marshal Herff Applewhite.
  • The City Narrows: The area around the port on Mars.
  • Click Hello:
    • "Gateway Shuffle". Spike does it to the leader of the Space Warriors terrorist group.
    • Faye gives one to Spike before he heads off to confront Vicious in "The Real Folk Blues".
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Edward Wong Hau Pepulu Tivrusky IV gave herself that name, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
  • Combat Pragmatist: A lot of the characters exhibit this. Jet stops a bullet with his metal arm and then proceeds to headbutt his assailant into submission in "Black Dog Serenade". In the movie Spike uses a mop to subdue an opponent. During "Hard Luck Woman", Appledelhi throws a few eggs at Jet and Spike, aiming for their faces and to clog the barrels of their guns.
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live: Meifa does this to Jet when they get shot at by gangsters in the cemetery during "Boogie Woogie Feng Shui".
  • Con Man: Whitney from "My Funny Valentine". Faye is a female example.
  • Conspicuous CG:
    • The sunstone device (Luo-Pan) from "Boogie Woogie Feng Shui" and the space-warehouse in "Wild Horses", along with Gate and water effects in various episodes.
    • It's used to surprisingly good effect in "Pierrot Le Fou" where many scenes of Mad Pierrot (including his creepy origin and balloonish flying) contain unsettling amounts of CG. It creates a disturbing, Uncanny Valley effect, as though Pierrot doesn't conform to reality's limits.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: Shows up occasionally.
  • Continuous Decompression: "Heavy Metal Queen" - When V.T. opens the Heavy Metal Queen's airlock to rescue Spike, the air rushes out for at least thirty seconds and yet there's still air left when he gets in. Of course, he also survives being spaced that long without air, so don't expect a high degree of realism here.
  • Conveniently-Close Planet: The reason for Moon debris falling to the Earth.
  • Conveniently-Timed Attack From Behind:
    • Gren rescuing Faye in "Jupiter Jazz".
    • Fad rescues Jet from Udai Taxim this way during "Black Dog Serenade".
  • Cool but Inefficient: Subverted hard with Vicious's katana. Not only does it look badass, but he regularly wields it against enemies armed with guns, and is still a force to be reckoned with!
  • Cool Gate: The hyperspace gates.
  • Cool Plane: Spike, Faye, Vicious and other characters have their own personal fighters which they use for Old School Dogfighting.
  • Cool Starship: The Bebop, an old fishing ship that Jet modified and brought out of retirement for bounty-hunting. It lands in water, meaning that it doubles as a Cool Boat.
  • Couldn't Find a Lighter: "Toys in the Attic". After a running fight with Blob Monster running amok on the Bebop, Spike arms himself to the teeth, including a flamethrower. He thought he'd try it out to light up his cigarette. It incinerated the cigarette completely.
  • Cowboy Episode: While bounty hunters are called "cowboys" in-universe, we only see an actual horse-riding lariat-using cowboy during "Cowboy Funk".
  • Cranial Eruption: What may possibly be the most comedic and out-of-character scene compared to the rest of the series, the three bounty hunters that Spike beats up at the bar in "Heavy Metal Queen" are covered in these all over their faces.
  • Crazy People Play Chess: "Bohemian Rhapsody" involves Ed going up against a lunatic chess master over the Internet.
  • Crazy Prepared: Just look at all the gear Spike packs for hunting a blob of goo in "Toys in the Attic" for no other reason than Rule of Funny. He even brings a rapier! (Which may have been a barbecue fork.)
  • Creepy Child: Wen, the harmonica-playing kid from "Sympathy for the Devil" who is also Really 700 Years Old.
  • Creepy Cool Crosses: The church in "Ballad of Fallen Angels".
  • Criminal Doppelganger: In "Honky Tonk Women" - Faye's first appearance - Faye mistakes Spike for the guy who was supposed to help her smuggle a computer chip hidden in a gambling chip during a game of blackjack. The screen was fuzzy so she couldn't see the details but he had the same fluffy hair and snazzy blue suit and, by sheer power of coincidence, even performed half the code phrase before walking off with the completely normal chip.
  • Cue the Sun: At the end of the finale.
  • Cult Soundtrack: This is not the end of you hearing about the soundtrack. You will find in trope descriptions, you will find it in fan sigs, you will find it in multipage comics, you will find it in little shrines in people's bathrooms.
  • Culture Chop Suey: The Cowboy Bebop universe seems to be a mishmash of Eastern and Western cultures (not unlike another famous sci-fi series that came later) with multiple languages and ethnicities.
  • Curb Stomp Battle:
    • The series is full of them, really, considering it's a World of Badass.
    • Abdul Hakim beats up a group of Mooks pretty easily during "Stray Dog Strut".
    • Ed's dad hands both Spike and Jet (who was armed) their blue-clad behinds during "Hard Luck Woman". This is possibly the only fight in the series where friggin' Spike is completely outclassed. One wonders how different the ending would have been if Vicious had managed to run into Spike just a few seconds before the fight with Ed's dad started... Yeah, he's that Badass.
  • Curse Cut Short: in the English dub of "Black Dog Serenade", Faye is clearly heard to say "what the fu-" when the hot water cuts out, right before descending into startled gibberish.
  • Cyberpunk: IN SPACE!
  • Darkened Building Shootout:
  • Dark Reprise: "See You Space Cowboy", the lower and even sadder version of the ending credits theme ("The Real Folk Blues", which wasn't exactly happy to begin with...) that plays during Spike's assault in "The Real Folk Blues".
  • Darkskinned Blonde: Johnathan from "Bohemian Rhapsody".
  • Dead Guy on Display: "Ballad of Fallen Angels". Vicious puts Mao's body on display at the opera he was going to attend to make a statement about Mao and to lure Spike out of hiding.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Spike. Not that Jet and Faye don't engage in snarking every now and then, but Spike easily and consistently outdoes them.
  • Death Equals Redemption: "Black Dog Serenade". Jet seems to forgive Fad for betraying him (and causing him to lose his arm along the way) after his death. He even places his revolver in his hand so it looks like he went down fighting.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Many flashback scenes are like this, including those of Spike and Jet, as well as the opening of "Pierrot Le Fou".
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Dub-only:
    • Spike refers to a ship as an "old ancient relic".
    • Ed's father mentions that his goal is "peaceful peace".
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Wen from "Sympathy For The Devil" is defeated by a bullet crafted out of a special gemstone.
  • Destination Defenestration: Happens to Spike in "Ballad of Fallen Angels".
  • Destructive Savior: Spike's penchant for destruction during the pursuit of a bounty head racks up serious bills, which is one of the reasons why the Bebop crew live in Perpetual Poverty.
  • Detonation Moon: shown in flashback during "Sympathy for the Devil". The constant creation of new impact craters means any attempt to map the surface is a quixotic venture, as shown in "Hard Luck Woman".
  • Did You Actually Believe?: Vicious says this to Julia in a flashback during "The Real Folk Blues", when he's hunting down Spike.
  • Did You Die?: Faye asks Ed if she's dead when she receives an electric shock from her computer which knocks her on her back.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Julia with Spike, in "The Real Folk Blues".
  • Dirty Cop: Three reasons why Bounty Hunters are necessary in this universe: 1) Many of the ISSP members are totally corrupt 2) Many of them are totally gutless 3) Justifiably they don't have nearly enough manpower to police the whole solar system.
    • "Black Dog Serenade": Jet's former partner Fad is an example, being a counterpoint to Jet's By-The-Book Cop nature. He's also a former mole for the Syndicate.
  • Disappeared Dad:
  • Dissonant Serenity:
    • Space Land in "Pierrot le Fou".
    • Done beautifully in "Ballad of Fallen Angels".
    • "Ganymede Elegy" during the chase scene.
  • Disturbed Doves: "The Real Folk Blues". A flock of these go flying when Julia is killed. Another flock takes off when Spike apparently dies.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Ed is never seen wearing them, and apparently hadn't for a significant time prior to her appearance as she has proven herself skilled at typing with her toes. The anime goes even further to demonstrate exactly how uncomfortable Edward is with footwear. She at one point in "Mushroom Samba" wanted to wear socks outside because she thought them to be cool, but was completely unable to keep her footing and immediately discarded them.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: "Mom" ("Twinkle" Maria Murdoch) does this in "Gateway Shuffle".
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: All over the place (the series has Noisy Guns in general).
  • Dramatic Space Drifting
  • Dramatic Wind: "Hard Luck Woman". When Faye finds her old house and discovers there's nothing left but ruins.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Subverted in "Boogie Woogie Feng Shui". Jet asks a bartender to leave the bottle... before smashing a gangster over the head with it.
  • Dude, Where's My Reward?: Ed to Faye, many times.
  • Dwindling Party: In "Toys in the Attic", when each member of the crew gets bitten by the blob monster in turn until only Spike is left. And then Ed eats it in her sleep.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome Spike, when his star finally falls at the very end of the series.
  • Earth That Used to Be Better: The human population of Earth hasn't totally died off, but the surface has become a blasted wasteland from constant meteorite showers, most of the population has gone underground, and the rest of the solar system has stopped caring.
  • Easy Evangelism: Apparently, Scratch in "Brain Scratch". They brainwash Faye and almost Jet as well. Only Ein seems to be immune to their indoctrination efforts, possibly because he is a dog.
  • Elevator Failure: "Speak Like a Child". A plummeting elevator almost kills Spike and Jet when exploring the ruins of old Tokyo.
  • Enemy Civil War: "The Real Folk Blues". The Dragons have an inter-factional war in the last episode led by Vicious against the old guard.
  • Enemy Mine: "The Real Folk Blues". Shin turns against Vicious to help Spike.
  • Establishing Shot: The same shot of the harbor on Mars is used in quite a few episodes.
  • Everybody Smokes: Especially Spike. A Running Gag has him lighting up and then being told there's no smoking permitted.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Spike for Julia.
  • Everything Is Online: Ed can hack anything. Anything.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: "Gateway Shuffle". The Space Warriors, ecologists gone bad, try to release a serum to turn everyone into apes.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French: La Fin ("the end", the bar owned by Jet's ex-girlfriend Elisa in "Ganymede Elegy".
    • Spike visits a pool hall with a French name in one episode.[context?]
  • Evil Counterpart: Vicious and Vincent in particular, but many other bounty heads all over the place as well. Many of the one-off bounty heads resemble the main cast strongly, dress like them, or at the very least have similar character traits. Helps fuel Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory.
  • Executive Suite Fight: "The Real Folk Blues". The climatic battle in the last episode takes place in the Red Dragon Syndicate's headquarters.
  • Explosions in Space: One of the many ways the show takes Acceptable Breaks From Reality when it comes to Space Does Not Work That Way (see Space Is Noisy).
  • Extreme Graphical Representation: Frequently whenever computers are used, but Ed's hacking in "Jamming with Edward" takes it to a whole new level.
  • Extreme Omnivore: It seems sometimes that Ed will eat literally anything, included spoiled food. Spoiled food that is independently mobile.
  • Eye Scream:
    • "The Real Folk Blues": "You will shed tears of scarlet."
    • In "Asteroid Blues", we're shown how Red Eye is taken. You stick the vial in front of your eye and a needle comes out. This trope is subverted, since Red Eye is actually taken with a special device by putting in the vial and use a trigger to spray a measured amount in your eye from the needle-like nozzle. Double subverted near the end of the episode when the bounty attempts to take more Red Eye directly from the vial, without the applicator, which he has to do by breaking the vial because it's not made to be used without the applicator, and the glass shards get all over his eye.
  • Face Death with Dignity: A less serious example in "Wild Horses", where it seems that Spike and his Swordfish will be unwillingly burning up in Earth's atmosphere in short time; Spike coolly lights a stogie and tells Jet to help himself to his secret whiskey behind the fridge.
    • A dramatic example in "Jupiter Jazz, Part II" when Gren asks Spike to put him in his ship before he dies.
  • Face, Nod, Action: In "Boogie Woogie Feng Shui", the two gunmen pursuing Jet and the girl do this just before they enter the bar.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: They will never catch "the big bounty" and solve their money troubles. They can only hope to get a few of the small ones.
    • In the case of Chessmaster Hex during "Bohemian Rhapsody", they do manage to put themselves in a situation where they could have become rich. They decide to give up any monetary award so that the by-then senile old man will be left alone and Ed can finish her game.
    • Averted in "Cowboy Funk", when Faye successfully handed Teddy Bomber over to the police, earning 3 million woolongs.
  • Faking the Dead: Whitney does this to Faye in "My Funny Valentine".
  • False Friend: Faye is notorious for abandoning the Bebop on a whim, only to return later when she needs money or help. Surprisingly played with Jet (when Spike goes after Julia), who is willing to let the latter die on grounds of They're Called "Personal Issues" for a Reason.
  • Famous Last Words:
    • "Bang." - Spike.
    • "It's all a dream." - Julia.
    • "As you wish." - Vicious.
  • Fan of the Past: Only in one episode.[context?]
  • Fan Service:
    • Faye is fanservice incarnate, although it's implied she does this on purpose, to distract men.
    • Judy from Big Shots seems to be an intentional example for the sake of the show's ratings.
  • Fantastic Drug: Red Eye.
  • Fast Roping: "Speak Like a Child". Spike and Jet do it when exploring an elevator shaft on Earth.
  • Film Noir: Plays a major influence on the series and applies to most of the more serious episodes, especially the finale.
  • Finger Gun: Used by Spike in "Sympathy for the Devil" as well as the last episode.
  • Finishing Stomp: "Pierrot le Fou". Tongpu's fate when a giant animatronic cartoon dog turns him into paste.
  • Five-Man Band: If you count the dog, and you should. Team Pets have an unfortunate history of being discounted.
  • Fleeting Passionate Hobbies: The ending of "Cowboy Funk" shows that Andy has given up his devotion to being a Cowboy Cop... to become a Samurai Cowboy.
  • The Florence Nightingale Effect: How Julia and Spike fell in love.
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Spike is the Phlegmatic, Faye is the Choleric, Jet is the Melancholic, Ed is the Sanguine, Ein is the Supine.
  • Four Philosophy Ensemble: Faye is the Cynic, Spike is the Optimist, Jet is the Realist, Ed is Apathetic, Ein is the Conflicted, being a dog with loyalties to everyone.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The title sequence has several factoids about the Bebop musical movement. Said factoids are often repeated during eyecatches for various episodes.
  • Fridge Logic: Used in-universe in the episode preview pertaining to "Jamming with Edward".

Spike: Wait, if you made up that name, how can you be the Fourth?

  • Friendly Local Chinatown:
    • A Chinatown on Mars is the setting for "Boogie Woogie Feng Shui".
    • The Movie also features Spike on the beat in a Moroccan community.
  • Friend on the Force: Jet has a few, befitting his status as an ex-cop.
  • Fruit Cart: In "Asteroid Blues", Spike chases a fugitive through a marketplace and knocks over a game of Go that's in progress.
  • Funny Background Event: In "Heavy Metal Queen", when Jet tells Spike that the ship isn't fixed yet, you can see Ein trying to walk in zero gravity (wiggly corgi legs!). In "Cowboy Funk", while the group discusses Spike's dislike of Andy there is a brief shot of Ein wearing a purple wig on his head for no reason.
  • Gaia's Lament: Earth.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: In the movie. Spike suffers one before his final fight with Vincent.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Spike (and also Faye) get chased by a group of them in "Jupiter Jazz".
  • Gatling Good: The Swordfish and several other ships have chainguns mounted on them.
  • Genius Ditz: Ed is the best hacker. Period. She is also dexterous, good at chess, and completely and utterly out of her gourd. It's telling she's closest to the crew member who happens to be a super-genius, non-verbal dog with an esoteric sense of humor.
  • Genre Busting / Genre Roulette: Noir? Check. Western? Check. Sci-Fi? Check. Cyberpunk? Check. All set to a heady jazz soundtrack.

The work, which becomes a new genre itself, will be called... Cowboy Bebop.

  • Goggles Do Something Unusual:
    • Used extensively for tracking down bounties. They can zoom in, compare facial features to a database to bring up info on a bounty, and enable infrared vision.
    • There are also Ed's computer display goggles.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Despite not possessing Spike's knowledge of martial arts, Jet is able to stand up to better trained opponents thanks to his size, resourcefulness, robotic arm, and police training. Spike also ends up having uncharacteristic trouble subduing Andy in hand-to-hand combat, who doesn't appear to have any martial arts training at all... which may be exactly the reason why.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: "The Real Folk Blues":
    • Vicious killing a mob leader with his sword is shown from the back.
    • Don't forget the "tears of crimson" scene. With Vicious too, of course.
  • Grand Finale: The two-part "The Real Folk Blues"; its iconic ending scene is considered by some to be one of the greatest endings (and, in some eyes, the greatest ending) in the history of anime.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Strangely, for a show translated from Japanese, Ed uses some in "Jupiter Jazz" when she's tracking Julia on the computer.
  • Great Offscreen War:
    • Vicious, Gren, and Vincent were involved in the war on Titan. While brief glimpses of the war are shown, the war is never explained.
    • Spike's past involvements in the Red Dragon Syndicate, his partnership and friendship with Vicious, and how he came to meet Julia is also told in this manner - brief glimpses (silent stills, mostly) are shown, but nothing is ever really explained in words.
  • Great Way to Go: Played for Drama, interestingly enough.[context?]
  • Growling Gut: Heard often when the crew of the Bebop is starving, and once when Faye was made sick to her stomach by expired food.
  • Guns Akimbo: Spike does this from time to time.
  • Gun Struggle: "The Real Folk Blues". Spike and Vicious fight for each others' weapons in their last battle.
  • Hair Colors: Of the realistic kind, aside from Spike's green and Faye's violet, both of which could be seen as stylizations on black. And in fact are, depending on the lightning of the scene.
  • Half Arc Season: An early example.
  • Handguns: Spike, by preference, to the point where he'll go Guns Akimbo rather than switch to more powerful weapons.
  • Handy Cuffs: In "Pierrot le Fou", while Tongpu is being taken along a passageway by two guards his hands are cuffed in front to him. He takes advantage of this to eliminate the guards and escape.
  • Helium Speech: In "Waltz For Venus".
  • Heroic Bloodshed: Any episode featuring Spike, Vicious, and the Red Dragon Syndicate.
  • Heroic Dog: Ein, somewhat. He manages to get a Moment of Awesome during "Brain Scratch".
  • "Hey You!" Haymaker: Used by Faye to catch the Teddy Bomber during "Cowboy Funk".
    • Spike gives one to a criminal at the beginning of "Bohemian Rhapsody".
  • Historical In-Joke: The space shuttle Columbia in "Wild Horses".
  • Hoist By Their Own Petard:
    • Happens to the Space Warriors in "Gateway Shuffle" when the vial containing their biological weapon smashes, complete with an Oh Crap look from "Mom" (their leader).
    • "Black Dog Serenade": One of Udai's criminals tries to flee the scene through the airlock... and promptly spaces himself.
    • The pirates in "Wild Horses" are defeated by linking their ships together with their tow cables; presumably they drift off into the atmosphere.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Apparently Ed can hack into literally anything, including satellites, from her PC.
    • The decoders in "Bohemian Rhapsody" crack into the hyperspace gates in a matter of seconds. You'd think such important infrastructure would be more secure. (Justified: The decoders were (unknowingly) working for the guy who helped build them and therefore knew just how to crack them.)
  • Hollywood Healing: Mostly for Spike. It's not uncommon for him to be bandaged from head to toe in one episode and without a scratch in the next. Somewhat justified in that it is the future and replacement body parts are available, alongside other advanced medical technology, and it isn't clear whether Spike is a normal human. Of course, given the episodic nature of the series, there is no confirmation of just how much time passes between any episodes. Days, weeks, months... That's a lot of time to heal.
  • Homage: The series is famous for it.
    • The fights between Spike and Abdul Hakim in "Stray Dog Strut" are straight out of Enter the Dragon.
    • "Toys in the Attic" is a homage to Alien.
  • Honor Before Reason: They can protest their own mercenary ways as much as they'd like, but Spike and Jet are heroes; they often let several bounties and other lucrative opportunities get away to do the right thing. A good example is Spike, a self-proclaimed dog-hater, saving Ein and giving up the bounty (and taking on the dog as a member of the crew afterwards) - making it a literal case of petting the dog.
  • How Dare You Die on Me!: "Waltz for Venus". Spike says this to Rocco before leaving to get help after he's shot. He dies anyway.
  • How Much More Can He Take?: The Final Battle from The Movie. One of the few times that Spike is very obviously outclassed in personal combat.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: "Ganymede Elegy". Jet and his former love interest, Alisa, complete with Protector/Protectee relationship dynamic. She doesn't want to be protected though.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • When Faye eats Ein's food since it's the only thing left in the fridge.

Faye: If you don't work, you don't eat. You're a hunting dog, hunt up some food. We girls are different. We have to be pampered because we're delicate and refined. (wolfs down entire can of dog food).

    • Jet laughs at her for having an upset stomach when she eats spoiled rations in "Mushroom Samba". His stomach promptly growls, revealing that he ate them as well.
    • The pirates from "Wild Horses" jokingly compare themselves to Robin Hood-like social reformers for stealing ships from other people.

I-R[edit | hide]

  • Freudian Trio: Spike, Jet and Faye arguably fit this better than an Ein-and-Ed-supported Five-Man Band. Jet is the superego, Spike is the ego, and Faye is the id.
  • I Am Dying Please Take My Macguffin: In "Gateway Shuffle". It turns out to be a biological weapon.
    • Another one in "Sympathy for the Devil". It's the ring which Spike uses to kill Wen.
  • I Owe You My Life: Spike says this to Lin's brother when he saves him from the Dragons.
    • Julia to Faye as well after saving her from Syndicate hitmen.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Vicious pretends to be led willingly to his execution. It's all part of a Xanatos Gambit to gain control of the Red Dragon Syndicate; he planted his own men among the crowd.
  • I Was Just Passing Through: Spike saving Faye from Vicious in episode 5 (he probably meant it, but he still shot the man holding her hostage first instead of Vicious). Jet goes chasing after Faye in episode 12 "for the money in the safe she emptied" (she later reveals it only had 20,000 woolongs in it, about a tenth of what the crew makes on the small fries they do catch). Faye completes the circle by doing this with Spike in episode 18.
  • I Will Find You: Spike towards Julia.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The episodes are called "Sessions". See Titled After the Song below for further info.
  • Ignored Enemy: Teddy Bomber.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Syndicate mobsters almost never hit anywhere near the heroes. Gets a Lampshade Hanging in Boogie Woogie Feng Shui when one Mook remarks to another, "What are you aiming at?".
    • Subverted in the show's finale, when some anonymous marksman kills Julia short from escape.
  • Implacable Man:
    • Mad Pierrot.
    • Ed's father. He stands there unflinchingly when she drives the ship right up to him.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Faye is a good enough shot to blow out the tires of a mobster's car. Twice.
  • Improbable Weapon User:
    • Ed. Water pistols full of "stinky gas"?
    • Ed's dad, who takes out Jet with an egg.
  • In Space Everyone Can See Your Face
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Faye's doctor makes one about his drinking and lampshades how lame it is himself.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Rhint in "Ganymede Elegy".
  • Infrared X Ray Camera: Spike has a portable infrared device aboard the Bebop that comes in handy in one episode.
  • Insecurity Camera: In "Black Dog Serenade", Jet notices he's being watched by a camera and promptly shoots it.
  • Insignificant Little Blue Planet: To quote Jet: "Nothing good comes from the Earth."
  • Insistent Terminology: Ed calls Faye "Faye-Faye" in one episode, even though Faye tells her not to.
  • Instant Sedation: When Spike confronts Vicious and is shot with a tranquilizer dart. He's also blown backwards, so it looks like he really did get shot.
  • Instant Waking Skills: Averted. In a half-asleep state of mind, Ed reveals something to Faye that she must know more about. She forcefully shocks Edward awake by forcing air into her lungs and disrupts her natural breathing, but in the next scene, we see Edward is still trying to wake up and adjust.
  • Intoxication Ensues: The spoiled mushrooms from "Mushroom Samba".
  • ISO Standard Urban Groceries: Spike carries a bag of them when he runs into Andy on his horse, and there is the inevitable "groceries spilling all over the place" scene.
  • It Came From the Fridge: "Toys in the Attic".
  • It Has Been an Honor: When Spike faces the possibility of his ship burning up in "Wild Horses", he calmly lights a cigarette and tells Jet about his secret whiskey while calling him Buddy.
  • It's Personal: Spike's Final Battle with Vicious after Julia is killed.
    • He gets some help from Shin, who feels this way about his brother dying because of Vicious.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Jet gets information out of the gangsters chasing him and Meifa by grabbing one in a choke-hold with his artificial arm and holding the jagged end of a broken beer bottle disturbingly close to the gangster's eye.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: Spike does this in the movie.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Spike and Jet. Don't let that exterior fool you -- they put Honor Before Reason several times. To a lesser extent, this could also be said to apply to Faye. Really, with the exclusion of Ein (a hyper-intelligent dog) and Ed (who is just weird), everyone on the Bebop puts on a massive show about only being interested in money and yet all of them tend to do the right thing in the end.
  • Jump Off a Bridge: In "Boogie Woogie Feng Shui", Jet and the girl jump off the top of a stone wall and land on a passing bus to avoid the two pursuing gunmen.
  • Just Eat Him: The only way to kill the Blob Monster in "Toys in the Attic", which seems to be an homage to both Alien and Weird Al's Living in the Fridge.
  • Just Testing You: In "Stray Dog Strut":

Driving Lab Tech: Is this thing [a dog whistle] on? I can't hear it.
Glasses Lab Tech: It's a frequency too high for humans to hear.
Driving Lab Tech: (Beat) I knew that. I was testing you.

"My ship always works when I kick it..."

S-Z[edit | hide]

  • Sacrificial Lion: Lin's brother, Shin. He turns against Vicious to help Spike, but dies.
  • Sadistic Choice: Vicious gives one to Julia - kill Spike or they both die.
  • Samurai Cowboy: Cowboy Andy - call him Musashi!
  • Sassy Black Woman: Coffee from "Mushroom Samba".
  • Scannable Man: Whitney Haggis Matsumoto mentions to Faye that they're fairly standard among the citizens who live on that moon. Except he's lying. We find out in a later episode that they're standard for prisoners.
  • Scary Black Man: Udai Taxim. Abdul Hakim to a lesser degree.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Udai has them.
  • Schizo-Tech: The series apparently has computers and cell phones that look like they're from the early 90s at best, as well as personal starships and hyperspace gates. Starship armament is a mix of particle beam/laser weaponry, missiles, and autocannons. Handheld weaponry includes modern firearms like the Walther P99 and Jericho 941, while older firearms like the Browning Hi-Power and even the Colt Single Action Army (the quintessential cowboy revolver) make an appearance as well.
  • Second-Person Attack: Combined with a "Hey You!" Haymaker in "Cowboy Funk".
  • Self-Deprecation: The episodes' trailers often contain this.
  • Senior Sleep Cycle: Jet tries to interrogate one of Dr. Londes' old colleagues about his whereabouts. He promptly falls asleep, leaving Jet with no useful information.
  • Sexophone: Appears in "Jupiter Jazz" when Faye is at Gren's apartment.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: "Speak Like A Child", a comedic example. The tape is worthless to everyone but its intended recipient, and the episode's main problem eventually resolves itself without intervention from the cast. However, because of who the package's recipient is and what its contents are, the ending is very serious.
    • "Mushroom Samba", and a few other episodes.
  • Shonen Hair: Spike and Ed.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns:
    • Happens gradually in the build-up to the final two episodes - Ed and Ein leave, then we come across the male host of Big Shot (which has just been canceled) having a nice moment with his mother. After that point, shit goes down.
    • In episode 23 "Brain Scratch", the body of Jobim, one of the Three Old Men, is laying in the rubble by the television tower.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Faye does this to Whitney's handcuffs.
  • Shoot the Fuel Tank: Spike tries this as a way of dealing with Mad Pierrot. It doesn't work.
  • Shout-Out: There are more shout-outs (and Theme Naming below) than this page can possibly list. The Jazz Messengers has a full list of all intentional and probable references for every episode.
    • Sunrise previously worked on Batman: The Animated Series, and as tribute based Tongpu on The Joker and the Penguin.
    • The opening of the movie could be one toward the beginning of Pulp Fiction. Starts with a Take That aimed at Jules ("Another wannabe preacher with a gun."), some Casual Danger Dialog, and finishes up with everything (very nearly) going to hell when the one guy they didn't know about comes out of the bathroom with a gun.
    • Vicious bears more than a passing resemblance to Captain Harlock, right down to the cormorant that likes to perch on his shoulder.
    • "Jamming with Edward" is notable for containing quite a few Shout Outs to 2001: A Space Odyssey", including a sentient AI that looks and talks like HAL 9000.
    • Asimov Solensan's name is a reference to the famous science fiction writer, Isaac Asimov.
  • Show Within a Show: Big Shot. Gives info on fugitives in a rather silly manner, which mostly just informs the audience, as the crew already knows most of what is said and even some more.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Ed is purported to be a "seven-foot-tall ex-basketball pro, Hindu guru, drag queen alien" before the crew actually meets her in "Jammin' with Edward".
  • Shut UP, Hannibal: Spike delivers one to Dr. Londes and fires his gun at the monitor he's appearing on. Subverted in that it doesn't work, but luckily, Ed is working on disabling the signal.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Lin and Shin.
  • Silent Credits: The beginning of the last episode does not include "Tank!".
  • Sincerity Mode: Spike is flabbergasted when Faye bumps into him and apologizes like she really means it. The reason is that she's on her way to find the answers to her questions about her past life.
  • Singing Simlish: "Wo Qui Non Coin" has a verse in Japanese and a verse in French-sounding gibberish.
  • Sitcom Arch Nemesis: Andy.
  • Slap Slap Kiss: Subverted; Faye and Spike bicker constantly, but it never gets past a proto-UST stage.
  • Slasher Smile: Tongpu has one of these so madly twisted you can hear his teeth grinding.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Ed and Hex have a week-long chess match in "Bohemian Rhapsody".
  • Smoking Is Cool: Spike, Jet, and Faye, the heroes of the show, all smoke.
  • Soft Glass: Spike gets thrown right through a stained-glass window and seems relatively unhurt (considering he also fell three stories onto pavement, but never mind that). Andy also bursts through a plate-glass window on his horse and both are unscathed.
  • Solemn Ending Theme: "The Real Folk Blues" as the answer to the intro theme "TANK!"
  • Something Blues: "The Real Folk Blues"; "Asteroid Blues".
  • Sort-of Missing the Point: In the audio commentary for the DVD release of episode one, the voice-actors for Jet and Spike discuss the episode and the series as a whole. When watching Spike's last fight of the episode they describe it as a scene similar to Bruce Lee, apparently unaware that it's a shot-for-shot remake of a Bruce Lee scene.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • Intentionally employed with the cheery Space Warriors jingle playing over a scene of dead and wounded diners.
    • Sometimes, you don't even need visuals.
    • Also, the fight between Spike and Pierrot in a theme park. The merry fanfare gets more distorted and horrifying the more you and Spike realize he's completely outmatched and about to die.
  • Space Friction: Only during dogfights. When low on fuel, the crew makes the lack of friction work to their advantage.
  • Space Is Cold: A very rare aversion. Spike exposes himself to direct space a few times in the show and seems none the worse for wear, not counting the lack of air.
    • In "Mushroom Samba", though, when Faye gets on his nerves he irritatedly tells her that he'll expose her to absolute zero.
  • Space Is Noisy: The whole of the show chooses to go for fun rather than realism by reproducing all sounds in space, including guns, energy weapons, engines and collisions.
  • Space Trucker: "Heavy Metal Queen" focuses on searching for one.
  • Space Western
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Spike in the spinoff manga, Cowboy Bebop: Shooting Star though Spike's fate in the original series is ambiguous and Shooting Star was cancelled before it had an opportunity to kill him.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": A sort-of example exists in Ed's name being spelled Edward Wang Hwe Pepel Cybulski 4th in the background text in the opening (as opposed to Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky the 4th).
  • Splash of Color: In some of the Deliberately Monochrome scenes, e.g. the rose that represents Julia.
  • Stab the Scorpion: Vicious does this in a flashback set on Titan.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Spike and Julia.
  • Stoners Are Funny: The hippies from the squatters' colony in "Bohemian Rhapsody".
  • Storming the Castle: Spike's one-man assault on the Red Dragon in the Grand Finale.
  • Stripperific: Faye's wardrobe.
  • Suicide by Cop: Fad tricking Jet into shooting him out of repentance. See One Bullet Left.
  • Super Reflexes: This is one of the effects of the Psycho Serum Bloody Eye, with both Asimov Solensan and Vicious being notable users.
  • Surprise Checkmate: Edward in "Bohemian Rhapsody".
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Vincent in The Movie is a pretty obvious stand-in for Vicious both being Evil Counterpart to Spike, while Elektra relationship with Vincent is similar to Julia's relationship with Spike (past lovers who still care about each other) she's a trained soldier while Julia is not.
  • Sympathetic Criminal: Many of the bounties that the Bebop crew encounters, as well as the crew themselves.
  • The Syndicate: The Red Dragon.
  • Take That: During its original airing in Japan, a number of episodes were deemed unairable due to recent school violence. It was questionable whether the series would extend beyond episode 13. In response to this, an episode entitled "Session 13.5: Mish-Mash Blues" was made featuring scenes from the unairable episodes with the voice actors discussing the show. Many people don't know that Cowboy Bebop actually has a Japanese Hip-Hop song called "Recover the Sky of Day", which reflects the somber situation of society at the time, among its list of ED songs.
  • Taking the Bullet: Lin dies to protect Vicious.
  • Talking Through Technique: Subverted in "Bohemian Rhapsody". The crew thinks that the chess pieces they found on apprehended thieves might hold some secret message, but they were merely a signal from the mastermind to his former employers that it was he who was pulling the jobs. He had a reputation as a chess lover.
  • Terrain Sculpting: The recreation of the Nazca Lines (and, thanks to Ed, a giant smiley), by the MPU satellite.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Jet tells Meifa he's not old enough to be her father, but he is old enough to be her boyfriend... or older brother...
  • Theme Naming:
    • Not as noticeable as others, but: Spike - 5 letters; Faye - 4 letters; Jet - 3; Ed - 2; and the dog Ein (Ein being the German word for one).
    • Also, the three old men--Antonio, Carlos, and Jobim--are named after Antonio Carlos "Tom" Jobim, the guy who wrote Girl From Ipanema.
    • Three Space Pirates named George, Harman, and Ruth, after a famous baseball player better known as "Babe".
    • There's also Punch and Judy, the hosts of the bounty showcase program "Big Shots", who get their names from a famous puppet duo.
    • There's a trio of bounty heads that show up briefly in one episode named Huey, Dewey, and Louie, undoubtedly a reference to the Disney characters.
    • The main characters' spaceships are the Swordfish, the Redtail, and the Hammerhead; all named after marine life.
  • There Are No Therapists: The poor crew. A ex-gangster whose former-best-friend-now-sworn-enemy is actively out to kill him, an ex-cop whose past still creeps up on him, a compulsive gambler and con artist who doesn't know her own past or real name, and Ed (whose father just sort of forgot her somewhere, though she doesn't mind)... somebody please pass this crew some anti-depressants. At least Ein's probably well-adjusted, despite being an escaped science experiment with a genius-level intellect. But then, he is a dog.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Spike to Cowboy Andy during their rooftop confrontation in episode 22 "Cowboy Funk".
  • Those Three Guys: Antonio, Carlos, and Jobim, who inexplicably show up in every other episode, from Earth to Mars to an abandoned space junkheap full of space hobos, always either ranting about the old days or vaguely mentioning something plot-relevant.
  • Three Plus Two: Perhaps a more fitting example of the Bebop's dynamic than Five-Man Band, as Ein and Ed are mostly comic relief characters with comparatively little dramatic character development.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Spike does this to the contaminated refrigerator in "Toys in the Attic".
  • Titled After the Song:
    • "Stray Dog Strut": "Stray Cat Strut" by the Stray Cats.
    • "Honky Tonk Women" by The Rolling Stones.
    • "Ballad of Fallen Angels": "Fallen Angels" by Aerosmith.
    • "Sympathy For The Devil" by The Rolling Stones.
    • "Jamming With Edward": Not a song, but rather an album featuring 3 members of The Rolling Stones (singer Mick Jagger, bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts), plus Ry Cooder and Nicky Hopkins[1]
    • "Toys in the Attic" by Aerosmith.
    • "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen.
    • "My Funny Valentine" by Rogers and Hart (also where Faye's surname was picked from).
    • "Black Dog Serenade": "Black Dog Blues" by pre-World War Two blues artist Blind Blake.
    • "Speak Like A Child" by Herbie Hancock.
    • "Wild Horses" by The Rolling Stones.
    • "Pierrot Le Fou": Named after a post-modernist French film from 1964 of the same name.
    • "Hard Luck Woman" by Kiss.
    • "The Real Folk Blues" by Muddy Waters (the lyrics of the ending song, also called "The Real Folk Blues", references this).
    • "Knocking on Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan (copyright problems prevented this from being used as the title of the movie when it was released stateside).
  • Trademark Favourite Food: Ed's father really likes eggs.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Not the preview trailers for the series, but the DVD episode selection screen for the last episode shows Julia's full death scene.
  • Translation Convention: The Bebopverse can be seen as highly multilingual, though the language preferred by the protagonists is most likely Chinese:
    • The Bebop can frequently be seen anchoring in a Martian Chinatown.
    • In one scene, 'No Smoking' signs can be seen in various languages. Out of all those, Jet picks the one in Chinese to point his finger on.
    • Faye is from Singapore.
    • Jet can be seen reading and writing e-mails in Chinese.
    • Spike used to work for the Triads.
  • Transsexualism: Gren, from "Jupiter Jazz: Parts 1 and 2".
  • Trench Coat Warfare: When Spike storms the Red Dragon Syndicate's headquarters in the last episode, he enters through the lobby and pulls grenades and handguns out of his Badass Longcoat.
  • True Companions: Faye describes the crew to be this close as early as episode 5. It probably isn't really the case until episode 13.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: "Honky Tonk Women". Faye, after she blasts out of the casino in her ship and flies straight up.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Vicious' and Spike's unexplained full recovery from eating a grenade and falling out of a window from a third story height in a flurry of broken glass, respectively, in "Ballad Of Fallen Angels".
    • Well, Spike is apparently just Badass enough to survive falling three stories in a flurry of broken glass. He did wind up in traction and comatose for three days, which is plausible. Yes, it would kill most people, but it's not a No One Should Survive That event.
  • Unfamiliar Ceiling: Spike, a few times -- most notably at the end of the fifth episode, where he had a near-death experience complete with seeing his life flash before his eyes, and although he doesn't ask he is promptly informed by Faye that he's been asleep for three days.
  • Unorthodox Holstering: Jet's old partner Fad has a particularly cool version.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: Inverted and played with in "Jupiter Jazz Part I". Gren, a Bishounen-looking (apparent) man rescues Faye from some thugs. When he goes to shower, Faye hears a phone call that makes her suspicious. She goes into the bathroom and whips aside the curtain to reveal that "he" possesses flaring hips and a pair of breasts. She looks down and freaks. Turns out he's male, but experimental medication threw his hormones severely out of whack.

Faye: Which one are you?!
Gren: I'm both at once, and I'm neither one.

  • Used Future: To the point of being that trope's current image. The Bebop and the smaller ships used by its crew are the example that appears on-screen most often, but in a gritty show full of old mines, spaceship wrecks, space trucks and remote colonies this trope is present in almost all episodes.
  • Verb This: In "Mushroom Samba", Shaft says "eat this!" when he pulls out a grenade launcher which he fires at Domino.
  • Video Phone: The in-universe equivalent to the cell phone uses video feeds on both ends of a call.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • "Pierrot le Fou". Tongpu has one when Spike finally defeats him.
    • "Brain Scratch". Dr. Londes has one when he realizes he's failed to convert Spike to his cult.
  • Wasted Song: Many soundtrack pieces are used only once and not for a long enough stretch of time. A select handful of songs (most of what little music you hear in "Toys in the Attic" for example) were never given official CD releases, due to just being too short to count.
  • Watching the Sunset: Jet seems prone to doing this.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: "Pierrot le Fou". Tongpu is a psychotic, unstoppable, bulletproof Psychopathic Manchild. He has exactly two weaknesses, both psychological: A pathological fear of cats due to the experiments that he was subjected to, and feeling pain, induced in this case by Spike hurling a knife (a projectile too slow to be stopped by Pierrot's experimental shield) into his thigh.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Both Teddy Bomber and The Space Warriors.
  • What a Piece of Junk!: The general reaction to the Bebop.
  • What Are Records?: In "Speak Like a Child", Spike and Jet find a Betamax tape addressed to Faye and don't have a clue what it is at first. They spend a good deal of time looking for a suitable videocassette player, only to find out that a Betamax tape won't play in a VHS VCR.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The ending of the series leaves quite a few things unresolved, such as the ultimate fate of Jet and Faye.
  • When Things Spin Science Happens: The Bebop (and other ships) has a rotating section which, in a case of Shown Their Work, is probably a gravity generator of some kind.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: "Toys in the Attic" is basically a Lighter and Softer spoof of Alien, right down to the flamethrowers and Thrown Out the Airlock scene.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Gren and the other transvestites on Callisto.
  • Wild Mass Guessing: Many people believe that episode 11 "Toys in the Attic" was All Just a Dream because episode 12 immediately begins with Spike vaulting awake due to the insufferable humidity on the ship. There's no actual evidence or further mention to support it. During the episode preview for episode 12, Edward lampshaded that everyone had died except her in that episode, but then Faye quickly subverts it by protesting.
  • Word Salad Lyrics:
    • "Ask DNA" at times.
    • "Live In Baghdad" from "Heavy Metal Queen" has lyrics that sound like they were written by Homsar.
  • Yakuza: Spike typifies the classic "noble yakuza" protagonist, while Vicious is an equally classic example of the "nihilist yakuza" villain.
  • Zeerust: In-universe example. Faye mistakes a thermometer for a cell phone because it looks like it has an antenna. When was the last time you saw a phone with an antenna?

SEE YOU SPACE COWBOY...

Notes

  1. The "Edward" to which the title refers comes from a song Hopkins composed for psychedelic band Quicksilver Messenger Service, called "Edward, the Mad Shirt Grinder"