The Essential “Cowboy Bebop”

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop is only one month away! While folks have reason to be skeptical about yet another Netflix anime adaptation, I’m cautiously optimistic for this one. After all, they kept “Tank!” which is easily a top three anime theme song. Before we get to the new version, the streaming giant was kind enough to bring the original anime back to its servers. 

Available as of October 21, here’s a list of some essential episodes of Cowboy Bebop. This list is broken down by the episode’s focus characters, typically Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, or Faye Valentine. Everyone’s past seems to catch up with them in various ways, and one of the series’ central themes is how one deals with it. 

Spike Spiegel

Photo courtesy of the Cowboy Bebop Wiki on Fandom

Episodes: 1—“Asteroid Blues,” 5—“Ballad of Fallen Angels,” 12—“Jupiter Jazz (Part 1),” 13—“Jupiter Jazz (Part 2),” 25—”The Real Folk Blues (Part 1),” 26—”The Real Folk Blues (Part 2)”

As the series protagonist, Spike gets the most episodes devoted to his character arc. His story revolves around his time in the Red Dragon Crime Syndicate, during which he met Vicious, Julia, and Annie, among others. Spike tends to live in the past despite trying to run from it for so long. His demons never cease, and when they’re all trying to kill you, it’s no wonder why they seem inescapable. Yet, Spiegel’s clearly carrying a grudge—one that defines him for the entire series.

Jet Black

Photo courtesy of the Cowboy Bebop Wiki on Fandom

Episodes: 1—“Asteroid Blues,” 10—”Ganymede Elegy,” 16—”Black Dog Serenade,” 21—”Boogie Woogie Feng Shui”

Jet is the captain of the Bebop, as well as a retired law enforcement officer, with a metal arm. He tends to have a variety of stories from his past, carrying much of the film noir detective beats of the series with him. Jet’s character arc seemingly revolves around accepting his past and learning to live with everything that’s happened. 

Faye Valentine

Photo courtesy of the Cowboy Bebop Wiki on Fandom

Episodes: 3—”Honky Tonk Women,” 15—”My Funny Valentine,” 18—”Speak Like a Child”

Bebop’s femme fatale, despite being featured in most of the episodes, has very few that inform her backstory. She spends the entire series living through amnesia, and even as she pieces together her past, she doesn’t dwell on it for long. Valentine prefers to take life one day at a time and enjoy what time she’s got left having fun. I’m hoping she gets more to do in the Netflix series, and I’m glad her costume is a bit more manageable than in the anime.


So, are you ready for Bebop? Because I think it’s time to blow this scene. See you, space cowboy…

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