What it’s about: The show follows a rag-tag crew of bounty hunters in space, barely making a living from one bounty to the next. Their backgrounds vary from ex-gangster to ex-cop, from teen hacker prodigy to genetically engineered corgi. For the most part, episodes are self contained, but there is a larger arc in the background that culminates in one of the most iconic finales in anime.
Why you should watch it: Well, first of all it’s one of the true cornerstones of anime, and for good reason. The smooth jazzy soundtrack combines with a fluid animation that barely seems dated nearly 15 years after its debut. It’s essentially Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” with a slicker veneer, balancing character interaction with humour and action. It’s a show you can pick up and drop at your leisure, though it rewards completionism. Finally, the dub is excellent – there’s a reason that this show is *the* go-to recommendation for people breaking into anime for the first time.
Caveats: The show is highly episodic. If you’re looking for an epic sprawling storyline, this isn’t going to live up to your expectations. Liking jazz is not a requirement, but if you’re one of those who utterly can’t stand it, you’re going to be irritated from episode one.
Themes: Coming to terms with your past. Accepting tragedy and moving on.
Similar works:Samurai Champloo is the spiritual successor. Black Lagoon also bears a lot of similarities to the set-up, though it’s more cynical. Outside of anime the closest comparison is, as mentioned earlier, Joss Whedon’s Firefly (he’s apparently a little sick of people asking if Bebop was an inspiration).