Throwback Thursday: Cowboy Bebop – Tank!

Cowboy Bebop is jazzing its way into our Throwback Thursday with Tank!


We are going with a fan favorite today. Before I say anything more: OK, 3, 2, 1, let’s jam!

Above is a rather rare live performance by the many note-able (=D) musicians collectively called Seatbelts, headed by Yoko Kanno herself. The video was made before higher-resolution video recording was available. So we are also revisiting older technology. Yay!

Those of you who have been with us since our broadcast days would know that Tank! was a really popular song. Even on our new Dubtrack channel, the song has been played fairly often.

If you do not know where this song is from, you should really look up the anime, Cowboy Bebop. Tank!, the title of the live performance above, is the opening to the great space western/film noir anime.

What is Cowboy Bebop about? Well, the series is about a crew of five bounty hunters–four humans and a dog–who constantly face dangerous individuals, their dark pasts, and many other things. Cowboy Bebop is set in a future where humans have spread across the solar system. It is a classic series about a bunch of misfits trying to live and make a living.

Spike, Jet, Faye, Ed and Ein
Spike, Jet, Faye, Ed and Ein

Jet Black, the owner and captain of the spacecraft, Bebop, is a hardened bounty hunter. He is rather cynical but also acts as the big-brother or father figure to the gang. Spike Spiegel is Jet’s partner in hunting. A slim and rather tall man equipped with a mastery of Jeet Kune Do, Spike is lethal in hand-to-hand combat. He is also a very dreamy individual, in contrast to his very grounded partner, Jet. Faye Valentine is an attractive young woman with large debts who let herself into the gang of bounty hunters after a series of incidents. She understands how to manipulate men into doing her bidding with her looks and fashion sense. Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV, or simply, Ed, is a young genius hacker who joined the crew not long after the series started. Arguably the most eccentric individual in the crew, she is lively, has a tendency to be animal-like, rather tomboy-ish, and can be mistaken as a boy, but is also very independent. Ein is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and arguably the animal mascot of the crew. Do not let his cute looks deceive you because Ein is an extremely intelligent dog.

Cowboy Bebop was notable as the first anime aired by the newly established Adult Swim (or stylized as [adult swim]) back in 2001. As the program block was created for more matured audiences, Cowboy Bebop fit the bill nicely. Many even credit the series as the catalyst that introduced a new wave of anime culture that has continued to the present. There are also quite a few who lauded Bebop as one of the best anime to date. Such as the folks at IGN in this link here.

The series also received many recognitions such as 1999 Anime Grand Prix award for 1998 anime, 2000 Anime Grand Prix award for 1999 anime, the highest rated anime for IMDB‘s Top 250 greatest television series at #24, and more.

Spike was also awarded the best male character at the 1999 AGP award. Megumi Hayashibara, who voiced Faye, received the best female voice actor award for her role.

Megumi Hayashibara
Megumi Hayashibara

Equally praised were the scores of excellent music by the famed Yoko Kanno. Anime music fans will undoubtedly recognize her myriad of compositions from many different anime series, games, commercials, and more. Her range of genre spans from Classical to Rock, from Jazz to Electronic, and even to Folk. She is a truly versatile artist.

Speaking of music, diehard music and Cowboy Bebop fans may already know this: the episode titles are all music related or reference real-life song titles. For example, (episode) Session #2: Stray Dog Strut refers to the song “Stray Cat Strut” by the Stray Cats and Session #22: Cowboy Funk refers to the genre Funk.

Now for some facts that you may or may not know about Cowboy Bebop. The late actor and martial artist Bruce Lee invented Jeet Kune Do before his untimely death. There are still many surviving schools of Jeet Kune Do and some of them are even taught by students of Lee. Maybe Spike studied under one of the later generations?

Another reference to Bruce Lee: there is a fight in the second episode between Spike and another character that is an homage to an early Lee movie, Game of Death.

You sho kyuut, Ein!
You sho kyuut, Ein!

I mentioned that Ein is a very intelligent dog earlier. How intelligent is he? Well, Cowboy Bebop Wikia has a page about Ein, which you can go to by following the link here, detailing evidences that prove he is actually the smartest member of the Bebop. Some of the evidence includes: pressing seemingly random buttons on a car to steer it off a road, Ein communicating with a cow and telling the cow to stand in front of a train in order to stop the train, and lastly, Ein was able to put on a headgear that links to a website and hack into the deeper end of the site.

That is all for this week’s #ThrowbackThursday so come back next week for another look at the past!

Sources: IMDB, TV Tropes, Cowboy Bebop Wikia, and Chaos Hour.

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About the Author

Astra W

I am a Chocobo mug who loves puns and is driven by the thirst for nostalgia. You will usually find me writing about days past like an old person. Other than that, I usually gawk at different visual arts or exercising my fingers on games. Or napping in the kitchen cabinet.

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