Ballad of Fallen Angels

I miss Cowboy Bebop

About Elizabeth Scalia
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  • http://www.ricketyclick.com/blog DJMoore

    Well, that sorta came out of left field. Not at all what I expected to see on this site.

    This is one of my favorite animes, too. (Although I, like Steven Den Beste, have to struggle with the ending. It doesn’t kill the rest of the story for me, though.)

    The other two are Noir, and the incomparably beautiful Haibane Renmei, which is one of my favorite stories in any medium. They, too, have wonderful soundtracks, and there are individual songs in Haibane that beat anything in Bebop.

    CB’s music is the best overall, though.

    All three are fundamentally about friendship being tested in various ways — Bebop is specifically about friendship being tested by duty.

    I’ve been hankering to watch it again; I especially need to watch the last four or five episodes.

    And for some reason, Jeff Buckley’s performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” has been running through my head when I think of Bebop, alternating with the Ballad you highlighted with this clip.

    Thanks for finding it.

  • Feeney

    Another thought out of left field: Anyone remember the beautiful pop song “Sukiyaki”, by Kyu Sakamoto? Wonderful song from 1963.

  • PS

    Fantastic! Not expecting that either, but it’s true. There’s not really been anything like CB since CB, has there?

  • James

    I enjoy the extended theme as part of a good workout / commute. Really gets the blood pumping and puts you in the zone.

    And remember kids,

    “If you see a strange man, follow him.”

  • James

    Also, seeing this on your site, for me, put your coolness level, on a scale of one to ten, at over nine thousand.

  • Veronica

    Wow, the Anchoress enjoys anime, how cool is that?!

    I throughly enjoyed Cowboy Bebop up until the last episode, which kinda killed the series for me. It is the main reason I haven’t re-watched it ever since (and this was several years ago!).

    Still, the music was awesome, in particular the opening theme, which I can still play inside my mind. Gosh, now I’m nostalgic, I gotta go see “Vision of Escaflowne” again! Now that’s an anime series that that never gets old with me (and it also has an incredible musical score, in a hautingly beautiful way). Plus, it has Van-sama, err, I mean, interesting characters! Yeah. ;)

  • Agatha June

    Thanks for this, Anchoress. The music for this anime was fabulous. Yoko Kanno did the music for this series. She should definitely be more widely known.

  • Joi

    Me too!! BeBop was the first anime I ever watched.

    Anchoress, you might enjoy Trinity Blood: a postapocalyptic Vatican fights Rosicrucian Russian vampires! It’s beautifully painted, as well.

    And yes, Yoko Kanno’s music is amazing: a friend just turned me on to her stuff, and she’s truly incredible.

    See you, space cowboy!

  • F

    What the h*ll was that?

    Would like to learn more.

    [Cowboy Bebop; greatest anime ever. As a musician you will love Yoko Kanna's music -admin]

  • Clayton Barnett

    I’ve always been intrigued with this anime, but given the implied ‘michael moorcock/gainax ending’ I’ve avoided it. Looking at this amv, I think I made the correct choice. For art, I’ll stick with Haibane Renmei; for entertainment, I stick with the genre of “cute girls doing cute things” (c.f., Lucky Star, Hidamari, Azumanga Daioh).

    Although, I did once coin the very minor animebloggers meme of “When I die, if I open my eyes and see Aqua, I’ll know I made it to Heaven; if I see Old Home, then at least I’m in Purgatory; and if I open my eyes and see Lain, I’m in Hell.”

  • Jeff

    I liked it very cool. Kind of reminded me of Speed Racer from long ago.

  • Annette Bennett

    One of my favorites as well, it’s currently being run on Cartoon Network on Saturday evenings during Adult Swim

  • http://www.ricketyclick.com/blog DJMoore

    Clayton Barnett: “For art, I’ll stick with Haibane Renmei.”

    Thank you so much for giving me the hook I needed to proselytize.

    As much as I love the Haibane, there are anime out there with prettier art — Summer Wars, for instance, or Aria the Animation, or Binchou-tan(another charcoal-related anime!). HR was, frankly, done on a very tight budget and very tight schedule, and it shows. (The very subdued but somewhat odd color palette is deliberate though.)

    However, nothing else in anime comes close to the story of the Haibane. There are themes at work here that I cannot help but think are near and dear to the hearts of everyone who posts here. Even if you do not typically respond to anime, Haibane Renmei is different; I’m tempted to say, “important”.

    No romance, no guns, no giant robots, no pantie shots, no frantic antics. Just a profound and moving meditation on what it means to be human, and what it means to be someone’s friend.

    The music is truly beautiful, also unmatched in its way.

    Go search it out on torrents, or on Youtube. The English dub is very acceptable, watch it first so the subtitles won’t distract you. You’ll need to watch it again, because, as I always say at this point, things that you didn’t notice the first time through will glow with meaning and foreshadowing the second time; so you have a chance to enjoy the excellent Japanese performances. The dub and sub scripts are slightly different in revelatory ways, too.

    Be patient with it; it has many mysteries, some of which it reveals to the Haibane themselves, some of which are never unraveled. Avoid spoilers; the way in which the story is unfolds is one of its great achievements.

    What can I say? Every other anime I’ve watched, I’ve watched hoping that it would be as good as HR.

    ===

    Cowboy Bebop comes close. The ending is hard, but not in the trainwreck sense implied by “Gainax ending”. It’s a true tragedy, and many people find that disappointing. I, myself, am unhappy with certain aspects of it. However, the overall experience is wonderful, and as much as I want a different ending, on reflection, I can’t think of another way to retain Spike’s fundamental honesty.

    And if you don’t watch it, you will miss Yoko Kanna’s astonishing score.

  • F

    Yeah, the music was fabulous!

  • http://www.lightondarkwater.com Maclin Horton

    Ditto F 8/3 5:54. Never paid any attention to anime but that was most intriguing.

  • wpdunn71901

    Try “Ghost in the Machine” pretty intense stuff

  • Jeff

    I think they were borrowing from The Crow here the more I think about it. But it all still speaks of some deep connection to Gothic Cathedrals. I think we all miss them on some quiet level.


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