Cowboy Bebop – Bohemian Rhapsody

Science Fiction

Cowboy Bebop (1998)
Bohemian Rhapsody (Episode 14)
Director: Hirokazu Yamada Writer: Dai Satō

Often when I think about Cowboy Bebop it tends to be the more dramatic episodes that come to mind, like Ballad of Fallen Angels, Jupiter Jazz, etc but the anime is also known for having plenty of humour too – and this is one of those storylines.

Here, the crew are trying to figure out who hacked the Gate terminals, ripping off a LOT of people in the process, but that’s the crime/investigating side of the plot.

For the comedy, there’s probably just as much onscreen – whether it’s poor Ed struggling with the chess game (not to mention being zapped) or bounty hunter Jonathan’s outburst and fate, or the Three Old Men popping up once again.

It’s an episode that features a lot of fun comedy conventions: running jokes, sight gags, slapstick and hyperbole. (Or to use Ed as another example, the hissing at Faye, lol).

And yet, for what seems like a ‘light’ episode at first, it’s got plenty of twists and turns in the main mystery. The opening third is also one of my favourite sequences, with everyone ‘succeeding’ yet still coming up empty-handed. Faye has a pretty funny (and dry) line about the Gate thieves here too.

    Elsewhere, to further contrast the comedic tone, I like the really powerful gesture of mercy and kindness from Jet, who by the end of the case only asks that the mastermind behind the crime, Chessmaster Hex, be left alone.

    Now, since I’m hoping to keep this review short, I’ll close by mentioning a few other favourite aspects – one being the detail on Hex’s design, which is great.

    Another comes from the OST, with the use of Kabutogani Kodai no Sakana and its increasing tempo to build tension during the search, along with one of my favourite pieces from the series: Piano Black

    And also! Spike and Faye’s suits are my favourite use of costume in the episode – they really nail that classic look.

    I don’t imagine that Bohemian Rhapsody is everyone’s most treasured episode of the Cowboy Bebop anime, but it’s definitely one of mine 🙂

    Author: ashleycapes

    Ashley is an Australian poet, novelist and teacher. He's currently running a casual review blog called "The Review Heap" focusing on anime and animation. He is the author of half a dozen poetry collections and a few novels, some published traditionally and some self-published. He also occasionally publishes other folks too.

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