FUNimation Announces Home Video Release Plans for Cowboy Bebop

FUNimation has announced that the company will be releasing the Cowboy Bebop television anime series on Blu-ray and DVD in North America in December 2014.

The series will be released on DVD, standard Blu-ray, and in Amazon and Funimation.com premium Blu-ray/DVD editions. The two Premium Editions will each feature different packaging and premium items, but the exact details will be announced later.

Daisuki to Stream Cowboy Bebop

Anime streaming service Daisuki announced during the company’s panel at Otakon that it will be streaming the Cowboy Bebop television anime series.

Sunrise producer Masayuki Ozaki, who was at the Daisuki panel, said that he hopes that Cowboy Bebop will be available on Daisuki before FUNimation re-releases the series on home video in 2014.

FUNimation’s Announcements at Otakon

FUNimation announced during the company’s panel at Otakon that it has acquired the license for the Cowboy Bebop television anime series, and that the company will be releasing the series digitally and on Blu-ray Disc for the first time in North America. FUNimation is planning to release the series in 2014.

In addition, FUNimation announced that it has also acquired the North American licenses for the following anime titles:

  • Outlaw Star
  • The Vision of Escaflowne
  • Escaflowne: The Movie
  • My-HiME
  • My-Otome
  • My-Otome 0~S.ifr~
  • My-Otome Zwei

FUNimation also announced that the company has licensed the rest of the Fairy Tail television anime series that is currently in existence (up to episode 175), and that the Wolf Children anime film will ship on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on November 12, 2013.

Anime Soundtrack Review: “Cowboy Bebop: Tank! The Best!”

Cowboy Bebop: Tank! The Best! is a soundtrack for Cowboy Bebop that was released in 2004. An interesting thing to note about this release is the fact that the CD booklet contains a lot of “fake” information for the songs that appear on the CD; while the song information as it’s written in the booklet would be true for the Cowboy Bebop universe, it wouldn’t be true for the real world.


All of the music that appears on Cowboy Bebop: Tank! The Best! was composed and arranged by Yoko Kanno, and the music was composed by The Seatbelts. For the songs that have lyrics, the words were written by three different lyricists: Tim Jensen, Illaria Graziano, and Raju Ramayya.

The soundtrack opens with “Tank! [TV Stretch],” which is essentially an extended version of the Cowboy Bebop theme song. The next song on the CD is “What Planet Is This,” which is an upbeat jazz number that prominently features guitar and saxophone. When it comes to vocals, there is only one line of vocal repeated throughout the track.

This is followed by “Cosmic Dare (Pretty With a Pistol),” a synth-heavy track that features vocals by Reynada Hill. This song appeared in Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, and it’s one of my favorite songs on this CD.

“Diamonds,” the fourth song on the CD, returns to the jazz sound. It’s a slow and soft piano piece that features vocals by Illaria Graziano. Rounding out the first half of the disc are “Don’t Bother None [TV Edit]” and “Piano Black.” “Don’t Bother None” features Mai Yamane on vocals, while “Piano Black” is a jazz instrumental.

The second half of the CD opens with “Mushroom Hunting,” a song that appeared in the episode, “Mushroom Samba.” Taliva-Donna Cumberbatch’s vocals complement this jazz track that features brass and drums. A sudden sonic shift takes place when the next song, “No Reply,” begins. This is a rock track that features vocals by Steve Conte, and he sounds like he’s trying too hard to mimic the vocal style of Bono from U2.

The disc shifts in sound again with “Blue,” a slow song that features synthesizers and guitar; the vocals on the song are provided by Mai Yamane, Soichiro Otsuka, and Gabriela Robin. This is followed by “Einstein Groovin’,” a mid-tempo song that sounds like it was inspired by the disco era. Illaria Graziano provides the vocals of “Einstein Groovin’,” and the vocals sound like they’re being sung in Spanish. Graziano’s voice can also be heard on “Pearls,” the very next song on the CD; her vocals accompany s slow piano ballad that has a jazz influence.

The final song on Cowboy Bebop: Tank! The Best! is “Gotta Knock a Little Harder,” the closing theme for Cowboy Bebop: The Movie. This midtempo rock song, which features Mai Yamane on vocals, is the perfect closing song for this CD.

While most of the songs on Cowboy Bebop: Tank! The Best! are an enjoyable listen, the disc was sequenced in such a way that most of the uptempo numbers appeared on the first half of the CD, and most of the mid-tempos and ballads appeared on the second half of the disc. Unfortunately, this choice for sequencing weakens the overall listening experience of the soundtrack. When I first started listening to the soundtrack, I was very interested in what I was listening to; however, by the time I reached the last three songs on the soundtrack, I was starting to fall asleep. Perhaps of the uptempo numbers had been a little more spread out across the disc, the soundtrack might have been stronger.

Cowboy Bebop: Tank! The Best! isn’t a bad CD at all. However, when you’re listening to it, you might either want to program the songs in a different order, or have your CD player randomly choose the order in which the songs are played.

I wrote this review after listening to a copy of Cowboy Bebop: Tank! The Best! that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Anime Film Review: Cowboy Bebop: The Movie

Cowboy Bebop The Movie: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door is a film for the Cowboy Bebop anime franchise, and it takes place between the episodes “Cowboy Funk” and “Brain Scratch.” The film was directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, and was released to Japanese theaters on September 1, 2001. In 2004, the film was nominated for the Online Film Critics Society Awards in the Best Animated Feature category. In North America, the film’s title was shorted to Cowboy Bebop: The Movie.


The film is set around Halloween of 2071, and begins with Faye Valentine trying to capture a bounty. During the capture attempt, she witnesses a mysterious man in a trenchcoat walking away from a stolen tanker truck; moments later, the tanker explodes and releases a deadly virus that kills hundreds. The government places a huge reward of 300 million woolongs for the arrest and capture of the person responsible, out of fear that an even bigger attack could take place.

Spike, Jet, Faye, and the rest of the crew of the Bebop decide to try to find and capture this bounty. During their hunt, they meet new allies and foes, and must also try to find a way to keep an even bigger attack from taking place.

When I finished watching Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, it felt like I had watched an extended version of a Cowboy Bebop episode. Not that this was a bad thing at all, but that’s what it felt like. The advantages of the longer runtime for the story is that it allowed for more time to be spent on character development, and some of the action sequences could also be longer. I thought the film had a really good story to tell, and that a full-length film works much better to tell it than to try to break it up into multiple episodes for the anime series.

Overall, I thought that the character of Ed was actually rather useful in the film; in a lot of respects, it felt as if Ed was in the anime series more for providing comic relief than for actually helping to move the story along.

When it comes to the DVD release for Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, a lot more effort was put into the special features included on this release in comparison to the six Cowboy Bebop Remix DVDs.

The first special feature is “Storyboard Comparisons.” There are four scenes included in this feature; for each scene, the storyboard is on the left side of the screen, while the animation that appears in the movie for the scene is on the right side of the screen. Personally, I think this is one of the better storyboard comparison bonus features that I have seen on an anime DVD.

“Character Biographies” have a biography for each character. The biographies include basic facts for each character alongside their picture. “Conceptual Art Galleries” include the conceptual art for the characters, aircraft, automobiles, monorail, and accessories.

There are also six featurettes included on the disc: “From the Small Screen to the Big Screen,” “International Appeal,” “Spike: A Complex Soul,” “Faye: Intellectual Vixen,” “Ed: Resident Eccentric,” and “Jet: No Ordinary Dad.” These featurettes include interviews with the director, the Japanese and English voice actors for Spike, the Japanese and English voice actors for Jet, the Japanese and English voice actors for Faye, the ADR Director, the Character Designer, the Composer, and the Japanese and English voice actors for Ed. There are English subtitles provided when anyone who is interviewed is speaking in Japanese. The documentaries aren’t too short, yet they also aren’t so long that they bore the viewer. Personally, I enjoyed watching these featurettes.

There are also music videos included in the special features for “Ask DNA” (the opening song of the film) and “Gotta Knock a Little Harder,” which appears at the end of the film. In both cases, the “music videos” are just textless versions of the opening and ending sequences of the film.

Overall, Cowboy Bebop The Movie: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door is an enjoyable film for fans of Cowboy Bebop. However, a viewer has to already have some familiarity with the property in order to enjoy the film; if they don’t, then they won’t understand a lot of what’s going on.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Cowboy Bebop: The Movie that my husband and I purchased.

Anime DVD Review: “Cowboy Bebop Remix Volume 6″

The Cowboy Bebop Remix Volume 6 DVD includes the final four episodes of Cowboy Bebop: “Brain Scratch,” “Hard Luck Woman,” “The Real Folk Blues (Part I),” and “The Real Folk Blues (Part II).” This “remix” version of the Volume 6 DVD includes new Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mixes of the episodes and it also includes bonus features that were not included on the original release of Volume 6. The audio options on this disc are English Stereo, Japanese Stereo, English Dolby 5.1, and Japanese Dolby 5.1. You can also choose to watch the disc with or without subtitles.


During the episodes on this disc, we see the crew of the Bebop trying to track down the mastermind of a new religious cult, two characters find links to their pasts that cause them to leave the Bebop, and Spike and Julia are finally reunited.

I definitely have to give the Japanese writers credit for writing out one of the characters that they did; considering the tone of the final two episodes, this particular character wouldn’t have fit into the story. I also appreciated how the Cowboy Bebop series ended; with how the story of the series evolved, it wasn’t surprising that there wasn’t a “happily ever after” ending.

And it’s no surprise that more music references appear in the episode titles on this disc. “Hard Luck Woman” is a reference to a song by Kiss, while “The Real Folk Blues” is a reference to a series of blues compilations released between 1965 and 1967.

Just like the previous five Cowboy Bebop Remix DVDs, the menus on this DVD are animated. By the time I reached this disc, I was used to the navigation of the menu, so this really wasn’t much of an issue at this point. The look and feel of these animated menus far surpass the menus on the original pressing of the Cowboy Bebop DVDs.

The main bonus feature on this disc is an audio commentary on “Hard Luck Woman,” which is provided by Megumi Hayashibara and Aoi Tada, the Japanese voice actors for Faye and Ed. The commentary is in Japanese, with English subtitles that provide a translation of what’s being said. Unlike the audio commentary that appeared on Cowboy Bebop Remix Volume 4, this commentary includes a combination of seriousness and humor; personally, this is a lot more like what I would expect from an audio commentary than what we got on Volume Four.

The extras menu also includes the DVD credits, as well as trailers for other DVD releases that Bandai was promoting at the time this DVD was released. In other words, extras that have become rather standard on anime DVD releases.

If you don’t already have Cowboy Bebop in your home video collection and want to add it, you can either buy the six individually released Cowboy Bebop Remix DVDs, or you can purchase the Cowboy Bebop Remix DVD Collection that takes the six individual discs and collects them into one box set.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Cowboy Bebop Remix Volume 6 that my husband and I purchased.

Anime DVD Review: “Cowboy Bebop Remix Volume 5″

The Cowboy Bebop Remix Volume 5 DVD includes four episodes of Cowboy Bebop: “Wild Horses,” “Pierrot Le Fou,” “Boogie-Woogie Feng-Shui,” and “Cowboy Funk.” This “remix” version of the Volume 5 DVD includes new Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mixes of the episodes and it also includes bonus features that were not included on the original release of Volume 5. The audio options on this disc are English Stereo, Japanese Stereo, English Dolby 5.1, and Japanese Dolby 5.1. You can also choose to watch the disc with or without subtitles.


During the episodes on this disc, we learn how Spike acquired his fighter, the Swordfish; we meet the daughter of one of Jet’s old acquaintances, and the young woman is gifted in the art of Feng-Shui; and we also meet a literal-looking “space cowboy” who makes a hobby out of bounty hunting, and he ends up becoming a thorn in Spike’s side.

The bounties in these episodes include: three individuals who are trying to infect ships with a virus, a seemingly invincible psychotic killer, and a man known as the “Teddy Bear Bomber” who dresses in a teddy bear costume and blows up teddy bears to try to get attention for the causes he believes in.

A couple of music references appear in the titles of the episodes on this disc. “Wild Horses” is named after a song by the Rolling Stones, while “Boogie-Woogie Feng-Shui” is an homage to the song “Boogie Woogie Woman” by B.B. King.

Just like the previous four Cowboy Bebop Remix DVDs, the menus on this DVD are animated. While I do have some issues in regards to navigating these DVD menus, I believe that the overall look and feel of these menus is a major improvement over the menus on the original pressing of the Cowboy Bebop DVDs.

This disc includes several bonus features. The first is Cowboy Bebop Session #0, which is a roughly half-hour long Cowboy Bebop documentary. Over the course of the half-hour, a lot of information is crammed in. Included in this documentary is stats and information on the main characters; interviews with the animation front liners, the director, the series composer, the producer, and some of the voice actors; an “unaired TV episode digest”; and “music” video for the Cowboy Bebop theme song; and a textless version of the ending credits. Tacked on after the end of the documentary was a video for a remix of the Cowboy Bebop theme song that was done by DJ FOOD, as well as an “information” section that lists the various Cowboy Bebop DVDs, CDs, and videogames that are available to purchase.

When I watched this documentary, I realized that portions of it had been previously released as extras on the original pressings of the Cowboy Bebop DVDs. However, it was nice to see them as part of a cohesive unit. At the end of Session #0, I found myself wondering why the remix video and the information page were tacked on at the end. Personally, I wasn’t terribly impressed with DJ FOOD’s remix of the Cowboy Bebop theme song. Also, I thought the remix video and the information page could have been included as additional extras to select from the extras menu instead of being tacked on to the end of Session #0.

The extras menu also includes the DVD credits, as well as trailers for other DVD releases that Bandai was promoting at the time this DVD was released. In other words, extras that have become rather standard on anime DVD releases.

If you don’t already have Cowboy Bebop in your home video collection and want to add it, you can either buy the six individually released Cowboy Bebop Remix DVDs, or you can purchase the Cowboy Bebop Remix DVD Collection that takes the six individual discs and collects them into one box set.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Cowboy Bebop Remix Volume 5 that my husband and I purchased.