Plenty has already been said about the main characters and the music in other writeups, so here's my contribution of things not yet mentioned:
Cowboy Bebop is set in 2071 and happens all over the solar system
. Long distance travel relies on "hyperspace gates." In 2021, there was a major hyperspace accident that pretty destroyed a large portion of the Moon
. As a result, Earth
now has an asteroid belt
and is constantly bombarded by meteors
has been terraformed
, and Mars
has large habitable areas.
A few of the ships which appear in Cowboy Bebop:
This is the large ship where much of the series takes place. It's Jet's
ship and was bought second hand on Ganymede
. It was supposedly a fishing ship, which makes the rest of the character's ship names make a little more sense(Swordfish
? They're all named after fish).
The Swordfish II
This is Spike's
ship. It's a small red racing ship with wing-mounted machine guns and a plasma cannon.
This is Faye's
ship. It's a squat blue ship with gun arms that also prop the ship up when it's on the ground. It has two machine guns as well as rocket launchers. She can control is with a remote hidden in her bracelet.
This is Jet's
combat ship. It's a small brownish ship with a swivel arm on top that fires a grappling claw.
Space Shuttle Columbia
Ok, it only appears in one episode, but it's still there. Doohan, the mechanic who made the Swordfish
, has fixed up the original space shuttle Columbia
. In episode 19(Wild Horses
) he actually pulls it out and flies it.
A few memorable one-episode characters:
Pierrot Le Fou
This character, who appears in the episode with the same name, is a giant killing machine. He wears a suit, an undershirt with a frilly white collar and a top hat
. He carries an insanely large amount of weaponry
and uses a gun built into his cane.
Andy is another bounty hunter they meet in Episode 22, Cowboy Funk
. Andy takes the on going cowboy
theme a step too far. He rides around on a horse, wears a cowboy outfit, uses a six-shooter
and asks people to call him Wyatt Earp
. His personality is very similar to Spike's
, which leads to no end of conflict between the two.
Doohan appears in Episode 19, Wild Horses
. He is the mechanic who built the Swordfish
and gave it to Spike. He is of a philosophical bent regarding machines. On his assistant's suggestion that they add something to silence the Swordfish's
engine, he comments "If you put one in, then I can't hear what it's telling me." When his assistant goes further and suggests adding a better computer system and autopilot, he says "Do you want to use a machine or do you want the machine to use you?"
A few characters from Spike's past:
This is a character from Spike's
past, and is a member of the Red Dragon syndicate. He always has a large black bird with him and fights with a sword. He is a villian that appears occasionally in the series.
Another character from Spike's
past, flash backs
of her are certain to appear in any episode involving Vicious
. Who she is, and what relation she is to Spike
would definitely be called a spoiler, so I won't spend any more time on her.
The Jazz Connection
Aside from an excellent soundtrack featuring plenty of original jazz
music, the series and one of the ships being named after a jazz movement
, and most of the episode names refering to jazz songs or styles there's also the occasional jazz
reference in dialogue. For example, at the beginning of episode 3 (Honkytonk Woman
claims to have had a dream where Charlie Parker
told him "Only hands can wash hands." Jet
uses this dream to rationalize making a ton of money at a casino.