Entertainment

10 Episodes of the 'Cowboy Bebop' Anime to Watch Before the Netflix Show

These episodes of the original anime provide direct reference points for Netflix's live-action series.

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Netflix’s adaptation of one of the greatest TV shows of all time is here at last, and whether you’re a new Cowboy Bebop fan or an old one, you’ll probably get a hankering to watch the original anime (which is also streaming on Netflix). If you’re not quite ready to watch the saga of four spacefaring bounty hunter pals front to back (though it’s only 26 half-hour episodes, so not a huge time commitment), we’ve gathered a list of the 10 episodes to watch before (or during, or after) diving into the live-action version starring John Cho, Mustafa Shakir, and Daniella Pineda. Most of these episodes-or “sessions” as they’re called in the jazz-infused world of the show-are either the direct basis for storylines in the live-action adaptation, or introduce characters that you’ll see in the new version.

Episode 1: “Asteroid Blues”

Bounty hunter partners Spike Spiegel and Jet Black land their ship, the Bebop, on the surface of asteroid colony Tijuana in search of a wanted criminal named Asimov Solensan and his supply of the illegal drug Bloody-Eye. Spike’s concern for the safety of Asimov’s partner, an apparently pregnant woman named Katerina, complicates the hunt, and the episode’s tragic ending sets the tone for the rest of the show. The first episode of the live-action adaptation is a direct translation of this episode, with some filler added to expand the narrative.

Episode 2: “Stray Dog Strut”

If you know anything about Cowboy Bebop, you probably know that the fifth member of the Bebop’s crew is the adorable Welsh corgi named Ein, an illegal “data dog” experiment who is a little too smart for his own good. This episode introduces Ein onto the scene, as well as enormously tall face-changing martial artist Abdul Hakim, one of the series’ best antagonists (who shares, with Spike, some of the show’s best fight scenes).

Episode 3: “Honky Tonk Women”

While Faye Valentine goes ahead and shows up in the very first episode of the Netflix series, in the original show she wasn’t introduced until the third, which riffs on casino-set heist films. Amnesiac Faye agrees to pose as a poker dealer to complete a deal for a mob boss, and due to a case of mistaken identity crosses paths with Spike and Jet, who attempt to turn her in to the police and collect the bounty on her head.

Episode 4: “Gateway Shuffle”

After escaping from Spike and Jet and eluding her enemies in the criminal underworld, Faye is adrift with no fuel, yet somehow stumbles upon the Bebop crew again while helping them take down Maria Murdock, monomaniacal matriarch of the Space Warriors ecoterrorist group. Maria and her “kids” show up in the fourth episode of the Netflix show, as does their frankly terrifying ecological weapon.

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Episode 5: “Ballad of Fallen Angels”

While Spike’s first confrontation with his criminal nemesis Vicious happens at the climax of the final episode (for now) of the Netflix show, their iconic duel within the walls of an abandoned cathedral (drama!!!) happens in the fifth episode of the original series, introducing Vicious and the Red Dragon Crime Syndicate as the shadowy antagonists for the rest of the show, as well as revealing bits and pieces of Spike’s former life.

Episodes 12 and 13: “Jupiter Jazz”

The “Jupiter Jazz” two-parter closes out the first half of the show, cementing the tentative camaraderie between Spike, Jet, and Faye, delving deeper into Vicious’s past, and introducing Gren, an old friend of Vicious’s who is hunting down the gangster after he sold Gren out to the authorities. The character of Gren, deeply important to the show, is remixed in the live-action version (with an updated understanding of gender identity), but their significance to Spike and Vicious’s past remains the same.

Episode 18: “Speak Like a Child”

When Faye woke up from her cryosleep, she’d been under too long and the ice had erased all memories of her former life. In this episode, while Faye succumbs to her gambling problem, Spike and Jet hunt down a Betamax player-an artifact as ancient nowadays as it is in the show-so that they can watch a tape that was mailed to Faye from an unknown sender. It’s one of the more freewheeling and fun episodes, yet still ends on a downer message about the futility and transience of memory.

Episode 20: “Pierrot le Fou”

Besides Vicious, the clown-like serial killer who calls himself “Mad Pierrot” is arguably Cowboy Bebop‘s most terrifying villain, able to float around in the shadows of the night and resist even point-blank gunfire. The eighth episode of the live-action show draws heavily from this one, adding in a backstory narrative that connects Mad Pierrot to the Syndicate and Vicious.

Episode 23: “Brain Scratch”

The sixth episode of the Netflix show riffs on this one, a dystopian cyberpunk vision of the far future in which humans upload their consciousnesses into computers to escape the drudgery of mortal life. When Faye joins a cult led by a mysterious “Dr. Londes” to get rid of her gambling debts by transferring her mind into virtual reality, Spike and Jet decide to hunt down the cult leader and collect the bounty. In the live-action version, this episode also contains a small reference to Radical Ed, the computer hacker who becomes a major fan-favorite character in the anime.

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Emma Stefansky is a staff entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @stefabsky.

Entertainment

Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.

Victoria

Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.

Queensland

BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

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