Mark Watches ‘Cowboy Bebop’: Session 2 – Stray Dog Strut

In the second session of Cowboy Bebop, Spike and Jet seek out a thief who has stolen a totally bewildering animal. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Cowboy Bebop.

I’m enjoying the fact that little by little, I’m getting new details about the universe that Cowboy Bebop exists in. The show doesn’t go to great lengths to give me any exposition at all. So far, I’ve been dropped in the midst of two stories, and I’m expected to follow along. I like that. It’s different. It’s challenging! Part of the reason I chose two anime shows to cover for Mark Watches was because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just doing the same type of show over and over again. I can already tell that writing about Cowboy Bebop and Princess Tutu is going to require more work on my part than usual, but that makes this fun.

Right from the start, I learn that in whatever universe this is, you can get plastic surgery to completely change your entire appearance, so much so that you become another ethnicity. I’m guessing that this is only available on Mars? I say that because “Asteroid Blues” established that the rich live on Mars, and it seems that plastic surgery that is this complex can’t come at a cheap price. Regardless, I’m just speculating here, and I appreciate that this show is facilitating this. Really, this can go anywhere. The format so far allows a lot of room for growth and development. If the team tracks a new criminal in every episode, then that means I’m going to see a whole lot of this world. Once again, Mars is incredibly diverse, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen such racial diversity in an anime before! (Granted, I still consider myself a newbie to this world, so take that with a grain of salt.) Then, we’re introduced to Big Shot, a television “show” for bounty hunters. (Did they really say that there are 300,000 bounty hunters in the universe??? Did I hear that right???) That gave me the impression that bounty hunter culture is accepted, that it’s actually a part of this society. Why? Why aren’t the police good enough? Or are they more of a secondary force? Who pays out the bounties? I HAVE A LOT OF QUESTIONS ABOUT INFRASTRUCTURE APPARENTLY.

Anyway, in “Stray Dog Strut,” the main villain’s motivations are left ambiguous at best, and I think that’s the point. Is Abdul Hakim just obsessed with stealing animals? Or was this a random find that he hoped to make money from? I’d guess the former, considering that he wasn’t the least bit surprised when the owner of Animal Treasure revealed that a corgi was in Hakim’s suitcase. The dude stole a dog, one that’s both common and utterly worthless on the market. So why the fuck is Hakim worth 8 million Woolongs??? What did he steal???

A corgi. HE STOLE A CUTE PUPPY. Who, by the way, happens to be the fastest corgi I’ve ever seen, and he reminds me of Cooper. (You’re welcome.) Unlike the previous episode, “Stray Dog Strut” isn’t about moral ambiguity. It’s about confusion. Spike is just utterly lost here, and it’s a treat to watch. Why is he chasing a corgi? Why is this ordinary dog named Ein worth so much to Hakim when it’s worthless to everyone else? What’s he supposed to do with this dog? Jet, however, is the one who comes up with a plan: attach a computer to Ein and use that to bait Hakim so they can still claim the 8 million-Woolong bounty. Excellent! Oh god, I loved how entertained Jet was by this whole thing. I’ve noticed that Jet is far more calm and collected than Spike is, and Spike often gets frustrated quicker than Jet. I am trying to understand their dynamic. Now I’m curious! Where did they come from? Like, how did they start working with one another? This show has the least amount of exposition I’ve ever experienced. Oh shit, is this because of reasons???? DON’T TELL ME.

So. Ein is a data dog. I kind of love that the writers don’t even bother explaining what that means, and they barely (if at all) hint towards what sort of talent or intelligence Ein has. Clearly, the scientists working for Doc want Ein back more than anything, and they nearly die in the process of retrieving the pup. Ein must be significant, but after a harrowing chase on a bridge, Spike is the one who ends up being the new owner of Ein. (Which totally tickles Jet, who looks ecstatic to have a dog onboard the Bebop.) Unfortunately, the scientists and Hakim crash into a POLICE STATION, so there’s no bounty to claim. Once again, Spike and Jet get no money at the end of their journey. At least this time, they’ve got the company of a dog who might just be a secret genius. Ein knows how to push buttons and look cute! That’s pretty damn talented.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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