Mark Watches ‘Cowboy Bebop’: Session 8 – Waltz for Venus

In the eighth session of Cowboy Bebop, Spike gains a friend. Sort of. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Cowboy Bebop.

OH GOD.

  • THEY COLLECTED A BOUNTY. OH MY GOD, THEY ACTUALLY COLLECTED A BOUNTY. Why wasn’t there a ticker tape parade for Jet, Spike, and Faye? Did someone give them a certificate or a gold star yet? I can’t believe this actually happened. I mean, I have no reference for how much 1.5 million Woolongs is actually worth, but who cares? IT SOUNDS LIKE A LOT.
  • Come on, there’s no way that Huey, Dewey, and Louie isn’t a reference to Duck Tales.
  • I really like Rocco Bonnaro, and I think his character represents exactly what’s so fascinating about Cowboy Bebop. This show repeatedly gives us stories about people who live in a world struggling with moral bankruptcy. We don’t often see good people. We either get villains, or we get people surviving by any means necessary. (Sometimes, they’re a combination of the two.) There obviously must be people who are affluent, but they’re not portrayed all that positively. The crime syndicates must be prolific and pervasive enough to engender a bounty hunter community, so I can only imagine that the galaxy has to be absolutely riddled with crime. Amidst this, we have Rocco, who may be involved with some terrible people, but he wants to do his sister right. He doesn’t actually want to hurt people if he can’t, and he treats Spike with reverence. He wants to learn Spike’s fighting technique because he respects what Spike did. Sure, Spike also took out the very people who were chasing Rocco, but I think it would be reductive to assume this was Rocco’s only motivation.
  • I like that we have a male hero who doesn’t want to fight with brute strength. It’s refreshing.
  • SO MUCH WORLDBUILDING IN THIS EPISODE! I was actually surprised that I learned so much about Venus, how it was terraformed, and how the atmosphere affects humans.
  • Initially, I thought Rocco was a total dick to the guy who was going to ship his package, but now I understand why he was so desperate to get it to its destination. Stella, Rocco’s sister, lives out in the middle of the desert in an abandoned shuttle. Suffering from Venus Sickness, she lives in the hope that some day, her brother might have enough money to help cure her blindness. Actually, that’s not totally correct. It was neat to see that Stella had accepted her blindness, that she didn’t think it ruined her life. I’m glad the show didn’t go that direction.
  • At the heart of “Waltz for Venus” is the idea that even if people break the law or make bad decisions, that doesn’t mean they’re evil people. Stella claims that both Spike and her brother have a goodness within themselves. Spike refuses the assertion, but you can tell that it haunts him. Does he really believe that he’s lost any sense of goodness within himself? What did he do in his past to make him feel this way?
  • It’s clear that Rocco does have a heart because he’s willing to be tortured and give up the Grey Ash plant so that his sister is unharmed. He cares about her more than anything.
  • I think for Spike in particular, Rocco’s death was so painful to watch because he had just witnessed how his presence affected Rocco positively. Rocco had learned to be fluid, and he looked upon Spike with hope and joy. AND THEN JESUS WHAT THE FUCK NOOOOOOO HE GOT SHOT. ugh, I should have seen it coming!
  • It figures that in an episode where the Bebop team manages to collect two bounties, it’s essentially a Pyrrhic victory for the other characters. Rocco dies, and Stella only gets her sight back at the exact time when it’s impossible for her to ever see her brother. FUCKED UP, I SWEAR.
  • Is there hope that Spike thinks he is a terrific guy, too? Or has that time passed?

Y’all, I’m enjoying this show quite a bit.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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