No other anime (or TV show in general) that I have seen has developed characters as perfectly as Cowboy Bebop. The most amazing part is that it does it via episodic storytelling. Most episodic shows (think most crime shows like CSI), focus on one-and-done plots as filler while maybe having a subtle arc occurring in the background. Cowboy Bebop has no filler. Every one-and-done builds connections between the characters, reveals details about pasts, and develops each character until the incredible climax. What makes Cowboy Bebop so successful at this, and why have other shows struggled to do it?
I have yet to see Cowboy Bebop but I have heard many great things. I want to start it soon. Two other anime's however I believe is worthy of great character development would be Naruto and One Piece. – danderson5 days ago
The difference between Cowboy Bebop and Naruto/One Piece is that Bebop is almost entirely episodic outside of a couple core episodes and it is only 24 episodes. Naruto and One Piece have hundreds of episodes to cover the journeys of their lives whereas Bebop can't, it has to cover backstory through the episodic adventures that culminate in the series question episodes in the twenties. Naruto/One Piece can have actual filler episodes as well because of how long they air for. I think it is interesting in comparing this to shows like Law and Order, since most of the stories affect the leading cast. I do think there are other shows and films that can detail a character's arc/personality and it would be important to detail how some shows succeed and others fail in this regard. – Connor5 days ago