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Cowboy Bebop: Character Development through Episodic Storytelling

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. – danderson 5 days ago
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  • 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. – Connor 5 days ago
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Taken by 21stCenturyQuill (PM) 4 days ago.
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The influence of Lupin III on Cowboy Bebop

The 1998 anime classic Cowboy Bebop is a mishmash of various genres, media references, cultures and ethnicities – but one of its more prominent influences is Lupin III. Director Shinichiro Watanabe is an outspoken Lupin III fan, and it’s apparent how his fandom seeped into his directorial debut not least in terms of its ensemble cast. This article would look at how Lupin III influenced Cowboy Bebop (similarities/dissimilarities), as well as how these influences were repurposed for Cowboy Bebop’s own narrative.

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    Dubs v.s Subs: The Never-Ending Debate Between Anime Fans

    There are a ton of anime fans that state subtitles are the only true way to watch anime. True, it is more immersive to listen to a show in its original dialect. Because of this, any anime fans that actually likes watching dubbed animes as looked at like they have two heads. Why is there such a divide between fans of dubs and subs? While there’re are certainly plenty of bad dubs, there are plenty of good ones like Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist, Trigun and more.

    • Make sure that whoever writes this talks about how many prefer dubs as they can focus on watching the show itself without having to focus on reading the text constantly just to understand what the characters are saying. Also that not everyone will think the original Japanese voice actor's performances fits the character they are playing. It comes down to preference, but unfortunately, some fans who prefer subs for the reason as stated, can be a bit elitist towards those who don't share their preference. – Ryan Walsh 3 years ago
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    • I'm fairly certain we had a topic like this submitted a while back, not quite sure what happened to it. I think cultural detachment is one reason why people prefer subs over dubs. When I watch a dub, I can get embarrassed for the voice actors for having to say such cheesy or awkward lines that don't transition overseas very well. And yet, from my experience of having lived in Japan for a little bit, I know that Japanese people feel the same way about originals, that anime can be awkward to watch at time. Since most sub watchers don't typically know the norms and structure of casual, everyday Japanese, watching sub can do away with some of the awkwardness. There's also the more obvious reason for watching subs: availability. Subs always are released before dubs, and there will always be more subs to watch than dubs at a given moment. I think more than elitism, availability is the reason most people watch subs. – Austin 3 years ago
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    • I usually just watch it without subtitles. Sometimes I watch dub because I find it interesting how the American voice actors adapt and such. – Akecha 3 years ago
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    • Honestly I don't think the argument between hardcore fans should be a versus of Dub vs Sub. I only watch dub because I can't handle reading lines off the screen fast enough, as embarrassing as it is, and find that if I can manage it I'm too absorbed in reading to watch what's going on. It's a language barrier. The real "hardcore fans" shouldn't be concerned with a few dialogue changes so much as actual plot changes. Manga vs Anime adaptation, now there is a battle! So much filler... – Slaidey 3 years ago
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    • I agree with Ryan. Dub-loving fans don't seem as elitist as the sub-loving fans. The fans who prefer subs are generally more elitist towards those who don't. This needs special emphasis in the article. And of course I'm one of those elitist sub-lovers... – Abhimanyu Shekhar 3 years ago
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    • Depends on how much attention you want to give the anime. You're probably going to focus more on an anime with subs because you actually have to pay attention enough read them to pick up what's going on. With dubs your eyes can wander a bit or even focus on other things while you're watching it because you can understand the dialogue. This theory of attention doubles for people who are so eager to watch an anime that they don't want wait long enough to what for the dub and there will be more focused on it as it comes out. On the other hand, there are also dyslexics out there or people who can't mentally focus on ready and visuals at the same time. – Lazarinth 3 years ago
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    • Dubbing is actually ruined anime quality as original speech lose to foreign speaker who try to imitate sound and speech in anime. Subtitled is less destructive as it only add few texts below screen and never obscure viewer who want to enjoy watch anime, while, original sound and speech is still intact. – manifest 3 years ago
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    • I mostly watch anime in the english subs. But some anime sound better with the english dubs, in my opinion. For example, I prefer Death Note in the English dubs. This is probably cause I watched it first, but I prefer the dub more than the sub. It's the same with Attack on Titan and Mirai Nikki (I prefer the Japanese name tho xD) – mekakushimegane 3 years ago
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    • I mostly watch anime with the subtitle in it because not all anime have the dubs. But I would still go for the subtitle, I'm kinda used to it. Also, I have watched anime where some of the characters don't match with their dubs which is a no-no. – bez 3 years ago
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    • In my experience, it's a bit of a toss up. Some of the "Legendary" anime (i.e. Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in Shell: Stand Alone Complex) have some phenomenal voice work and part of why it was so popular. Then there's anime like Great Teacher Onizuka where the English voice actors basically went ENTIRELY off the rails and made the work a lot more fun for us Westerners. Lastly, we have anime like Baccano! and Romeo X Juliet, which, arguably, have put a lot of work into their dubwork and should be listened to in English. On the other hand, there's works like Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni who just don't have that great a dub track, and there's a lot of shows that don't even make it stateside. It's kind of a very subjective topic. – Helmet 3 years ago
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    • I like the idea of addressing this topic because it is a relevant conversation that takes place between anime lovers. In my personal experience, I don't have a preferred choice over subbed v. dubbed. I've watched both and enjoyed both. When watching a dubbed anime, as people mentioned above, it is easier for non-Japanese speakers to concentrate on the action displayed on the screen as opposed to reading the subtitles. When watching a subbed anime, I personally like to listen to the language because I like the way it sounds. However, the debate over what is more "authentic" or whether one way is better than the other seems confusing if the anime altogether is interesting to watch, what does it matter what language it is in? When writing about this topic, it would be important to gauge both sides of the argument and their opinions. – ShelbyLee 3 years ago
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    • I generally watched subbed anime, though there are a few that are better dubbed. I feel like it's more genuine and like I can better feel how it's meant to come across when the cadence is right and we're not fitting the wrong amounts of words into places, but that's just my opinion. – nsiegel 3 years ago
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    • There's already an article written about this topic on the website. – Jordan 3 years ago
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