If you’re a Cowboy Bebop aficionado, you’re no stranger to the enchanting world of spacefaring bounty hunters, jazzy tunes, and unforgettable characters. But if you’ve binged your way through Spike and the gang’s adventures more times than you can count, fear not. There’s a galaxy of other captivating anime series waiting for you to discover. Cowboy Bebop often tops the list as a gateway anime for good reason. Its unique blend of jazz-infused melodies, deep character development, and clever storylines make it a standout in the genre. Even though Netflix’s big-budget remake didn’t quite hit the mark for many critics and fans, there’s a universe of anime out there that captures the spirit of Bebop in its own way.
So, whether you’re into spacefaring westerns, thought-provoking sci-fi, or gripping crime dramas, there’s an anime out there for you. Cowboy Bebop casts a wide net with its references, giving you plenty of options to explore. Even the series’ creator, Shinichiro Watanabe, has ventured into themes and ideas reminiscent of Bebop in several of his subsequent works. So, let’s take a look at some of the must-watch anime series for Cowboy Bebop fans.
1. Baccano! (2007)
If you’re a fan of Cowboy Bebop’s stylish action sequences and jazzy vibes, you won’t want to miss Baccano! Set in 1930s Chicago, this anime offers a thrilling ride filled with classy and chaotic action scenes. The show’s period-accurate soundtrack adds to the immersive experience. Baccano! tells its story out of order, featuring an ensemble cast on a quest for missing bottles containing the elixir of immortality, with numerous side stories weaving into the overarching plot.
2. Psycho-Pass (2013 – 2019)
One of Cowboy Bebop’s charms lies in its well-written and likable anti-hero protagonist, Spike. If that’s what drew you in, Psycho-Pass won’t disappoint. Set in a futuristic world with a distinct noir atmosphere, this crime-thriller series features a similarly well-crafted protagonist. With its social commentary and engaging plot, Psycho-Pass has spawned a massive franchise, including two sequel seasons and four movies.
3. Gungrave (2003 – 2004)
Gungrave follows the story of two close friends, Harry and Brandon, who are drawn into a crime syndicate due to their illicit activities. As the series unfolds, it becomes clear that Harry betrayed Brandon, setting the stage for a gripping narrative of revenge. This anime’s dark and gripping narrative approach is reminiscent of Cowboy Bebop, making it a must-watch for fans. It’s worth noting that Gungrave, though often associated with the PlayStation 2 video game, has a compelling anime series that shouldn’t be overlooked.
4. Coyote Ragtime Show (2006)
If you’re a fan of Cowboy Bebop’s over-the-top yet visually stunning action and adventure, Coyote Ragtime Show is a perfect match. This anime follows Mister, a space-hopping criminal, who is broken out of prison by his partners, Bishop and Katana, just days before his release. The series is packed with lost treasure, federal investigators, a criminal guild, and android assassins, promising an action-packed ride from start to finish.
5. Blood Blockade Battlefront (2015 – 2018)
Based on Yasuhiro Nightow’s manga, Blood Blockade Battlefront (also known as Kekkai Sensen) takes you on a journey through secret organizations, monsters, gods, and adventurous escapades. Much like Cowboy Bebop, it features a fantastic soundtrack filled with jazz tunes and dynamic fight sequences. While it incorporates more fantastical elements, its tone and setting make it a natural fit for Cowboy Bebop enthusiasts.
6. Death Parade (2013, 2015)
For those who appreciate the dark, film noir aesthetic, Death Parade is a must-watch. Souls become betting currency in a game where they face either eternal ascension or banishment into the void. Adapted from the short film Death Billiards, this series brings a unique edge to its storytelling, offering a captivating and thought-provoking experience.
7. Gun X Sword (2005)
Gun X Sword takes on Western themes in a different yet engaging way, touching on themes explored in Cowboy Bebop. Its aloof anti-hero, Van, embarks on a quest for revenge in a style that retains the anime’s distinct visual and thematic elements. It’s a fresh take on the classic Western narrative, blending the best of both worlds.
Wrapping it up!
Cowboy Bebop is truly a one-of-a-kind gem, but there’s a world of anime out there waiting for you to explore. Whether it’s Samurai Champloo’s music-infused battles, Trigun’s spacefaring adventures, or Gun X Sword’s endearing antihero, the elements that make Cowboy Bebop special can be found in many other series. Anime is a diverse medium, and for a series as eclectic as Cowboy Bebop, it’s only natural that there’s a treasure trove of anime for fans to discover. So, dive in and embark on your next anime adventure!