30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 19
Before I start writing about the most epic scene in anime, I want to have a shout out to Ninety’s Blog for also doing a 30 day anime challenge. Be sure to check his blog out.
I love closure and conclusions in anime. 9/10 times my favorite scene from a franchise or an anime will be at the end. The conclusion should wrap the themes of the show into a neat little box with a nice bow full of suspense, and emotion. It should be memorable and final, with all loose ends tied up by the show itself or hints given to create our own interpretation. So what anime could possibly have a conclusion with such a bang? Cowboy Bebop.
Cowboy Bebop is an episodic show about bounty hunters trying to catch bounties to earn a living. Many of the episodes involve catching the bounty, but not getting the reward for it through a series of unfortunate events. This is a very subtle allusion to how life seems pointless, there is no treasured conclusion to life. You have to create your own meaning in life. The whole series itself is just a collection of stories that do not lead up to anything, but it leaves you with an array of emotions and thoughts that stay with you forever. Creating your own meaning for Cowboy Bebop.
Faye Valentine spends most of the time in the series trying to figure out her past, and trying to find a home where someone is awaiting her. When she finds out there is no one from her past who truly loves, with no other place to go she returns to the Bebop, but still moves forward and faces reality. Spike loses Julia and similarly has lost his one place he wanted to go back to, but instead of moving forward, he confronts the unchanging past in vain. This juxtaposition is shown in the final episode where Spike decides to confront his past and face off against Vicious, and when leaving is confronted by Faye Valentine.
And all these points come together to culminate into a single moment of catharsis with the finale, Spike’s battle against his own past. A pointless battle where Spike will not find happiness, yet has meaning to him as its the last reason for him to be alive. Designing the most famous death in anime history that can be brought up in one word.
There are even so many intricacies with that one scene. Such as how Spike has his left eye, which represents his past, closed and bloodied, while he looks at the camera with his right eye and says the glorious line. When he says Bang! with his hand pointed toward the camera he is passing the baton to us, the viewers. Which is amplified by the tagline at the end of each episode, especially the with the last episode.
A reference to the Beatles song Carry That Weight, The show has become part of your past and your burden. You are going to face obstacles and meet people just as the crew of the Bebop. “Episodes” of relationships and happiness which will be dissolved as you move on with your life. Things can never be the same and you have to live with the burden of what could have been.