Cowboy Bebop Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

The latest creation from Bebop creator Hajime Yadate. His goal was to create one last adventure with the entire Bebop clan before they go their separate ways. The movie takes place between episodes 22 and 23, just before the aforementioned takes place. The development team remains the same, with the exception of Junichi Higashi being replaced with Atsushi Morikawa, and set designer Hiroshi Takeuchi taking over for Isamu Imakake. Although Heaven’s Door take place on the always-popular planet of Mars, the visuals look different from anything seen in the series. Two new staff members, along with a trip to Morocco are the cause for this surprisingly new take on Bebop.

Viewers are greeted with a nice little prelude followed with the beginning credits. This is where Cowboy Bebop animation is at its finest. People walking around on streets look so real, that people sometimes mistake it for real motion video. Through the use of computers and the latest in animation technology, the Bebop team has been able to create one of the smoothest animations ever seen. This smoothness has only been seen in Pierrot Le Fou (Episode 20), but even that looks mild by comparison. Detail to animation remains constant throughout the length of Heaven’s Door, leaving the viewer to listen to the story without worrying about its presentation.

To keep things from getting monotonous, the team introduced some new characters. Vincent Volaju, a mysterious man with 300,000,000-woolong bounty on his head; Electra Ovilo, a Faye-like woman chasing after Vincent; Rasheed, a Moroccan looking man based on the team’s real life guide; and Lee Sampson, a fat, oriental man with computer knowledge comparable to Ed’s. These four characters add all the twists and turns needed to create a full 2-hour movie. Of course, all the original characters return to add their Bebop style. The character designer stays the same as the series, so viewers feel right at home, even with the new characters.

One major difference between the series and the movie is the backgrounds. Set designer Hiroshi Takeuchi accompanied the team on a Moroccan scouting trip. During the movie, we see the team move through a bazaar that is very reminiscent of one you would see in Morocco. Although the scenery is attractive and new, it can be distracting. Viewers may feel that although the story takes place on Mars, its surroundings look very unfamiliar. This sort of style is not reflected in the Bebop series and feels uncomfortable when alongside the cast. However, as the movie progresses, viewers adapt to their new surroundings and accept it as something Bebop.

Yoko Kanno and her Seatbelts set the standard for movie soundtracks. Playing everything from country to jazz to rock and roll, the music is always pumping to the Bebop rhythm. 17 all new songs emit from screens everywhere. Every song fits with what is going on in the film. Kanno is known for doing interesting things with jazz, and Heaven’s Door is no exception. She even goes the length of matching a trumpet with an oboe (strange!), or how about having an entire orchestra play a jazz number? Unlike the foliage, the music in Heaven’s Door goes hand in hand with the music in the Bebop series.

When the movie ends, all questions are answered and everything is resolved. The Bebop team used a stroke of genius as to when to introduce the new characters. Because the movie takes place just before the Bebop clan goes its separates ways, anything that happens in the movie does not have to connected to the series. The movie keeps a steady flow from beginning to end, making it something easy to watch. With great animation, a superb soundtrack, and something new, Cowboy Bebop Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door is something all anime fans should check out. No prior knowledge of Bebop is needed, so everyone can tune in and enjoy.

tagged anime:
October 13th, 2007 at 3:41 pm | Anime Reviews | Subscribe to comments | Respond? | Trackback?

Leave a Reply