Cowboy Bebop, one season long, acclaimed by some critics as well as acclaimed by my friends. Before even going into this class I was already planning to watch the entire show, and from all the hype I’ve heard from my anime obsessed friends I can surely say that I’m expecting a mind-blowing anime, one that will shoot out of my computer screen, take over my life, and force me to go dressed up as my favorite character in the next anime convention at gunpoint.

So after all the hype, what’s the expectation I have?

It’ll be above average.

I’m thrown right into this guy here, who’s dropped his cigarette, and it’s raining and it’s obvious that whoever wrote this was trying to set up a tone that I’ll express as a “downer.” He’s got a bouquet of roses…and apparently one has fallen out. Perhaps it said something anti-Semitic to the other roses and they kicked it down of their red ship, which was covered in wrapping and propelled by enslaving humans to carry it.

It’s skipped to two very short flashbacks, and now we have ourselves some figuring out to do throughout the show. Apparently something has happened and all that we’re told of in the flashback is that…something has happened. Apparently whatever happened involved a lot of gunfire.

ALRIGHT SO THEN, The greatest thing ever had occurred, something that requires extreme attention:

The Cowboy Bebop Theme song.

This isn’t just a theme song; this is a work of pure art. I’d try to further explain the unbelievable “epicness” involved within this one song, the involuntary displays of adrenaline it invokes upon its listener and the feeling that something amazing is about to occur, but the definition of this theme can only be obtained by listening to it.

The show begins, we’re apparently in space and the character who has dropped the roses has a name (and is not just some stranger who walks the street, dropping single roses which ABC follows around to sweep up and use for their bachelor related programming) and that name is Spike. I thought maybe I’d try to access why Keiko Nobumoto had possibly chosen that name for him. Spike isn’t an everyday name, and the word itself has meanings to it; so it’s very possible that it wasn’t just the lucky draw of a hat that gave him this name. Well, I decided to look a little at the back-story at this point and found that Cowboy Bebop is simply put, set in the 1920’s-1950’s America but in space. It takes the Jazz/Early Rock scene that was growing during that time and pretends that it’s all occurring to an intergalactic era, a time where space travel is a daily occurrence and planet to planet travelling is just part of your day job. Apparently In the 1920’s trains were a common use to the public, and being that this is set in what’s basically the 1920’s [in terms of the society] and a spike would be what’s used to help put together the train tracks, I’d say his name means this: He keeps everything together. He’s the spike that keeps the entire fate of the universe in line. Every person is a spike, but he’s the most famous of the spikes because he’s got the most important position in the tracks. In this case, he’s a bounty hunter.

Along with spike, we’re introduced to Jet, another uncommon name. This one I’d say seems pretty straightforward; a Jet is a flying attack vehicle. Perhaps he’s in charge of this ship they are on.

Seems that Spike is doing some kind of training exercise, as Jet tells him that he’s made bell peppers and beef, which Spike starts an argument over because it’s just bell peppers; seems to me like Spike should sue the owner and demand a refund as well as a 50$ coupon to any of their other franchises.

Well these seem to be two very broke bounty hunters, and Spike is also careless with his job, doing large amounts of damage to property and people unrelated to his target. So they are going to go to Tijuana and catch someone by the name of Asimov Solensan to try and get his bounty.

We’re cut to Tijuana and find Asimov and a woman walk into a bar, where Asimov sprays something called “bloody eye” into his eyes and then a bunch of “gangsters” come in and shoot up the place, which Asimov and the girl kill. It’s strange to see how although everything seems all like it’s in the “future”; they are all using regular handguns and rifles.

Turns out Spike and Jet are after the “bloody eye” that Asimov has, and he’s apparently very hard to kill when he sprays it onto himself. From the earlier scene it seems like he turns into some kind of Predator-like creature, moving too fast for human’s, faster than bullets, and has the ability to process visual information very quickly.

Spike decides to make a pit stop at some kind of public restroom, and as he’s in there, Asimov comes in too and Spike shows his first sign of genius when, as he’s leaving he says, “you know, it’s better to just leave the water running…so you don’t clog the drain” and then he just leaves.

Whistles some blues song and leaves…and then runs into the girl. He’s got great luck, and even better is that when he bumped into her, he made her drop her groceries, and then took some food from her. Apparently they somehow got friendly, because the next scene involves them talking outside of Spike’s ship…plane…car…something that can fly. She finds out he’s a bounty hunter, after he delivers another genius line “I’m just an old fashioned cowboy” and Asimov appears behind him and almost chokes him to death before she tells him to stop. As he was let go, he reached into Asimov’s pocket but I couldn’t really tell, and I don’t see how he could do that and actually pull something out being that he’s pretty much nearing his death from choking.

To break off from the story, I’m going to put here that Spike is a great character. He seems like a natural laid-back kind of person, and what’s better is his joking atmosphere. It’s comedic, but not in a way that’ll make someone laugh hysterically, but instead in the way that someone tells inappropriate jokes at a funeral. Upon being awoken by Jet, he’s asked by Jet “Having ourselves a little nap, huh?” and Spike replies in the most upbeat of tones “I had a sweet dream.”

So turns out he did reach into his pocket, and pulled out a vial of the “Bloody Eye” which according to Jet was stolen by Asimov from whatever gang he belonged to, and Asimov  took all of it.

Asimov comes into another bar where this time a man dressed in a sombrero and a poncho is waiting for him, they exchange some words about buying “bloody eye” and turns out the man is Spike. Spike and him exchange words, and here’s where the show gets amazing, Spike throws the “bloody eye” in the air (its enclosed in a vial), and shoots it with his gun.

This has angered Asimov, as the vial was the only way to save his grandmother from dying a terrible disease related death. No, actually it made him angry because he was planning to sell it to escape to Mars. So now, they are physically fighting.

Now the fight scene itself was great, but what made is absolutely amazing was the music that was backing it. This smooth jazz accompanying this fight scene makes it seem so much more…”killer” (I’d use cooler, but it doesn’t seem like it’d really express the intensity of the music). Unfortunately the fight scene is interrupted by a Vanilla Ice impersonator who works with the gang that’s against Asimov. Asimov gets away with the girl, and Spike is left to deal with the gang alone until Jet comes to the rescue with his ship. The fight scene has apparently turned into a chase scene, as Jet and Spike go after Asimov who has stolen a ship and taken off in it. The chase goes from over the city to outer space.

One thing about the chase scene, the soft jazz they chose over it was an awful choice. It just didn’t fit at all; it was actually a little bothersome.

As they fly into space, the girl notices a blockade of ships ahead of them, and says that she’ll never see mars and they’ll never get away alive.

Suddenly the music is interrupted by a gunshot, and we see she has shot Asimov. This scene lasts for maybe thirty seconds, where you see her holding Asimov with the gun in her hand, and it just looks so spectacular and dramatic. It’s a great ending to this short story.

Afterwards the blockade barrages the ship with bullets and she is killed with it, so I’m guessing Spike and Jet have lost their bounty.

The final scene is the same as the first, Spike’s training and Jet comes in, he says the foods ready. Spike asks what it is, and Jet replies: “Special, Bell Peppers and Beef.”

Overall, the episode had a lot of great scenes. But it had a few boring ones too. At certain parts it seemed like it was dragging just a little, like in the scene where Spike was talking with the woman. The soundtrack was unbelievably amazing though, I’d give this 4.5 out of 5.


Regarding Ward Churchill,

February 15, 2010

1. Should U of Colorado have launched an investigation?

An Investigation was the right thing for the University to do, a University is supposed to care about what the people working there teach in their classrooms. Whether Churchill had decided to make an essay entirely supporting America or saying that America’s policies had a part in influencing 9/11, an investigation should’ve been launched entirely on the basis that all schools need to know who is teaching in their classrooms, but that doesn’t mean I agree with doing extensive psychological testing on them like they’re some kind of lab rats or that they should be fired because they oppose the views of the general public, but it should be known what a professor is publicly willing to state (just like Churchill had on his website) and whether or not the professor is teaching it in his classrooms without debate.

2. Should a professor, a public intellectual, who knows history and does research be allowed to speak on a subject like this? Is dissent like this protected?

They shouldn’t just be allowed to speak about this, they should be asked to speak about it constantly. A person whose main focus is on history should be talking about every major world changing event through the eyes of history and through their own research all the time against others who study in the same field to allow those that are willing to listen to it decide what they think is right. Dissent like this isn’t only protected; it’s advocated by most free-thinking individuals. It’s the first amendment that gives us the ability to freely speak, and in context to this specific case, as long as Churchill wasn’t advocating violence he should be able to say what he wants to, which is what he did when he was asked to write his essay.

3. Would you have fired Ward Churchill?

No, it’s not a crime for a person to speak their mind. As long as he wasn’t forcing his belief upon students, there was no reason for him to be fired. He is free to go so far as to read the entire essay in his classrooms and let people debate it, as long as he wasn’t forcing his views on the students he should’ve been allowed to continue teaching and not be deemed unfit to teach his students and have his position in the university terminated.

4. Should conservative students have their values protected as David Horowitz wants? In essence, should a professor have to teach BOTH sides of an issue? Or should it be their prerogative to teach what they believe is “true” or “most accurate”?

If conservative students had to have their values protected then the same would have to be done for liberal students, and if both sides’ values are being protected then no one is going to be able to learn anything. Neither side needs to have anything protected; they both just need to be respected within a classroom. There is nothing wrong with having students debate their opinions. A professor shouldn’t have to necessarily teach both sides of an issue, but they should make their students aware of both sides. It is however, important that a professor know about both sides of an issue so if a student wanted to hear the opposing sides argument, they could explain it.

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February 5, 2010

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