Cowboy Bebop: Complete Series
Blu-ray | Box Set
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Explore the far reaches of the galaxy in this undeniably hip series that inspired a generation – and redefined anime as an indisputable art form. The Bebop crew is just trying to make a buck. This motely lot of intergalactic loners teams up to track down fugitives and turn them in for cold hard cash. Spike is a hero whose cool façade hides a dark and deadly past. The pilot Jet is a bruiser of a brute who can’t wait to collect the next bounty. Faye Valentine is a femme fatale prone to breaking hearts and separating fools from their money. Along for the ride are the brilliant, but weird, hacker Ed and a super-genius Welsh Corgi named Ein. On their own, any one of them is likely to get lost in the sprawl of space, but together, they’re they most entertaining gang of bounty hunters in the year 2071.
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- The show isn't really HD because it isn't widescreen.
- The show isn't really HD because it is upscaled, and doesn't look better than the DVDs.
- The sound is somehow worse than before.
All of these claims are absolutely wrong. Firstly, the show was originally made in 4:3. That means that converting it to widescreen would require cropping, which would mean both loss of fidelity and loss of parts of the image. If this had happened, I would consider this transfer utterly ruined. Movies and shows should always be presented in their original aspect ratio, and cropping is unacceptable. They are still very much HD by definition.
Secondly, only certain elements of the image are upscaled from SD: the computer animated ones. Anything that contains CG planets or spaceships is noticeably upscaled. While unfortunate, these elements were CREATED in SD, so no HD elements have ever existed for them. It's just something we're always going to have to live with when it comes to this show. That said, the entire rest of the show, all hand-drawn animation, is indeed in native HD and looks significantly better than before. If you can't see the difference, I don't know how to help you.
I also think both the Japanese and English 5.1 mixes are excellent. If you find them inferior, I think you need to make some adjustments to you sound system. It might sound worse when played back in stereo, I don't know. It's unfortunate that stereo mixes weren't also included on the set, but the surround mixes are EXCELLENT.
If you already own the DVDs, it might not be worth the upgrade for you, but if you think it's an inferior version you are wrong.
What you need to know is that every episode is here in its original aspect ratio (4:3) in glorious HD, as it should be, with both the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and an excellent English dub done by Funimation.
That said, CG graphics in some scenes do look slightly blurry. As other reviewers have noted, this is because the show's CG graphics were originally generated in standard definition (in 1998!) and have been upscaled to HD for this release. To remedy this upscaling issue, these assets would have had to have been re-created in HD, which could have risked altering the style of the original (see Ghost in the Shell 2.0, Star Wars on Blu-ray, blegh!). Personally, I’m glad the original animations were used.
Additionally, the original opening and closing sequences for each episode have been edited to replace the Japanese credits on-screen with English translations. While there is an option to watch the original sequences on their own on disc 3, and Funimation did a great job with the translated sequences (mostly matching the original's visual style), the Japanese sequences are memorable, and it would have been nice to have the option to watch each episode unaltered.
Minor usability issues:
- You can’t switch audio/subtitle options during playback, so you won’t be able to compare audio tracks on the fly. Kind of a bummer. You must back out to the main menu to make changes.
- English subtitles are tied directly to the Japanese audio track, so your only viewing options are English audio with no subtitles, or Japanese audio with English subtitles. There are no other language options.
- All episodes on each disc are combined into one long clip on the two Blu-ray players I tested, even when choosing a single episode from the main menu (for example, choosing the second episode on a disc will place you at around the 21-minute mark of a 3+ hour clip of all episodes combined). It would have been nice to have the option to watch one episode at a time.
- As others have mentioned, the way selections are made in the Blu-ray menu is counterintuitive: the item that is greyed out is selected and the items that are highlighted in white are not. There are sections of the menu with only two options (when picking between Japanese and English audio, for example) where this can be confusing even if you know what to look for.
I should also note that my Blu-ray copy of Bebop arrived with two of the nubs holding each disc in place broken off, which fell out of the box when I first opened it. Since it took me a few weeks to open my set after buying it, I wasn't able to exchange it for an un-broken version in time. I don’t hold this against Amazon, since I’m sure they would have honored an exchange if I had reported the issue in time.
My full breakdown of the contents of each disc:
• Sessions #1-9
• Session #1 Audio Commentary with Koichi Yamadera (Spike) and Unsho Ishizuka (Jet)
• Session #5 Audio Commentary with Wendee Lee (Faye) and ADR Producer Yutaka Maseba
• Sessions #10-18
• Session #10 Audio Commentary with Wendee Lee (Faye) and ADR Producer Yutaka Maseba
• Session #17 Audio Commentary with Director Shinichiro Watanabe and Composer Yoko Kanno
• Sessions #19-26
• Session #24 Audio Commentary with Megumi Hayashibara (Faye) and Aoi Tada (Ed)
• Cowboy Bebop Session #0
• Interview with Wendee Lee (English Voice of Faye Valentine)
• Interview with Cartoon Network Producer Sean Atkins
• Original Opening Song
• Original Closing Song
• Original Closing Song Ep. 13
• Original Closing Song Ep. 26
• Textless Opening Song
• Textless Closing Song
• Textless Closing Song Ep. 13
• Textless Closing Song Ep. 26
• U.S. Trailer
' Michiko & Hatchin
' Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine
' Black Lagoon
' Attack on Titan
' Samurai Champloo
DISC 4 (addl. extras):
• Memo from the Bebop: Dub Sessions Remembered
• Ein’s Summer Vacation
• “Tank!” Full-size Music Clip
• “Tank!” Club Remix Music Clip - UK Version
• Dinner Aboard the Bebop
Most recent customer reviews
The menu selections are pretty weak.