Cowboy Bebop A Refreshing Return

Last Updated on by Joshua Mathieu (Jmb a.k.a. The Boss)

For those who haven’t heard the news, recently Cowboy Bebop in HD is returning to Toonami after a two year hiatus along with that the block is now five hours long. I can already hear the vast majority whining over why didn’t they re-air this show or why didn’t they get the “HD” tapes for The Big O. Blah Blah Blah, they rely too much on Bebop, blah blah blah, should’ve been something else.

I for one, want to be the contrarian in this whole debacle mainly for the fact that I’m glad Cowboy Bebop is back on. Granted, if this was two years ago and they decided to rebroadcast Bebop after Deadman Wonderland or Attack on Titan I would tend to have the same reaction. Hell, I wasn’t pleased that they re-acquired the damn show after the original contract they made with Bandai (the former license holder for Bebop) was up. I get that Cowboy Bebop is a staple of Adult Swim, but sometimes leaving a legacy as a legacy can mean a whole lot. Nevertheless they decided to re-air it in SD only for it to stop abruptly then restart again at the beginning of 2015 for them to broadcast it in 4:3 HD glory. After January was up it was forcefully removed from the block and Toonami ran not from 11:30pm-6am but to 12am-3:30am.

After that the rerun slot seemed to be vulnerable to any show Adult Swim had in their library. It could’ve been easy for them to place in Bebop again or rerun Ghost in the Shell or Big O Season two, but instead they decided to focus their efforts on newer shows to rerun again. Mentioned previously after Deadman Wonderland ended its second run, Attack on Titan came in and reran for an entire second time. Then Kill La Kill came in after it, then after that was Parasyte, and One Punch Man.

However, once One Punch Man finished, Adult Swim did something surprising. They decided to rerun a show they own! That being Ghost in The Shell Stand Alone Complex. Not only did they get to re-air it, but also run it for the first time in HD. Which was a huge step up from its original SD airings many years back. Which brings us to now, Toonami is finally re-airing Cowboy Bebop and it’s refreshing to see an old show rerun again. The main reason why I generally disliked Bebop coming back on the air in 2014 was the constant overplay of it. I get that Toonami has the rights to it and they needed something to fill a timeslot with limited resources, but overplay can be a bad thing for any show regardless of what it maybe. It was rather tiring seeing this show air over and over again without any break in-between and even when they did end up breaking for it even giving it a “farewell” marathon after Trigun Badlands Rumble in 2013, they decided to rerun it in July of 2014 because they reacquired the rights through Funimation.

While I personally don’t mind old series being reacquired (look at shows like Samurai Champloo and DBZ) but so soon after that just rubbed me the wrong way. I was pretty cynical when it came to Toonami relying on Bebop, but I can say that them giving it a break was well deserved. Cause the more I think about it, the more that familiar shows are out of the spotlight it makes it more impactful when they do rerun again. That’s why it was refreshing to see Ghost in The Shell again along with Outlaw Star even if this show hadn’t rerun in over a decade. I find that waiting to rerun a classic can give the viewer some breathing room rather than constantly rerunning it until people get sick of it. To me for the abundance of times Toonami has replayed Cowboy Bebop, it got exhausting after a while and became rather stale upon multiple rewatches. It’s a good series don’t get me wrong, but it loses some charm after many reruns. Now with it’s break being over and now rerunning again it’s a nice change of pace. Yes it’s still Cowboy Bebop, an Adult Swim Action classic that’s been run into the ground, but it finally returning means a whole lot. While I probably won’t stay up to rewatch Cowboy Bebop I hope those that do stay up enjoy its run again. It’s refreshing to have you back space cowboy.


Senior Editorial Writer for Toonami Squad and former writer for Swim Squad. Host for Toonami Squad Sessions Podcast.