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Cowboy Bebop: 9 Must-Watch Episodes To See Before The Netflix Live-Action Series

Spike bleeding after a battle
(Image credit: Sunrise)

Cowboy Bebop lived as one of the best anime series of all time for decades, and now it’ll get a chance to be one of the best live-action series’ of all-time, thanks to Netflix. Footage from the upcoming Cowboy Bebop series appears to show it will adapt a few key Cowboy Bebop episodes, which may encourage some to binge the original on Netflix.

For those hoping to do such a thing, I’d highly suggest avoiding the final two episodes when choosing what to watch to get a feel for the series. There are plenty of episodes to watch that are worth checking out, so for those looking to get a taste of the upcoming Netflix original but don’t want to watch the entire 26 episode series, here are nine episodes of Cowboy Bebop that are worth checking out. 

Spike smoking a cigarette in Cowboy Bebop

(Image credit: Sunrise)

Asteroid Blues (Episode 1)

“Asteroid Blues” is the first episode in Cowboy Bebop, and in my opinion, one of the best of this fantastic series. The episode opens with an event that leads Spike to the path he’s currently on, then picks up at an asteroid colony designed to look like Mexico. There, Spike and Jet pursue a man trafficking a dangerous combat drug known as Red Eye. It appears the Netflix series will adapt this episode based on a shot of the colony, which I’m all about. This episode made me fall in love with Cowboy Bebop, and I wager it will for others.

Vicious and Spike in Cowboy Bebop

(Image credit: Sunrise)

Ballad Of Fallen Angels (Episode 5) 

Cowboy Bebop is a slow burn when it comes to Spike’s past, so when episodes surface that finally dive into his story, they’re almost always classics. In this episode, we get a true taste of Spike and Vicious’ animosity for each other and the reason these two are at each other’s throats every time they cross paths. No spoilers, of course, since it will likely be a major storyline of the series, but suffice to say, this one is a great watch.

Child in Cowboy Bebop

(Image credit: Sunrise)

Sympathy For The Devil (Episode 6) 

There are a few times Cowboy Bebop feels more like sci-fi than a western, and this is absolutely one of those times. “Sympathy For The Devil” starts out as a normal adventure, but things quickly go off the deep end when the enemy the Bebop team is searching for is a murderous child. This is a great one to watch just to see how weird Cowboy Bebop can get, which is something one wouldn’t necessarily think about watching the live-action trailer.

VT in Cowboy Bebop

(Image credit: Sunrise)

Heavy Metal Queen (Episode 7)

Cowboy Bebop episodes, for the most part, are filled with jazz music. The soundtrack is part of what makes the series so great, but “Heavy Metal Queen” introduces a cool change of pace when it brings in the bounty hunter VT. VT is one of the most successful bounty hunters in the business, and she’s also someone who loves the genre of heavy metal music. VT isn’t someone immediately recognizable in the Netflix trailer, so it’s not known if she’s in the series or not. I do hope she is, though, because I love the character and think it’d be great to see some sort of rock celebrity stand-in for her for just one episode.

Ed in Cowboy Bebop

(Image credit: Sunrise)

Jamming With Edward (Episode 9) 

Most folks who grew up watching Cowboy Bebop episodes remember Ed, but a lot may not remember she doesn’t actually come into the series until Episode 9. The Bebop crew are on the hunt for an elusive hacker no one seems to know the true identity of. It turns out that the elusive hacker is a young teen girl named Edward, and the person actually responsible for the mayhem of the episode is a lonely satellite powered by artificial intelligence. This one is important to watch because it’s the introduction to Ed, who we assume will appear in Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop at some point.

Vicious in Cowboy Bebop

(Image credit: Sunrise)

Jupiter Jazz Pt. 1 (Episode 12)

“Jupiter Jazz” is one of two two-parter episodes in the Cowboy Bebop episodes, and with good reason, because it details a lot of Spike’s story from before the series started. It’s here we see a brief interaction with Vicious and the Red Dragon syndicate and get some idea of what the true nature of his tension with Spike is really about. We also meet Gren and Lin, who are both from Spike’s past and become embroiled in the drama as well. Faye and Jet are also heavily in this adventure, but mainly as support in a primarily Spike-driven set of episodes.

Gren in Cowboy Bebop

(Image credit: Sunrise)

Jupiter Jazz Pt. 2 (Episode 13)

You can’t watch the first part of “Jupiter Jazz” without seeing the exciting conclusion! Granted, Part 2 is really only the mid-point in the series, so there’s still plenty of things that play out beyond Spike’s reunion with Vicious, Gren’s past history, and why Spike walked away from the syndicate. We also get a lot about Julia, which is a mystery that continues to unfold as the series continues. This is also one of the few times “The Real Folk Blues” doesn’t play in the outro credits, which is jarring because that song slaps.

Faye in the hospital in Cowboy Bebop

(Image credit: Sunrise)

My Funny Valentine (Episode 15)

Faye Valentine is typically shown to be stubborn, careless with money, and generally unreliable. One could get the impression she’s an awful person, but the Cowboy Bebop episode “My Funny Valentine” gives a lot of depth to her story that explains a lot of her shortcomings rather well. If you don’t exit the episode as a fan of Faye by the end of it, I’m not sure you ever will.

Pierrot in Cowboy Bebop

(Image credit: Sunrise)

Pierrot Le Fou (Episode 20)

“Pierrot Le Fou” is another one of the few instances in Cowboy Bebop episodes where the space series feels less like a western and more like a science-fiction series. An assassin with a high bounty is on the loose, and with good reason because he can fly and has superhuman strength. Spike goes toe-to-toe with the bizarre villain and is eventually taken to one of his least favorite places in the world, an amusement park. This episode isn’t necessarily necessary to the story in any way, but Pierrot is seen in the trailer for the live-action series. For that reason alone, this one’s worth a watch.

The original Cowboy Bebop is available to stream on Netflix right now. Watch that, and then get excited for the release of the live-action series, which will arrive Friday, November 19th. 

Mick Joest

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.