Cowboy Bebop's Music Had A Major Impact On Every Aspect Of The Show

Without the music of Yoko Kanno, it is safe to say that the world of "Cowboy Bebop" would not be nearly as memorable. Sure, the story of a band of misfits traveling the galaxy is already an exciting premise. However, the composer's music made the episodes come to life in ways that the animation alone cannot accomplish.

ShinichirĊ Watanabe always knew that Kanno was the one for this genre-bending series, even if she initially wasn't a big fan of jazz, the primary genre of music he had in mind for "Bebop." In an interview with otaku website OTAQuest, the director revealed that her eventually agreeing to compose a jazz score set the tone for the entire series.

"If things really did go that way, and she wasn't involved, then 'Tank!' would have never seen the light of day, and 'Cowboy Bebop' may never have realized its full potential," he said.

Let's jam

Watanabe did not say that lightly. When asked to elaborate on this, he cites a critical moment from the episode "Ballad of Fallen Angels," where Spike falls from a window after a heated confrontation with his old enemy, Vicious. According to him, the scene had not occurred to him until Kanno delivered the song "Green Bird." Inspired by the composition, he decided to write that scene and used the song as its score.

"I feel as though a genuine synergy between both music and video was created," he reminisced. "She inspired me to create songs that I didn't ask for, and I was inspired by her music to make scenes that I originally didn't even plan."

This is a very interesting revelation, and it makes sense when you actually watch the show. "Bebop" has frequently been described as an immersive show for its viewers, where they slowly get attached to Spike and his crew amidst the chaos of the galaxy. Kanno's score is crucial in creating these bonds between the show and its audience.

That's radical

However, the importance of Kanno as the show's composer actually manifests within the show itself. According to an interview originally published in the now-defunct magazine Wizard Anime Invasion, the character of Ed was at least partially inspired by the composer. Watanabe said that they were more influenced by the composer's "inner behavior," and Kanno ended up agreeing.

"I've never been aware of it, but when I see a portrayal of Ed, I realize I do a lot of things like her that I'm not even aware of," she said. "Like during a recording session, I may decide to take a nap on the couch in the middle of it. I never thought that as like Ed, but everyone thinks it is!"

At this point, it's fair to say that if Kanno decided to turn down Watanabe's offer, "Cowboy Bebop" would have been a completely different show. Not only would we not have the show's influential and iconoclastic score, but we also might not have had one of its most important characters. It's really strange to think about a world with someone else composing the music for the anime, and we should all be glad that the world where she did is the one we live in.