Movies - TV
Gundam's Success Gave Cowboy Bebop The Room It Needed To
Be Weird
Shinichirō Watanabe’s “Cowboy Bebop” is a genre-defying sci-fi Western ballad with noir elements that delivers compelling storytelling, relatable characters, and an exploration into the complexities of human nature. However, Watanabe could only experiment with new concepts and storytelling formats in “Cowboy Bebop” due to the success of another Studio Sunrise anime: “Mobile Suit Gundam.”
Anime as a genre was gaining steady popularity by the time “Cowboy Bebop” was conceived, and Sunrise experienced immense success with their flagship anime series, “Mobile Suit Gundam.” Audiences resonated with the anime due to its robot designs, seemingly feasible technology, and gritty, nuanced picture of war, kickstarting an entire industry of plastic model kits known as Gunpla.
Shin Sasaki, the managing director at Studio Sunrise, explained that due to “Mobile Suit Gundam” popularity, Watanabe and his team were given “some leeway to experiment with new concepts.” While “Cowboy Bebop” did not sell merchandise like “Gundam,” despite the company’s desire, it garnered a dedicated global fanbase to Watanabe and the creative team’s vision.