By LJ Douresseau
Nov 2, 2003 - 10:22
Translation: Amy Forsyth
Anime director Shinichiro Watanabe and the studio Sunrise produced a manga adaptation of their hit anime COWBOY BEBOP, which has had a long run on the Cartoon Network cable channel. Advertisements often bill the anime as being a mixture of science fiction, spaghetti westerns, film noir, and jazz music. The manga, however, has none of these flavorings, but the most disappointing thing about the comic is that it has such potential and delivers so little on it.
Tokyopop publishes the English Cowboy Bebop as graphic novels, each one containing four stand-alone stories. Each story has an interesting premise, but the scripts are woefully under written. Writer Hajime Yatate skimps on character development and each story is just big enough to be constrained by its page count. It's a totally frustrating read because the characters, even from what little characterization that Yatate gives, are intriguing.
The art has three modes - spectacular, poor, and jumbled. There are pages that display excellent draftsmanship and dynamic layouts of frenetic action sequences. On other pages, the artist Yutaka Nanten seems so bored with quiet character moments that he simply tosses off careless drawings. And sometimes, there's no telling what he's trying to draw. The reader could be blind for the mass of confusion some panels convey. Cowboy Bebop is not a bad adaptation, it's only a good adaptation badly done. GRADE C