Cowboy Bebop (Japanese: カウボーイビバップ, Hepburn: Kaubōi Bibappu)) is a Japanese anime series created by Shinichiro Watanabe, was a fan favorite for good reason.
It is a story about a ragtag crew of bounty hunters and their spaceship, the Bebop. The show follows the adventures of Spike, Jet, Faye, and Ed (Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV), who are trying to make ends meet in the year 2071.
If you loved the Cowboy Bebop anime, then you'll love some similar anime which are like Cowboy Bebop. These anime series have similar plots and characters but with a different genre of storytelling.
1. Samurai Champloo
Samurai Champloo features two main characters who live in a corrupted society. Both have swords and are very skilled in combat and fighting. The show doesn’t hold back with showing blood and demonstrating how deadly their blades are.
Mugen and Jin, the main two characters, encounter each other and end up dueling before getting caught and being set for execution because they have rebelled against the governor. Mugen and Jin had met a girl named Fuu prior to the time of their execution, and they agreed to go along in her journey if she helped them escape.
Psycho-Pass crime coefficient value is used to determine what kind of character criminals are. In order to solve crimes and capture criminals, the police department has no choice but to use those people to fight themselves, the people with the same Psycho-Pass value, named Enforcers. A new inspector has been hired, her name is Akane, and she is forced to use Enforcers as her subordinates.
The world of Psycho-Pass is Sci-Fi, and those fancy weapons are used by the Enforces to capture all those rats of criminals. The main protagonist from the Enforces is named Shinya Kogami, he is cold, quiet and straightforward, as well as powerful.
Baccano is one of those anime shows where it is incredibly hard to watch at the beginning due to confusing events and unexplained storytelling. But after watching the entirety of the anime it has masterpiece storytelling. Baccano is presented by multiple events that will all crossover at one point. The show is bloody and has lots of gore.
There is no one main character in this show because there are multiple events, all characters in those events are considered the main character. Baccano contains unnatural events as well. There are those who can regenerate their limbs and those who can summon demons to gain eternal lives. The only way for you to find out the purpose of this show is to watch all of it.
Vash! A badass protagonist in a red costume and small orange glasses. He is an intimidating figure and a fearsome one if he wasn’t reckless and dumb in the head. Vash is one of those funny main characters who would stand and fight an army with a gun that is unloaded without them realizing it.
He loves to improvise and make many scenarios funny for himself. Trying to rescue two girls who had set him free prior to the story, he faced a large man with a high bounty while being armless. But Vash was able to pull through and capture the man as well as receive the bounty. What more events will he encounter in his journey?
5. Space Dandy
What’s a better anime that is similar to Cowboy Bebop other than an anime made by the same author? Space Dandy is a hilarious comedy anime with a completely different setting. Dandy is a bounty hunter in space, he is the main character with lots of amusing traits. In the show, Dandy can be seen at his favorite restaurant eating and totally flirting with the women serving there.
Since it’s in space, aliens and other species exist, and Dandy makes sure to enjoy his time with every single one of them. The show presents scenes in a funny unpredictable way instead of being serious like Cowboy Bebop.
6. Outlaw Star
A mysterious individual has been on the run from a group of Spaceships, the women had no other choice but to escape to a Planet called Sentinel 3. Outlaw Star features each Planet with special statistics like population and the current industry. Gene, the main character, is a powerful man who is brave and funny and seeks to go to space one day.
Gene will also do anything for easy money, and killing criminals with a bounty on them is one of his hobbies. A girl named Hilda has called his enterprise and asked for spaceship parts and a bodyguard which would happen to be Gene. Learning that Hilda is a wanted lady, what will he do to help her?
7. Black Lagoon
The shower starts with a Japanese man being held at gunpoint by two foreigners. They were looking for a package from Asahi industrial company in Tokyo and he was in charge of it. Those two would later have their name be revealed as Dutch and Revy. They had taken a whole ship hostage just for a disk, however, that disk contains scandalous information to destroy the entire Asahi company.
The hostage was later started to be called Rock, at least by Dutch. Taken into a bar, he learned more about those people and their third friend Benny. But while they were having a ‘civil’ conversation by getting themselves drunk, they were attacked by a group of assassins with rifles. What will they do to defend themselves and deliver the disk to their client?
8. Gun X Sword
Gun x Sword is a very cool show where it brings fantasy and the theme of the West into the story. Revolvers and swords! That’s what the main character uses to fight his enemies. Van is the protagonist of the story, he encountered a young girl inside a church where he found three men who committed a crime at a funeral. Realizing the girl was still alive, he quickly took care of those men without killing them.
The mayor was informed about Van’s actions and he quickly seeks him as a bodyguard to prevent a man named “Lord Lucky” from harassing them any longer. Van rejected his request, yet he still went and lurked to Lord Lucky’s base. The woman he met earlier has successfully persuaded him to help her and defeat Lord Lucky.
9. Shaman King
Shaman King is an old anime that was reproduced in 2021, giving much better quality, voice acting, sound effects and pacing. Onmyouji is an evil figure that reappeared in this world after a thousand years by giving birth to a child possessed by Onmyouji. However, the mother was giving birth to a twin, so half of Onmyouji’s powers lie within the second child.
He is their only hope to defeat evil. Shamans are humans who can interact with spirits and gods, and Yok Asakura is the destined Shaman child. With his powers, he can have a powerful guardian to help him fight other Shamans if needed or get rid of evil spirits.
10. Coyote Ragtime Show
An old veteran character called Mister has left his fortune on a planet called Graceland. He is a loyal man to his subordinates and friends, and he had taken care of his daughter after her real father’s death.
The show starts with blowing up a prison cell, Mister’s friends Bishop and Katana have arrived to set him free and inform him that the planet Graceland, which once was full of water and green plants, is set to be destroyed in seven days. Mister, his daughter and the crew have to work together to retrieve his fortune before the planet is destroyed.
11. Bungo Stray Dogs
A guy named Atsushi is on the brink of starvation. While living in an orphanage, he was kicked out and left on the street without shelter. While Atsushi was getting frustrated at how fate led him to this, he encountered a man drowning in the water. When he saved him, he received a backlash instead of gratitude, because the guy was actually trying to suicide.
After a while, he was treated with food before Dazi, the guy Atsushi saved, revealed he is a detective alongside his partner. They are from the “armed detective company” that hires detectives with unique abilities. Dazi figured that Atsushi is a huge tiger that appeared two weeks ago in their city, so he used his powers to capture him.
Grave is an individual with incredible abilities and special guns that are capable of killing the monstrous Orgmen. The company that made Orgmen is called Millennion, and the boss of the company has decided that Grave must be exterminated. Grave, also named Brandon, has betrayed the boss of that company in the past.
After confirming that the person who annihilated the monsters was Grave, the boss promised to make sure to kill him no matter what. In the beginning, Grave is accompanied by a woman who wants to avenge her mom and an old guy who is responsible for taking care of his unnatural powers.
13. Michiko & Hatchin
Michiko Malandro is a prisoner that attempted to escape her cell and it ended with it being a successful breakout. Now, being on the run, Michiko must hide her identity to remain safe, but she doesn’t exactly do that. Michiko goes around starting a heist and stealing more money. At the same time, the anime takes it to the story of a little girl called Hana.
Being an orphan living with an abusive family who manipulates her and uses her for their own benefit, Hana struggles against them and against the pastor who made her believe he was the reason she is alive. But all that ended when suddenly Michiko crashed into their house and took Hana from them, claiming that she is her mother.
14. Death Parade
Perhaps this anime is considered to have the biggest bait of an opening. The vibes and atmosphere the opening gives are completely different to what the story is. People might think it’s cheerful, but it’s not that at all. Quindecim is a bar where people are forced to play games that put their lives on the line. Those people can’t exactly remember how they got into this place.
And the worst part is that they can’t leave the place until they finish the game. Death Parade has supernatural abilities, for example, a dart thrown at a board can affect people’s nerves and organs. However, the plot twist is much bigger than what it first appears to be.
15. Blood Blockade Battlefront
A new town is called Jerusalem's lot, it was placed at the same location New York was three years prior to the present story. There are creatures who live there that look way different from humans. New York became the city where multiple worlds intertwined.
Leo is a reporter who had his camera stolen by a sonic speed monkey. While chasing after the monkey, he ended up in an unfavorable situation in the middle of a crime scene only to be saved by a guy from a secret organization called Libra. It recruits superhumans to keep balance in this world.
16. Ghost In The Shell
In a not too far away future, humanity has developed a technology modern enough to replace their limbs and body organs with cybernetic parts. Their consciousness had been named Ghost, and people’s Ghost can be placed in any kind of shell or a body, hence the name of this classic movie. A puppet master is the antagonist of this story, a lifeform that was born from the huge net of data.
Hacking into other people’s cybernetic parts will leave people unable to control their Shell. For that reason, the main character Motoko Kusanagi has kept her Ghost and humanity to some sort. Mysteries are to be revealed, and the answer to what makes people humans will be found out.
17. Lupin The Third
Zenigata is a detective that seeks recognition by solving mysteries and discovering hidden crimes. Trying to find Lupin, a murderer and a thief, or at least that’s what they proclaim, he enters the mayor’s mansion for evidence. While Lupin might seem carefree, he is actually confident and bold with his actions. He was able to remain hidden until he obtained his goals.
Lupin the third has a fixed number of casts, and each part is different and independent. With Lupin the Third, each episode and adventure has different events and stories, as an episode of its own. Lupin the third has also a very unique art style.
The anime begins with Mikado Ryugamine attending a private school in Tokyo for the first time. He was invited by an old friend called Masaomi Kida. Going around the city and being introduced to the areas, Kida informed Ryugamine that there are people he must avoid at all cost, some of the names he mentioned was Izaya Orihara.
Mysteries and legends are to be noted in Tokyo. The infamous black bide was spotted by Ryu, and he directly has caused himself to be involved with anonymous gank and the infamous headless rider. Durarara has non-linear storytelling that is very interesting.
Noata is a young boy who lives with his father and grandfather in a messy apartment. Most of the time he hangs out with his brother’s ex and he asks her if his brother had sent any mails from America. Life was bland for the young boy until he met the Vespa woman. She smashed a club on his forehead and left a strong impression on Noata. Later, he discovered that she became his apartment’s working maid.
Haruko Haruhara. Is her name, and she claims she is an alien. Naota's life turns upside down with her appearance, and he opens his eyes the more he starts to know about the mysterious Vespa woman.
Cowboy Bebop Frequently Asked Questions
What is the story of Cowboy Bebop?
The story follows the adventures of a washed-up bounty hunter named Spike Spiegel and his crew of misfits as they try to make a living on their spaceship, the Bebop. The real stars of the story are Spike's partner Jet Black and Faye Valentine, who is a femme fatale with an uncanny way with machines.
Cowboy Bebop is an action-packed show that is set in 2071, which is set in a post-apocalyptic world. The story follows a motley crew of bounty hunters on a spaceship called Bebop as they travel the universe in search of wanted fugitives and battle the shadows of the past. While pursuing their elusive targets, they also encounter a host of enemies, and must rely on each other to survive.
As an action anime, Cowboy Bebop features bounty hunters who are called “cowboys”. The show is also a modern take on the space western subgenre, which merges spaceship adventures with the frontiers of the Wild West. Bebop also took inspiration from the Lupin III anime franchise, which centers around misfits and rogues in a seedy underworld setting. By combining these two subgenres, Bebop succeeds in delivering an entertaining story with strong character building.
Why is Cowboy Bebop so popular?
Although a live-action remake is typically not favored in the anime community, Cowboy Bebop still managed to be one of the most popular and critically acclaimed animes of all time. Its crisp animation, crackling soundtrack, stylized aesthetic and unpredictable world endeared it to fans acrosss the West, making it one of the most popular animes of all time.
In the minds of most anime fans, a live-action remake cannot compete with a show that is as rich in culture and history as Naruto.
Is Cowboy Bebop controversial?
Bebop is not racist by any means, but with its themes of space cowboys, bounty hunters, and intergalactic law enforcement, it's no wonder that some people might see it as controversial. In reality, Cowboy Bebop has been extremely popular with fans over the years because of its creativity and thematic depth.