Late 90’s and early 2000’s Cowboy Bebop was a gateway series for anime in general.
Shinichirō Watanabe has perfectly combined sci-fi and western classics with his series. Set in the year 2071, the anime follows a ragtag team of bounty hunters who work together to make ends meet.
Cowboy Bebop dabbles in existentialism on a regular basis, so her interactions with the characters are a definite highlight. It’s normal for fans to give similar anime a chance as well. Here’s a look at a few series that might resonate with you.
Note: This article is subjective and reflects the personal opinion of the author. This list also includes other works by Shinichirō Watanabe.
space dandy, Echoing Terror and 6 other anime that share some similarities with Cowboy Bebop
A few years earlier Cowboy BebopWatanabe had been working on a four episode OVA series. macros more explores similar themes of space battles and artificial intelligence, emphasizing relationships between characters.
This is the story of two old childhood friends who fall into a love triangle. It also features a sarcastic main character with a troubled past, much like Spike Spiegel.
Macross Plus was a revolutionary series for its time. It combines traditional cel animation with computer generated technology. For that reason alone, it’s definitely worth checking out.
2) Children on the slopes
Watanabe himself directed this Yuki Kodama series. children on the slopes was highly acclaimed for its visual beauty, in-depth analytical themes, and overall artistic direction. Cowboy Bebop was built on the same principles.
children on the slopes shows a group of high school students making friends through jazz music. The anime is a coming-of-age story as many characters need to mature with their life experiences.
Watanabe also addresses LGBT issues in this work, so it might resonate with this particular audience.
3) horror in resonance
Also known as terror in Tokyo, this anime is a much more serious work by Watanabe. It is about survivors of a secret government experiment who are determined to reveal themselves to the world.
Writing the characters definitely requires some work, but the animation style and official soundtrack are top notch. MAPPA is the studio behind the series, which makes perfect sense.
At least, Cowboy Bebop Fans can watch as Watanabe dips his toes into the psychological thriller genre.
4) Carol and Tuesday
Carol and Tuesday is another series set in the same period as Cowboy Bebop. Fifty years after humans colonized Mars, two young girls must work together to break into the music industry.
Music has always been an integral aspect of Watanabe’s creative work. Carol and Tuesday contains several original songs from several genres. These range from atmospheric synthpop to lyrical rap. More importantly, they are sung by none other than professional singers.
Carol and Tuesday is much easier than Cowboy Bebop, but both are connected by their emotional storylines. Fans will stand behind the main characters who strive for greatness.
5) Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Cowboy Bebop is much more realistic, but the action keeps the audience engaged. The same goes for coo lagann.
Powered by legendary Studio Gainax, this series features fantastical mecha combat and a colorful fusion of musical genres. For this reason, “Libera Me From Hell” is absolutely worth listening to.
coo lagann is more than just fan service. The characters are charismatic and the risks are very real. It’s easy to get emotionally immersed in this anime.
1998 was a very good year for anime fans. Cowboy Bebop and trigun both deal with skilled protagonists who carry a heavy burden.
trigun involves a desert outlaw with a huge bounty on his own head. Unlike most gunslingers, Vash the Stampede refuses to kill anyone. The overall tone can shift from serious to comedic in the blink of an eye.
Similar to Cowboy Bebop, this series is also inspired by the western genre. This seems to be a recurring theme for most 90’s anime.
7) Space dandy
space dandy is another sci-fi anime directed by Watanabe. It depicts a space explorer who must discover new alien races. Most of the time, he keeps getting himself into trouble.
Cowboy Bebop Fans can definitely enjoy the experimental range of this anime. Each episode is assigned a different art director.
The show itself has loose continuity, meaning characters die in one episode only to appear in the next. It’s far more comedic than any other series on this list.
8) Samurai Champloo
Watanabe started to work Samurai Champloo Shortly thereafter Cowboy Bebop completed. The series is highly regarded for its visual style and gripping fight scenes. The choreography deserves praise for its dynamic movement.
Unlike most of Watanabe’s works Samurai Champloo takes place in the past, albeit with anachronistic tones. Three strangers travel through Japan and meet different enemies.
Watanabe likes to mix different genres together. Samurai Champloo is a multicultural series that features a mix of Edo period Japan and western hip-hop. The rule of cool definitely applies to this series.
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Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh