Thank you, Cowboy Bebop.

Thank you for being an amazing ice-breaker. Growing up, if I were to say that I was into anime, people would roll their eyes and have that look of “oh, you’re one of those people” on their faces. Then you came around. If I mentioned that I liked you, many eyes were widened and we shared a fanboy/girl moment as we listed which episodes and characters we loved and related to most. You made a lot of conversations not only bearable, but they became the starting points of some great friendships.

Thank you for giving me crash courses on a multitude of film genres and how to splice them together effortlessly. You were an operatic space western with elements of film noir and tragicomedy, as well as so many other things. As a filmmaker, I look back on each episode and marvel at how every scene was set up to convey a particular emotion, how intentional each character’s blocking was, and the lighting. My god, the lighting was exquisite.

How do you make a creepy guy truly terrifying? Lighting!

Lighting is my least favorite part of film production, but it is what elevates a movie or tv show from good to great. Gratefully for you, you were a cartoon, so you could fudge with reality a bit to make a shot work, but it was never excessive or over the top.

Thank you for that soundtrack. Yoko Kanno and the Seatbelts crafted songs that weren’t just background filler. They are just plain good, so much so that your soundtrack is the only one from an anime I own in physical form. Tank! is a go-to song for working out and being classy as heck. In The Rain still gives me chills with each belabored organ note. It’s all so good and each song fits the mood of the scene it’s in perfectly.

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Thank you for having amazing cast of characters. Spike Spiegel, Faye Valentine, Jet Black, and Ed... whose last name is absurdly long. All of them are ridiculously cool. Spike is always nonchalant, even when fighting drug-enhanced foes that could K.O. him in one hit. He’s so nonchalant that the audience can feel the air go out of the room when he actually does get serious. Faye is more than a femme fatale, a woman with a stolen past making the best of her situation and kicking many a behind along the way. Jet is the grouchy, but loyal best friend that you always want in your corner. Tenacious to a fault, he doesn’t give up and is there for his friends, even if he thinks doing so is a terrible idea. Ed is a techno-wizard and is the best kind of bonkers. Together, they have deep, meaningful conversations on existentialism, nihilism, and where they’re going to enough woolongs to afford their next meal.

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Thank you for being so dang cool, and for making me feel cool too.

See you, space cowboy