I got a new feature up, an essay on Cowboy Bebop I wrote a while back. Rewatching the series for what is now the fourth time for me was interesting this time because I did it totally alone. The other times I'd been introducing people to the show and wowing them with the style and music. Watching the show while scribbling notes and analyzing things was surprising because I realized how truly barebones the stories are. That's not a bad thing, but it made me realize how much of the series is driven by style over substance. The show is about slick anime, fantastic music, and tight action scenes.
It's also very appropriate for film noir, because that's the gist of the genre as a whole. There are no complex moral decisions here. A guy who got dumped, a woman who won't risk another person wrecking their life, and another guy who won't take no for an answer sums up just about everyone in the formula. I think it worked then, today in stuff like Brick, Uncharted 2, my own terrible blog fiction, and finally Cowboy Bebop because these are things people can immediately relate to. You don't become too angry about the ending to Bebop because even if you don't agree, you know why Spike is making that decision. Which is all you really need to tell a good story. I broke down the basic elements of film noir and then used the film that the show was pretty blatantly copying to outline why Bebop is such a great show ten years after its release.
Plus, c'mon, the soundtrack is badass.