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volume 3 issue 4

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Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door
Japanese Only DVD
Region 2
114 Minutes
Bandai Visual
Sony Pictures
Hajime Yadate
The creators of the original Cowboy Bebop series take viewers on a final ride with the Cowboy Bebop cast. The ride was arguably the best one yet.
Overall Rating:

Animefringe Reviews:
Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door
By Alex Brotman

Viewers of the original Cowboy Bebop T.V. series asked for it, and the kind employees of Sunrise and Bandai provided it - Cowboy Bebop the movie. This, however, is the definite end to the popular series. As Hajime Yadate (conceptual developer of the series) mentioned, the creators of Cowboy Bebop would like to end on a high note, and they have.

Beneficial to those who have yet to watch the series, Knockin' on Heaven's Door is a completely separate entity from the television series and can be viewed without having prior knowledge of the characters. The story opens with an interior monologue by the main character, Spike Spiegel. While this monologue goes on, viewers get to see the primary antagonist, Vincent Volaju. New to the series, Vincent is introduced as a dark, lonely individual.

Later, after Vincent's introduction, viewers get a glimpse at the possibilities of Vincent's threat to the heroes of our story. Vincent sets off a bio-chemical bomb during rush hour traffic, killing all within a one-mile radius (possibly inspired by the 1995 attack on the Tokyo Subway System). Immediately, a bounty is placed on his head. This new bounty is an enticing interest that is instilled in the Bebop crew; and so begins the interaction.

Other new characters to the movie include: Electra Ovilo - an employee of the firm Vincent stole the bio-chemical weapon from whom is also seeking him; Rasheed - a sort of information supplier and advisor for Spike; and Lee Samson - a video game-playing hacker looking for infamy, who remains as Vincent's assistant.

The story was definitely a great one, recommended to all. After you watch it a first time, you may notice a hint at the reality of the story based on a scene that takes place after the credits sequence at the end. The bonus materials on the DVD are as follows: One commercial, two theatrical trailers, TV Spots, Non-Telop opening, and, perhaps the greatest bonus, a Non-Telop ending. A nifty book that appears to be a secret document accompanies the DVD, giving information on the story and characters. The menu sequences are great, and there is a good use of the soundtrack (a great soundtrack developed by Yoko Kanno) while navigating. Also, there are 39 chapters, meaning users can navigate to a point within the movie more easily, rather than having to sit through 5 minutes of already-seen story.

The downfall of the DVD is the lack of interviews and story boards to view. Although the movie lacks interviews, the series DVDs make up for this with plenty to watch. The story boards, a popular feature in American produced animation DVDs, would have been nice to catch a glimpse of.

As for the rest of the technical details of the DVD, they are as follows: 114 minutes of movie, 13 minutes of bonus materials, Dolby Digital 5.1 Channel Stereo, Single Sided, 16:9 view, 7,800 Yen (About $60 USD).

Overall, the movie itself was great. The storyline meets the quality of the series, if it doesn't excel beyond it. As for the DVD, it is a worthy purchase if you speak Japanese. Perhaps the U.S. release will see new features added.

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