screenplay by Keiko Nobumoto
directed by Shinichiro Watanabe
by Walter Chaw Yôko Kanno's soundtrack for Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (hereafter Cowboy Bebop) is a jubilant a blend of funk, jazz, blues, soul, and punk that soars even though it's a pale shadow of the "bebop" innovated by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and Bud Powell (and Kenny Clarke and Max Roach) in Minton's Playhouse in the early 1940s. It functions as something of a brilliantly mellifluous backbone to the film and the series that spawned it--chimeric and socially significant, again like Bird's bebop, in that the 26-episode Japanese television series became one of the most recognized and revered crossovers in animated series history. The bebop idea of riffing on a melody to the extent that the melody becomes unrecognizable (with an attendant introduction of dozens of beats to the standard four-beat bar) carries through in the frenetic kineticism of series that also, by its format, mirrors jazz bebop's compact agility (generally carried by quartet and quintet arrangements)--making a feature-length film, then, a strange place for the "Cowboy Bebop" franchise to go.