Cowboy Bebop is a Japanese science fiction neo-noir anime television series created and animated by Sunrise and directed by Shinichirō Watanabe. The twenty-six episodes (“sessions”) of the series are set in the year 2071, and follow the lives of a traveling bounty hunting crew in their spaceship called the Bebop. Although it incorporates a wide variety of genres throughout its run, Cowboy Bebop draws most heavily from science fiction, western and noir films. Its most prominent thematics include adult existential dissatisfaction, loneliness, and the inability to escape one’s past.
The series premiered in Japan on TV Tokyo from April 3 to June 26, 1998. Cowboy Bebop was a critical and commercial success both in Japanese and international markets, garnered several major anime and science fiction awards upon its release, and received unanimous praise for its style, characters, story, voice acting, animation, and soundtrack. Since its release, critics have hailed Cowboy Bebop as one of the greatest animated television series of all time.