The mighty Cowboy Bebop has finally arrived on Blu-ray here in the UK and I’ve just three words for those of you who have the previous DVDs and are on the fence regards the new HD version- Buy! Buy! Buy!
As you can see from these quick snaps I’ve taken, its a fine-looking set and packaging-wise much better than we here in the UK usually get. The main box is heavy cardboard with both an art-booklet and a smaller case that holds the two discs. This inner case/digipack is designed to look like a VHS tape. Very retro (and if I recall correctly its a clever in-joke referring to something in an episode that will appear in the second set). It even follows through to the other side of the case too, as you can see from the picture on the right. Its a neat touch that betrays some of the TLC this show has received by this new label (All the Anime).
I also just managed to watch the first episode when I got home from work. As the show dates from 1998 and before widescreen became the norm, it is displayed in its correct 4:3 ratio with a wonderfully sharp and defined HD image. In 5.1 the soundstage is wonderfully wide and the music has a real hefty kick to it. I originally bought Bebop in its first R1 edition, so never saw the ‘remix’ DVD that came later. I must say I’m very impressed with how the show looks and sounds in HD, its really something of a revelation to me (if I recall correctly that first DVD edition had the show in basic 2.0 stereo).
Needless to say having not seen the show for some years I’m really looking forward to watching this, but will have to delay watching anything beyond episode one as I’m midway through the first volume of the wonderfully odd and enigmatic Steins;Gate, a show that I’m really enjoying. You wait years for a decent anime series and they all come along at once…