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Cowboy Bebop Opinion Article

The end: trying to understand

Opinion by MrsSpooky posted over a year ago
fan of it?
Where's the blood?
Even before I finished watching the series, I saw people saying that Spike dies in the end.

That's what I get for googling Cowboy Bebop.

On a number of the question/answer sites out there, people asked the question, "Did Spike Die?". Numerous answers said "yes, he's dead" and you'd see an occasional "it's ambiguous." I saw the question being asked in a number of places, getting the same answers.

This got me scratching my head. If he so obviously died, why do people have to ASK if he died?

Puzzled, I continued watching the series. I had to see this for myself, if this was ambiguous or not (and how could it be ambiguous?).

I knew a few things about the end - "Bang." Drop. Men with guns at the bottom of the stairs. Star fades. I didn't know exactly what happened though, so I had to check it out.

Real Folk Blues started, and yeah, it's really intense. Really dark.

Spike goes after Vicious, like we all knew he had to. That final battle was the most terrifying thing I'd ever seen. Spike shoots Vicious. Vicious falls dead. Spike is standing there, victorious. I was flooded with relief. HE'S OK!!

Now he's coming down the stairs. Yeah, he's injured, but the front of his suit has no blood on it, like it would be if he was slashed with a sword. Men with guns at the bottom. I was waiting for the hail of gunfire to finish him off, 'cause he obviously wasn't slashed.

Wait. Nobody's aiming a gun at him. One guy lowers his gun. What the heck...? "Bang." Drop.

Camera pans back, birds fly.

"Wait. What? HE AIN'T DEAD! What the heck was supposed to have killed him? Why do people think he died?"

He didn't have ANY blood on the front of his suit (mrsspooky.net/bebop/images/SpikeStairsKnifeShoulder.jpg for a larger sized picture - notice the knife still sticking out of his shoulder). He fell and no blood pooled under his body. He collapsed - people collapse for numerous reasons that don't involve death.

The birds flying and star fading looked more to me like they were signaling the end of Cowboy Bebop than signaling Spike's death, especially when you factor in the promos for the last 4 or 5 sessions, moaning about how Cowboy Bebop was ending soon.

They said to pay close attention to how it ends. I did. I paid closer attention than I think they intended. I wanted to see if the people who told me I was engaging in wishful thinking were right.

It's not wishful thinking.

Add to that the fact that nothing says he died. Nothing. Not even the official Cowboy Bebop guides that were published for the show. They all say he 'collapsed.' Collapsing is not the same as dying.

Sorry. I did not see that character die.

I've had people try to tell me he HAD to die to make it a good ending. The ONLY explanation for this anyone's been able to offer is "storytelling, beauty, poetry."

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but I think that's a crock. I'm sure that all means something to people who say that, but it means nothing to others and it certainly means nothing to me.

If you ask me, Spike OBVIOUSLY survived, and nothing official coming out of anyone at Sunrise contradicts that. The fact that so many think he died leads me to believe that maybe the ending WAS ambiguous (I guess), or the viewers just weren't paying close enough attention.

This is my opinion based on what I saw. Your mileage may vary. :)

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I felt the exact same feeling as you MrsSpooky:)
posted over a year ago.
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MrsSpooky said:
Glad to hear it, Pitrocks14! :) There are SOOOOO many of us out there. The "Spike is dead" crowd is quite vocal. I guess I like to make sure that anyone new to Cowboy Bebop is aware that it's not a 'fact' that he died ('cause it's not).

With everyone saying he was dead (and I didn't understand why), I had to know whether I was engaging in wishful thinking like people were telling me I was. That's why I put up http://mrsspooky.net/bebop/spikesurvivees.­htm­l (which will be updated again today with something new I just saw). I can justify knowing Spike is alive with what is on screen, what's in print and interviews. We're not wrong. :)
posted over a year ago.
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I actually agree, too, though I don't really care whether he lives or dies... I just wouldn't mind knowing if he did actually die, or if he didn't. I think, maybe, that the producers didn't want to say that he didn't die, because otherwise people would demand another series of Bebop - and they obviously don't want to make another series. And, I don't want them to, either.
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago
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MrsSpooky said:
I wouldn't want them to make more either - it wouldn't be the same. I heard he WAS being bugged for more Bebop, but he finished that story and wanted to move on. Can't say I blame him, I'm sure he didn't want to make a career out of that one show, you know? :)
posted over a year ago.
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Heh, yeah, I know what you mean. I think it would kill the whole Bebop thing for me. Plus, after watching the Real Folk Blues last night, along with Hard Luck Woman, I realised just how much I love Cowboy Bebop. XD
posted over a year ago.