Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cowboy Bebop Session #13: Jupiter Jazz Part 2

When we last left off our fearless hero, Spike, was laying lifeless and face-up in the snow following one Vicious escape. Questions remain regarding Julia. She is clearly Spike's former lover, but where is she?

Mr. Saxophone shares some backstory with Faye in Cowboy Bebop, Session #13, Jupiter Jazz Part 2. It would appear the transsexual was a comrade of Vicious on a planet called Titan. It was windswept sandscape ravaged by a raging war and all were once comrades in battle. I'm not sure if Spike was there at this point.
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When Mr. Saxophone returned from the war he was placed in prison. Word has it Vicious testified against him. Mr. Saxophone was utilized as a kind of government guinea pig and placed on a drug program which forced his hormones to go out of control which is how he grew breasts. This is all very odd I know. He tells Faye he wants to know if Vicious turned him in and that he's not afraid to die. Faye is dubious and fires upon him, but he grabs her.
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Meanwhile, Jet is looking for Faye and learns she was at the bar he visits. The barkeep tells him Faye had been in the establishment. Julia also frequented the joint. "She was a real woman." Oddly, no women appear to live on Jupiter. So it's a rare sight.
Spike flashes back to a conversation with Julia and his plans to leave the Syndicate. Spike awakens in the snow and nonchalantly notes, "I'm not dead, how 'bout that?" He was taken down with a tranquilizer gun. How 'bout that? That explains it. Why wasn't he killed?
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Jet finds Faye cuffed in a building. I like Jet in his Russian cossack's hat. The music that plays over the middle segment is quite mellow and once again works with the images of our character's search beautifully.
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Meanwhile, Gren [aka Mr Saxophone] has gone to meet Vicious. Linn gives a package to Gren as part of an exchange atop a tower. Gren calls Vicious a liar for selling him down the river, slides the package back to him, shoots it and it explodes. It was a bomb. Spike sees the explosion from afar and gets in the Swordfish. Gren tells Vicious the music box he gave him in the war was opened because Gren was a friend of Julia at the bar. She knew it was a gift from Vicious. The music box had a solar transmitter in it. Gren asks if he was trying to kill him again. He tells Vicious he looked up to him and believed in him. Linn jumps in front of Vicious and sacrifices his life for him. Off rockets Vicious. Gren is a pretty tough customer for a guy turned girl. It does all seem kind of random having Gren show up in this episode. Maybe there will be more to his involvement later.

video
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In the skies above, Spike and Vicious enter into a deadly dogfight and the half-woman, half-man that is Gren joins the fray shortly thereafter. Vicious takes out Mr. Saxophone and goes after Spike. Spike averts two heat-seeking missiles. Suddenly aboard Vicious' ship he hears the twinkle of the music box he gave Gren. It ignites into an explosion and Vicious actually shows fear when he hears it. Vicious makes it back to his Syndicate vessel. Spike checks on Gren on the planet below.
Coughing blood, Spike holds a dying Gren. He tells Spike he wants to go back to Titan. He asks Spike to lift him back into his vessel out of the snow. He tells Spike Julia always talked about him. She told Gren Spike's eyes were different in color. "You get a strange feeling if you keep looking straight into his eyes." Gren recalls the lilting tune he used to play for her that gave her a smile. It was a sad, beautiful smile. It's here that I recollect the flashbacks of what appears like doctors working on Spike and the reference to the eye combined with the conversation here that alerts me to the fact that somehow Spike was given a bionic or false eye. If this is true, he's a considerably good shot with just one eye unless it truly is a bionic eye.
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Spike delivers Gren in tow back to space to die enroute to Titan before heading back to the BeBop. Jet is happy to have Spike back.
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And so endeth the next chapter in the Spike & Vicious thread. Some consider Jupiter Jazz to be one of the finest entries in the series. I'm not falling in love with the series like I thought I might. Having said that, I do like the characters, concepts and the general idea. Still, it has been a solid anime production on the whole. Giddyup!
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Jupiter Jazz Part 2: B+

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