Whatever the world or solar system comes to, folks still gotta eat. This is a chronic problem for the characters on Cowboy Bebop but for one member of the crew its questionable how truly crucial it is.

Session Seventeen: Mushroom Samba

Once again, there’s no food to speak of on the Bebop and the crew are looking at each other suspiciously after the emergency rations have disappeared. One thing leads to another and the Bebop crash lands on Io, one of Jupiter’s moons, which has been terraformed, apparently designed to be a “Western World”.

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But as Edward (Aoi Tada) discovers, this is another sign that can’t be trusted. The world seems to be populated by characters from a Blaxploitation film, though even that’s not an adequate categorisation as one man is dragging a coffin seemingly in reference to the 1966 Spaghetti Western Django.

Like everyone else on the ship, Ed wants to find food. Or does she? As she’s about to leave the ship, she starts putting on socks before abruptly changing her mind and deciding she wants to walk slowly across the desert barefoot.

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Maybe her feet are really calloused but I think even a Hobbit would find this rough. Despite her theatrical screams, there’s little since of urgency in what Edward does; a montage of images of her wandering the desert seem like she’s consciously collaborating with director Shinichiro Watanabe, more interested in finding poses than food.

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She decides to try on being a bounty hunter for size. When she actually manages to find a bounty, a dealer in hallucinogenic mushrooms, she sabotages herself with a gas gun she attempts to use on him. But it’s okay; she’s indestructible, she’s too postmodern for hunger or injury.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Bebop crew, on whom Ed has tested the mushrooms, are having a series of amusing hallucinations. The most interesting is Spike’s (Koichi Yamadera) who thinks he’s walking up an endless staircase. He encounters a frog who warns him it’s a path to heaven, a “stairway to heaven” according to the English subtitles. It’s funny yet it also foreshadows the end of the series as Spike continues on the path despite the warning. Ed, the postmodern agent, has given Spike a sort of premonition. But as a more realistic, mortal character, it’s dangerous for him.

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There’s a nicely animated action climax to the episode involving a train chase but with Ed as the protagonist it functions more like Loony Tunes than anything else.

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This entry is part of a series of entries I’m writing on Cowboy Bebop for its 20th anniversary. I’m reviewing each episode individually. My previous episode reviews can be found here:

Session One
Session Two
Session Three
Session Four
Session Five
Session Six
Session Seven
Session Eight
Session Nine
Session Ten
Session Eleven
Sessions Twelve and Thirteen
Session Fourteen
Session Fifteen
Session Sixteen