Cowboy Bebop Soundtrack, Yoko Kanno, 1998
After a somewhat rocky start (that initially didn’t even see all episodes screened), Cowboy Bebop went on to become one of anime’s cultural milestones – on both sides of the Pacific. Setting itself apart from almost anything else produced for TV animation in either Japan or the USA, Cowboy Bebop merged disparate genres and visual styles in ways that helped the series introduce many new Western viewers to anime. Its cross-cultural appeal was partially based on its use of tropes that were familiar to Western audiences – Western, pulp fiction, film noir and cyberpunk (all within a space opera setting). Shinichirou Watanabe’s creation turned out to be popular enough to spawn a movie sequel and feature on many ‘best of’ lists in the years that followed.