Debating with Daniel: Cowboy Bebop is not a cheap airport thriller!
I am really a fan of The Sound and the Fury. But I am also really a fan of Cowboy Bebop. I’m not angry with Daniel for responding to my ‘bait,’ but I really think that Cowboy Bebop has more parallels to The Sound and the Fury than is obvious and that it is more than ‘a well-written, yet cheap, airport thriller.‘
This is one of the best anime ever.
I have only watched Bebop twice. That’s not a lot, true, but I haven’t rewatched many series as well. Since this isn’t a research paper I’m not going to refer to critical texts: I’m just going to use my observations to offer parallels.
1) Both examples are highly fragmented.
If one didn’t have enough patience with Cowboy Bebop one would have immediately concluded it as just another episodic criminal-of-the-week anime series. The plot comes together only in spurts, and most episodes really just build the characters up subtly. It all comes together by the end, however, and simple occurrences possess heavy suggestions, but one must be patient.
The same can be said with The Sound and the Fury. All the impatient reader will see is a mass and a jumble of text if he does not spend the time to dissect it thoroughly. The text itself demands patience because it is a palimpsest of events told by untrustworthy narrators (‘a tale told by an idiot’). If one read only the section of Benjy (the retard), one could not make sense of what really happened, seeing that there are more than fifty different events there. The plot only comes together when one arrives at Dilsey’s section, and that is the last section of the book. Many people would say that the novel is only impatient rambling by Faulkner, but we know otherwise.
Cowboy Bebop is also told as if Benjy was the storyteller: the plot jumps from place to place, but it is stylistically and technically better because the revelation becomes more hard-hitting and evocative.
2) Both represent different kinds of doomed loves.
As much as I like action as the other guy, I am also fond of love stories. While I am happier with cheerful endings, the ones that impress upon me more are the tragic ones. Both Cowboy Bebop and The Sound and the Fury possess different characters, all with doomed loves.
Benjy, the retard, loves his sister so much that the rest of his empty life his thinking is pervaded by images of her; Quentin, the intelligent madman, loved the honor of their family and of the Old South, but both have irretrievably disappeared and he tried to cope with it by supposedly committing incest, since incest was better (he deemed) than the defamation of the Compson name; Jason, the miser, loves his money so much only to lose all of it because of his greed; Julia loved Spike so much she was willing to stay away from him if only to preserve his life; Spike loved Julia so much that he went to his death to try to discover if he was still alive; Jet loved but he couldn’t let his manliness express it; and finally, Faye: she knew she loved Spike and admired him but she was trapped in her own selfishness until it was too late: he already had set his mind on death.
The final bang or the plop of the flat irons were the culminations of the heroes’ doomed loves. I actually cried after Spike said his last line.
3) Both depend heavily on sound.
There is a scene in The Sound and the Fury where (was it Luster?) an African-American who takes care of Benjy howls, and Faulkner emphasizes on it by using capital and small letter O’s to emulate the sound, like whoOooOooOey. I don’t need to say much on how Cowboy Bebop relies on sound, do I? Daniel (another one) writes well about it here.
3) Both are exemplary and supreme works of art.
I’m sure The Sound and the Fury leads Cowboy Bebop in terms of its age, but when it comes to repercussions within both their respective media both are masterpieces of art. I won’t bring Cowboy Bebop down to any airport thriller, because while I don’t think it ranks with The Sound and the Fury, I think it also ranks high up there, near it. 🙂
I’m sure you guys can add more. I have school, so I can’t (or at least, not right now).