Cowboy Bebop (カウボーイビバップ Kaubōi Bibappu) is a critically acclaimed and award-winning 1998 Japanese anime series written by Keiko Nobumoto, directed by Shinichirō Watanabe, and produced by Sunrise. Its 26 episodes (“sessions”) comprise a complete storyline: set in 2071, the series follows the adventures, misadventures and tragedies of four bounty hunters, or “cowboys”, travelling on their spaceship, the Bebop. The series explores several philosophical concepts including existentialism, loneliness, and existential ennui.
The series' art direction centers on American music and counterculture, especially the beat and jazz movements of the 1940s–1960s and the early rock era of the 1950s–1970s, which the original soundtrack by Yoko Kanno and the Seatbelts recreates.
Cowboy Bebop was a commercial success both in Japan and international markets, notably in the United States. After this reception, Sony Pictures released a feature film, Knockin' on Heaven's Door (2001), to theaters worldwide and followed up with an international DVD release. Two manga adaptations were serialized in Kadokawa Shoten's Asuka Fantasy DX.