Cowboy Bebop: Shooting Star, Volume 1 - Yuki Nakamura, Cain Kuga, Hajime Yatate, Owen Thomas Recently, I finished watching Cowboy Bebop for the millionth time. I love that anime. It is one I will never grow tired of. The animation, music, story, characters, and setting just flow so smoothly together. I even love the movie and video games they created to go along with the anime so, naturally, I was looking forward to reading the manga. When I picked this up, I was beyond ecstatic! I mean, this is Cowboy Bebop for crying out loud! Of course it's going to be epic! Well... I read it... and I was left a bit underwhelmed. It wasn't bad... however, it was good either. It was just... there. Nothing really exciting happened until the last two chapters and even then it was a bit overshadowed by the... bizarre art style. I was expecting something amazing to happen in the manga and that did not happen.

I don't doubt that Cain Kuga has talent. It's obvious. However, I don't feel her artwork nor her story-telling fits with the Cowboy Bebop universe. The artwork just did absolutely nothing to complement its anime counterpart. Spike looked like a completely different character. Ed looked nothing like herself nor acted like herself (more on that later). The only one that looked much like himself was Jet. Faye looked a bit like herself. All of the spaceships seemed... off... and the background was nothing to drool over. I feel like Kuga's artstyle is more for bishounen type characters... or buffy characters. There's no middle ground with her. Her story-telling was a bit... bland. It was towards the end where I was actually interested in where the story was going. I wanted to know more about Scorpion and how he was going to run the Dragon Syndicate. However, that's where my intrigue ends. Everything else was rather mediocre.

Characters were NOT the characters we came to know and love. I suppose Spike and Jet's personalities were in tact... but Ed? No! That was NOT Ed. I don't know who that was but that was NOT Ed. She acted spoiled, bratty, annoying, stupid, and pathetic. I'm sorry but the Ed I know would not go around acting like an imbecile. Strange though she was in the anime, she was never one to lower herself in order to get what she wanted. That was just... insulting to her character. She never made careless mistakes and she never said things more than once! (Except for Faye's name, which was cute and endearing in the anime... not so much here.) The other characters I have some complaints on (like how Spike forgot about getting food. What the hell?) but none compare to how I feel about the portrayal of Edward's character.

In short, it's a a manga that you should read if you really enjoy the anime and you want to see another take on it... but only read it once. It's not worth going through so much headaches twice. Well, since it ended on a pretty good high note, maybe the second volume won't be so bad. As I said, the ending of this volume was pretty interesting so I will be reading the next one to see where it goes. Hopefully, Kuga had enough time to improve the story and not kill the characters anymore than she already did. Still, I recommend reading it at least once. Take it out of the library if possible first before you decide on buying it.