Space Adventure 'Cowboy Bebop' Returns to Theaters This Month

A special two-day release of "Cowboy Bebop: The Movie" in select theaters across the country brings the adventures of spacefaring bounty hunters — and a loveable "data dog" — back to the big screen on Aug. 15 and 16.

Sunrise Studios developed the classic anime series "Cowboy Bebop," which first aired in Japan 20 years ago, in 1998. Shinichiro Watanabe directed the series and its subsequent movie, and Yoko Kanno composed the music.

The main characters of the anime series "Cowboy Bebop." (Image credit: Funimation Films/Sunrise Studios)

The 2001 film, which is rated R, is largely an extension of the show's modus operandi: The four members of the spaceship Bebop (Spike, Faye, Jet, Ed and a Welsh corgi named Ein) are on a perpetual journey of existential self-realization in the year 2071, after an accident has left Earth relatively uninhabitable and its moon shattered. And they make their living chasing ruthless villains and sympathetic petty criminals across the solar system for financial gain or personal discovery or to perform selfless acts for others.

"Knockin' on Heaven's Door" — the Japanese name for the film — features slick action sequences, captivating storyboarding and philosophical ruminations. And the jazz-influenced soundtrack makes the film a treat on many levels.

The film is a stand-alone story, so first-time viewers can enjoy the movie without watching the original series.

The "Red Tail" spacecraft flies over a futuristic Martian city in "Cowboy Bebop: The Movie." (Image credit: Funimation Films)

Funimation Films, a U.S. entertainment-distribution company that licensed the series and the film, shared information about the upcoming special screening on the company website. On Aug. 15, the film will screen nationwide in its original Japanese-language format with English subtitles. And fans of the film's English dubbed version can enjoy it on the following day, Aug. 16.

Check the Funimation website and use its theater locator to find a cinema near you showing the movie.

Follow Doris Elin Salazar on Twitter @salazar_elin. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on

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Doris Elin Urrutia
Contributing Writer

Doris is a science journalist and contributor. She received a B.A. in Sociology and Communications at Fordham University in New York City. Her first work was published in collaboration with London Mining Network, where her love of science writing was born. Her passion for astronomy started as a kid when she helped her sister build a model solar system in the Bronx. She got her first shot at astronomy writing as a editorial intern and continues to write about all things cosmic for the website. Doris has also written about microscopic plant life for Scientific American’s website and about whale calls for their print magazine. She has also written about ancient humans for Inverse, with stories ranging from how to recreate Pompeii’s cuisine to how to map the Polynesian expansion through genomics. She currently shares her home with two rabbits. Follow her on twitter at @salazar_elin.