Cowboy Bebop (1998): Cowboy Bebop: Speak Like a Child   Rewatch 
November 23, 2014 8:54 PM - Season 1, Episode 18 - Subscribe

Faye gets a mysterious package with a lot of forwarding addresses, and she leaves instead of dealing with whatever is inside. Jet and Spike end up dealing with its contents, which includes a treasure hunt on Earth. Ed shows off a surprising amount of knowledge for ancient technology.

"Go! Go! Me, me, me! Do your best, do your best! Me, me, me! Don't lose, don't lose! Me, me, me! I am no longer here. But I'm here today, and I'll always be cheering for you right here. Cheering for you, my only self. "

See you, space cowboy ...
posted by filthy light thief (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Everybody on the Bebop is running from something, but Faye is the only one who doesn't really know how she's wound up in the time and place she finds herself in. To me the two most affecting moments in this series involve Faye. The the scene from this episode flt calls out in the post, and the scene in the final episode when she tells Spike to go to Julia.

It never fails to choke me up is when the shot cuts to a close-up of Faye during the cheer. She can't remember making the tape, but it's clearly her. It's a message from her teenage self sent not ten years into the future like she planned, but five decades. Faye is so jaded and cynical in 2071, she tells Gren, "I tell ya… instead of feeling alone in a group, It's better to have real solitude all by yourself." Teenage Faye just wants her to feel alive and do her best.

One thing I've always been curious about is what Japanese word or phrase is translated as "don't lose" in Faye's cheer. I've only ever seen the version they've shown on Adult Swim, so I've never heard the original Japanese. I always presumed it was a bad translation of がんばって/Ganbatte, but I'm not sure how one would get "don't lose" from a phrase that means "good luck."

Anyway, this is one of my favorite episodes of Cowboy Bebop.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:49 AM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I forgot how moving that scene is. I watched it last week, and I was choked up.

ob1quixote, that contrast caught me, too. The difference between the fairly self-assured, but generally happy young person Faye was, compared to the cynical, conniving woman she is now is pretty stark, but I see a lot of who she is came about by necessity. She has literally nothing to work with besides her wiles, and the reality of a crushing debt following her wherever she goes.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:59 AM on November 24, 2014

I agree that Faye's earned every bit of her cynicism and bitterness. She trusted the first people she met in the future, and look where that got her: Running for her life and barely scraping out a living on a rusty tub where even the dog is more sure about his place in the world than she is.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:00 PM on November 24, 2014

Catching up...

While rewatching this episode, I realized that I had absolutely no clue about the folktale that Jet briefly tells Ed at the beginning of the episode, about Urashima Taro and the Tamatebako. Wouldn't you know, it turns out that there's some interesting thematic and narrative parallels between the story (which predates Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle by a few hundred years) and the episode. From Wikipedia:

The Tamatebako appears in the story "Urashima Taro", where the fisherman was invited to the enchanted palace of Otohime, who is the Mistress of the Sea, after saving a turtle. Urashima Taro went, ate at a big feast, watched the fish dance, and enjoyed the enchanted land for three days. Eventually he began to miss his home land.

So he asked Otohime to send him back home, which she was happy to do. As a parting gift, she gave him the Tamatebako with explicit instructions to never open the box. He went back home, but to his dismay, all that he once knew had changed. He did not recognize the people, the buildings, or anything at all. He came across an old man, and asked him if he had ever heard of Urashima Taro. The man replied that he had heard of him, that he had gone to the sea 300 years ago and never returned.

With time he grew very depressed, and decided to see what was in the box. When he opened the box, a white puff of smoke escaped, and he was transformed into an old, white haired man. The time that had passed while he was at the palace was great, and Otohime had stored his old age away in the Tamatebako, which Urashima Taro released.

Clearly, Faye's lost-in-the-future story parallels Taro's: Although Faye is roughly aware of how old she is, it wasn't until she saw the tape that she realized how much she had changed in that time. The journey that Jet and Spike take to retrieve the last known Beta player also parallels the mythology of the tamatebako, which was itself a "lost technology"; The origami instructions for folding a tamatebako had been long forgotten and weren't rediscovered until hundreds of years later in the 1990s. In their own way, our proprietary media formats are another kind of diabolical puzzle box, to be labored over by future archaeologists in much the same way that we do with ancient artifacts like Stonehenge or the Antikythera mechanism.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:31 AM on December 21, 2014

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