Japanese animation made in 1998 by Sunrise and Bandai Visual. Highly popular in the United States via Cartoon Network's Adult Swim late night program for its excellent combination of story, characters, visuals, and soundtrack.
Basically a line of 26 "stand-alone" episodes loosely linked by an underlying story based on the characters' pasts, and mainly about their bounty-hunting adventures throughout the solar system in 2071 A.D. Good inclusion of humor also added.
Characters: (The 4 main)
Former gangster (of the Martian "Red Dragon" Chinese Mafia) and Jet Black's partner. Pilots his Swordfish II MONO fighter, has green fuzzy hair, smokes. Also hates kids, animals, and women with attitude.(Corresponding characters below)
Former I.S.S.P. (Inter Solar System Police) member who lost his left arm in a past incident and owner of both the BEBOP ship and his MONO combat ship the Hammerhead. Is real old-fashioned and quite a man of morals. Smokes too.
A heavy gambling woman who appears young (through cryogenic hibernation) but is actually older than she looks, and is in serious debt to the hospital that suspended her. Has amnesia from an accident in her past, and is very irritable. Also a smoker.
Ed(Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV):
The crazy, eccentric, yet brilliant all at the same time hacker from Earth. Claims to be 13 and is often confused for a boy. Built and named her own computer "Tomato". Is the only non-smoker beside the unique dog Ein.
A good mix of 2-D animation and at times 3-D CGI(Computer Graphic Imagery) to provide the visually stunning sci-fi action.
Perhaps the best backdrop for the entire series. With music composed by reknowned composer Yoko Kanno, her expertise in the American fields of jazz and blues and performed by the SEATBELTS and various other artists, Cowboy Bebop is among the best in the combination of these elements.
In my personal opinion, I respect it as an art form which takes into consideration great multicultural and respected influences (maybe except for the booze and smoke)to add to its satisfying entertainment.
For starters, watch the first episode of COWBOY BEBOP "Asteroid Blues" either on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim (USA) or on DVD.