Cowboy Bebop is regarded by many as the very best original anime that has ever been released, with a worthy manga adaptation that followed it. Our Cowboy Bebop character guide is here to tackle the wonderful cast of colorful personalities who carry a powerful and emotional storyline.
At the core of Cowboy Bebop, after all, are the characters themselves. The entire plot and series are centered around the people who make up the main cast in each episode. From the crew members of the Bebop ship to the one-off members of each episode, here’s everything that you need to know about this series’ characters.
Bottom Line Up Front
Cowboy Bebop has a massive list of characters that are throughout its 26 episodes and single anime film. Most of them are unique to a specific episode with only a handful of recurring people.
The anchor for the series is mostly the members of the Bebop ship, bounty hunters who track down targets and bring them in, dead or alive. To simplify the large cast of characters that are in the series, here is the full list of the people that we will discuss in this Cowboy Bebop character guide:
- Spike Spiegel
- Jet Black
- Faye Valentine
- Mr. Appledelhi
Cowboy Bebop Character Guide
There are just too many characters that are featured in Cowboy Bebop and this largely comes down to the structure of the series. In many shows, especially ones with only a single season, it will hone in on a select group of people who are the main members that you will see throughout the series.
While some of them may come and go at times, die, or have the occasional new character introduced, many anime and manga series will mostly stick to the core group. However, what is unique about Cowboy Bebop is that it follows the “monster of the week” formula where almost every single episode is a new storyline.
As such, there is a new bounty target that the small group of main characters is hunting down, causing each episode to introduce someone new to the series for fans to learn about. This means that the cast is always rotating people in and out, with new people constantly joining the show for a period of time.
In turn, this also means that the list of the main characters is relatively small compared to most other anime and manga series as there are very few significant recurring people because of this. To help with going over the full list of the characters in Cowboy Bebop, we have divided them up into groups based on their role and placement in the group.
Starting off the Cowboy Bebop character guide are the most important characters of them all: the main ones. There are only a handful of these in the series but they are the most recurring members of the cast, showing up in several different episodes each, if not almost all of them.
The bulk of the main characters are the members of the Bebop ship as they hunt down bounties together but there are a couple of other characters worth mentioning as crucial to the plot. Keep in mind that these are the main characters from the anime and manga series so it does not include other ones from forms of media or the slightly changed version.
The star of the Cowboy Bebop is the cowboy bounty hunter himself, Spike Spiegel. He is the protagonist that leads the show, with the series starting about him and his partner’s attempts to earn lots of credits from taking down bad buys who have bounties on their heads.
As a bounty hunter, Spike is a sometimes serious guy who focuses on honing his martial arts combat skills. He will engage in fights with his fists many times but is a resourceful hunter with the ability to use melee weapons and no slouch when it comes to gunfighting, either.
Spike is also a great pilot, allowing him to fly around in the Bebop ship to capture bounty targets and also able to use any other form of vehicle to get the job done. While a strong all-around fighter, he is also a particular guy who likes everything to run a certain way and dislikes many people.
As such, Spike has a personality that is very serious at times but he does crack jokes, usually with his especially dry sense of humor. Much of the history of Spike is shrouded in mystery at the beginning of the series as viewers simply follow him in his journey across the solar system to take bounty missions.
We won’t spoil much of the backstory for Spike here as it is smartly revealed to the fan as the story goes on but know that he is a man who struggles to live in the present. With a past that still grips him to this day, he has plenty of secrets that he even keeps from his crewmates on the Bebop.
Jet Black is the partner of Spike Spiegel and the other lead character in the series. In the beginning, it is just Jet and Spike, with Jet piloting the Bebop ship most of the time. It is essentially his ship and one that he takes full ownership of.
Jet is a bounty hunter at this point in his life but this was not always the case. Like Spike, there is more to him than meets the eye. He was once an interstellar police officer and investigator who would hunt down cases and take down bad guys.
Unfortunately, some events happened in his past that led him to a life of hunting down criminals in a very different sort of way. That said, the investigation and detective life is still very much part of his character and how he handles the various bounty targets that the group goes after.
Faye Valentine, like most of the members of the Bebop crew, is shrouded in mystery. She is a woman with a strange past and she comes upon both Spike and Jet later in the series. Before joining the crew as a bounty hunter, she is a criminal who is trying to survive in the harsh world.
With a tough life, she is forced to do whatever it takes to get by and that eventually leads her into a tussle with Spike and Jet. As a member of the group, she is seen as the emotional core and also a sound mind at times when necessary. She is also a tough and valuable fighter in her own right when it comes to taking down targets.
Ein is the spirit of the team and a support pal that hangs out on the Bebop as part of the crew. Ein is not a person but a dog companion who joins the group partway through the story. Ein is not just the animal mascot for the series, either, as he has his tragic backstory.
Ein was experimented on as a young pup, turned into the genius dog that he is now. Though he mostly gets to enjoy just being a normal dog on the ship, there are times when he helps out the team in taking down bounties. As for his dog breed, Ein appears to be a Corgi.
The final main member of the Bebop crew to mention is Edward or just Ed for short. A young teenager who just so happens to be a genius, she is an expert when it comes to all things hacking. She is also capable of repairs, being the main mechanic and hacker for the Bebop when she joins the group.
Ed is a rather interesting character and a fan favorite for a reason. She is a little bit wild and potentially crazy in the head (the price of being a genius) while also referring to herself in the third person. Ed is a valuable member of the group and one that many fans adore since the show’s creation.
Moving away from the main members of the Bebop crew, we have the final two members of the main cast that are worth talking about. We will avoid spoilers where possible but Julia is a major part of the overarching storyline for Cowboy Bebop.
While many of the episodes focus on the individual bounties that the team is chasing, Julia remains a fixture of the overall plot. In the past, she was Spike’s romantic partner and she continues to occupy his mind as someone that is constantly thinking about.
Finally, we have Vicious who is the central antagonist for the series. A member of the Syndicate, the massive crime organization that runs the solar system behind the scenes. He specializes in melee combat with a sword that he keeps close on him at all times.
Vicious is exactly what his name sounds like: a horrible person who is willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants, no matter how many people he hurts along the way. Like Julia, he is a recurring character who takes center stage as the series goes on.
Moving on from the main characters in Cowboy Bebop, we come to the recurring ones. These are people who appear in more than one episode of the series but may not have the substantial roles as the previously mentioned characters.
It could be that they are featured in more than one storyline that the bounty hunters deal with or that they just show up randomly to help out the team at times. Some of them even have past ties to the main characters, assisting them when necessary.
Big Shot Hosts: Punch and Judy
Starting off with the most popular and famous recurring characters, we have a duo in Punch and Judy. They are the two hosts of the fictional show in the world of Cowboy Bebop known as Big Shot. This show is all about revealing the hottest new bounties that have appeared in the solar system. They usually give a rundown towards the beginning of most episodes.
They dress in western cowboy and cowgirl outfits, definitely putting forward the space western theme that Cowboy Bebop is going for as a sci-fi version of the classic western movies.
Anastasia, or Annie as she will also go by for only certain people, is a person who has past associations with the Red Dragon Syndicate. She is a pal to Spike and encounters him at times in the story. She runs a store on Mars.
Bob is a police officer who is also a former coworker of Jet. He is the main connection that Jet still has to the force, frequently offering to give details about bounties and targets that the Bebop crew is going after.
Lin is a member of the Syndicate and one who works with the main villain, Vicious. He knows Spike somehow from before he became a bounty hunter and is tied to Spike’s past.
Gren is a saxophone player who works on the moon of Jupiter, Callisto. Before becoming a performer, he had his dark past in being a soldier who participated in the Titan War. He is a person who encounters Spike and the group at times.
From there, we come to the episode-centric characters. As I went over earlier, the structure of this series is all about the team hunting down a new bounty each episode. This means that there are new characters and targets to meet in almost every single episode that will only be featured there.
Most of the time, this could mean that their story is just going to be completed in that entire episode, be it due to their death, capture, or simply fulfilling their purpose in the plot. Regardless of the purpose behind the characters, they make their mark in their single episode with many of them becoming fan favorites and memorable characters.
Asimov and Katerina
Cowboy Bebop gets off to a great start with a strong pilot episode that follows Spike and Jet on a mission together. They are hunting down a bounty target known as Asimov who is wanted for being involved in illegal drug exchanges.
Asimov is the central villain and target of the very first episode as the partners try to hunt him down. He is joined by his wife, Katerina, who is also in on his drug dealings. The two of them together are the central enemies that Spike and Jet are after in the unforgettable first episode.
Many of the episode-centric characters have ties to the main members of the Bebop and such is the case with Abdul. He is another bounty target that the group goes after later in the story, being a bizarre guy who steals pets from people. He has ties to Ein as he steals the dog from the facility where he was made into a genius companion.
Andy is a fellow bounty hunter but not a partner for Spike and the gang. Instead, he is a rival that competes with Spike during one of the major episodes of the series regarding the Teddy Bomber (more on him in a bit). He will do whatever it takes to stop Spike from getting to the target and their rivalry is a dangerous one.
Mao Yenrai is another member of the Syndicate who appears in the series. While most of the Syndicate are harsh and violent people who engage in illegal acts, Mao is more levelheaded and strategic. He is also a lot more peaceful than other Syndicate members, attempting to run the organization tactfully.
Maria, or Twinkle Maria as she goes by, is another target that the group goes after. She is the leader of a terrorist group that is known as the Space Warriors. She has a bizarre obsession with the ecosystem and making sure that it is in the right state.
However, she takes her obsession to a whole new level by damaging civilizations and attacking people in response to harming nature.
Ed’s connection in the series, Appledelhi is her father. He is a surveyor who works on Earth in the middle of a harsh environment. Through Ed’s storyline and episode centering on her backstory, we find out a bit more about her father, Appledelhi. We also learn more about his relationship with Ed when he runs into Spike and Jet.
Another bounty target in one of the episodes of the show, we have Rocco Bonnaro. A kind man with a troubled past and connections to gangs, he has a passionate goal of helping his sister. In the midst of this, though, he resorts to illegal acts that get him in trouble.
In one of the best episodes of Cowboy Bebop, we see a bounty that is a bit different from the other ones as he connects and learns from Spike in the process of dealing with his issue.
The Teddy Bomber is a terrorist who bombs locations for his mysterious reasons. He is one of the most iconic episodes of Cowboy Bebop as a target that Spike and the team are hunting down. What is also notable about Teddy Bomber is that Spike is not the only hunter after him.
While Spike is going after the Teddy Bomber, so is Andy, a fellow bounty hunter. Teddy Bomber and his terrorist acts were also controversial at the time of his episode’s release due to its close timing with the terrorist attacks on 9/11, resulting in the episode’s removal from broadcast.
Udai is a character who has strong ties to Jet Black and his past. An assassin who worked for the Syndicate, Udai is a dangerous man and someone who has had run-ins with Jet before. He ends up one of the main villains in an episode of the series.
Whitney Hagas Matsumoto
Finally, we have Whitney who is the connection for Faye Valentine. He is known as a swindler and con artist, having ties to Faye’s past. He has tricked her before and eventually becomes the target of a bounty on his head due to his deeds.
Finally, it is worth noting that some characters are not featured in the main Cowboy Bebop anime and manga series but are in other forms of media. As you may know, Cowboy Bebop was adapted years after its release in 2021 to a Netflix live-action series.
Produced and created in English, it had a different style than the Japanese anime and manga series. While it did keep all of the main characters intact and much of their stories the same, there were some dramatic changes in the series when it came to the new characters that it introduced.
For instance, the entire situation surrounding Faye and her mom in the Netflix show were very different from the counterpart in the anime series about Faye and Whitney. In my opinion, though, this is the one part of the Netflix show where I think it did a great job, better than the anime even, in another otherwise average adaptation of a fantastic series.
There is also the case of honing in on Jet’s family in the Netflix series, giving them more of a character to work with and more depth for his motivations. There are also some original characters when it comes to certain bounty targets and other episodes of the canceled show.
There are also plenty of missing characters from the anime series as well in the Netflix show like the fact that Andy is completely written out of the Teddy Bomber episode. Instead, Jet and Spike have a rivalry of sorts with one another in this episode that replaces the Andy and Spike battles.
Finally, there are the changes to the main characters in the Netflix show that made them different from their anime counterparts. While the sexuality of Faye in the anime is not explicitly revealed other than she has had past relationships with men, we see in the Netflix show that she also has relationships with women.
Such is seen in the mechanic known as Mel who is a new character to the Netflix show, who is hired to repair the Bebop ship at one point in the story, that Faye becomes intimately involved with once the two characters cross paths.
Question: Does Spike like Faye?
Answer: This is an eternal question and one that many fans have been wondering about for a very long time. We are going to try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible for the sake of newcomers who want to watch the series, however, we are going to spoil whether or not Spike has feelings for Faye and the extent of their relationship with one another.
If you do not want to know about either of those situations and the implications they might have when watching or reading the series for the first time, skip this particular question. With that out of the way, the answer to if Spike likes Faye is uncertain and completely impossible to answer.
Given how the series progresses and where it ends, we do not get to see Spike’s possible feelings for Faye come out. And without a sequel, second season, or other continuation, there is no way that we will ever get a true answer in the end.
That said, there are some implied ideas and speculation that we can make about their relationship. In my personal opinion, I don’t think that Spike ever romantically had feelings for Faye. I think that he cares about her deeply as family in a way and a fellow member of the Bebop but not romantically.
He is far too caught up in his past and trying to recapture the love of his life to give Faye the time of day in that way. This is rather unfortunate for poor Faye who, on the other hand, I think does have feelings for Spike in that way. It is possible that she just sees him as family or a partner but there are hints that more is there, for sure.
Question: Is Edward a boy or girl?
Answer: Edward is a girl, without a doubt. Despite a name that is more commonly associated with boys, Ed is a girl. As we mentioned in the main character guide above, she is a teenage hacker girl who joins the crew of the Bebop. That said, there is an awkward situation that makes the question of her gender more complicated.
Unfortunately, the confusion around Ed being a girl also comes from the fact that there was a manga adaptation that began before the release of the Cowboy Bebop anime. This was vastly different from the actual series and not nearly as good in quality.
Given that it arrived before the anime, it only had some semblance to the main series that Sunrise was coming up with. Because of this, one of the major changes in the first manga was the fact that Ed was a boy rather than a girl like in the main anime series.
However, this was that particular manga artist’s interpretation of Ed and not the canon Ed at all. In the main anime series from the creators of the Cowboy Bebop setting, plot, and characters, Ed is undoubtedly a girl. This is seen in the more legitimate manga adaptation that came later and even the Netflix live-action adaptation.
Question: How did Spike and Jet meet?
Answer: This is a question that we will also never have an answer to. At the beginning of the Cowboy Bebop series, Spike and Jet have already met one another and are working together as partners. Though the rest of the crew had yet to join at that point, they were at least bounty hunters on the same team.
We do not get to see how they first met each other and agreed to work together, and it is not hinted at by the characters either. That said, there is a bit of rivalry and differing personalities for the two of them so there is the chance that they had a competitive or possibly forced partnership at the beginning of their relationship.
Some fans have even suggested that it could be similar to the relationship between Spike and Andy during the Teddy Bomber episode where the two are competing against one another as rival bounty hunters. I could see a similar bounty mission like this but less violent and with Spike and Jet eventually having to work together.
Cowboy Bebop Character Guide: Conclusion
The Cowboy Bebop character guide includes the full list of the memorable and interesting cast members that you meet over the course of the 26 episodes of the anime series. With this guide, we hope that you have learned about the series in a spoiler-free way that will help you to get into the show and manga with ease.
For more character guides like this one, we highly recommend checking out our look at the full cast of My Hero Academia. With a more traditional, modern shounen style to it, My Hero Academia has a massive group of main heroes and villains that its story centers around.