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Cowboy Bebop is a Japanese anime television series. Created by the animation studio Sunrise under the directorship of Shinichiro Watanabe, leading his expert team. Its futuristic setting takes us in the year 2071, following the adventures of a nomadic bounty-hunting group aboard a spaceship called the Bebop.
The show was a massive success due to its unique art style, intriguing character design, fantastic voice acting, western music style and jazz, and fascinating philosophical themes. They include existentialism, existential boredom, loneliness, and one’s inability to escape their past.
One very intriguing character the manga features is Julia, the second female protagonist. She is a young woman who has a tragic past and has to remain in hiding. Julia is Spike’s love interest, but sadly they never got together.
Her enchanting beauty and melancholic vibe made her an iconic character in the manga and the series alike. Her screen time was very little compared to the rest of the main characters and mainly occurs in Spike’s flashbacks. However, her absence made her story more intriguing and open to interpretation.
Julia is a young woman in her mid to late twenties. She has pale white skin and blond hair. Julia prefers straight bangs over her forehead, and her mid-length hair rests casually on her shoulders. She has a beautiful heart-shaped face with thin lips and ocean blue eyes. Her frame is a perfect hourglass.
She prefers dark-hued attire, usually seen in a scarlet-colored turtle neck sweater, with sleeves rolled up and tucked in slim-fit black dress pants. On top of it all, she wears an iconic black trench coat and shades. On rainy days she carried a bright red umbrella. Her clothing comprised an off-white turtle neck sweater and a loose red skirt when she was not in the field.
Personality And Character
Julia is a quiet-natured and mysterious young woman at first glance. She seemed to be very caring, emotional, and delicate when she initially appeared. However, later on, we see that she is not exactly the damsel in distress that we might have assumed at first.
Julia is the quintessential Lost Lenore in the manga. The noir aspect of the manga stands out because of her solemn yet soothing appearance. Her lost demeanor and sad eyes portrayed a forlorn figure which added to her enchanting beauty.
Throughout the series, Julia wore dark-toned outfits depicting her somber persona. However, her delightful blond hair and elegant way of carrying herself left people awestricken where ever she went. Her mannerism indicated that she was well-groomed and mature. She preferred solitude over socializing, but this was more of a necessity than a choice in her clandestine lifestyle.
She was very private about her inner world of feelings and kept her emotions to herself. In fact, in all her years of hiding, she didn’t develop any meaningful bonds, implying she felt no need to connect with anyone emotionally. She just couldn’t bring herself to talk her heart out to someone.
Julia was not unfamiliar with the sinful tendencies of men nor the sheer brutality they could resort to. Her past was full of grievances. She would try to find solace in sad melodies, alcohol, and indulging in her inner world of thoughts as she drifted through the sparsely populated solar system. Nonetheless, she loved like a true woman and was willing to remain by her beloved Spike’s side even when he stepped into a certain doom by going after Vicious. This showed that she was loyal to the core when it came to her loved ones.
Abilities And Skills
A Vigilant Foreteller
Julia was a highly trained individual. Aware of her surroundings, she could anticipate when the wind would stop favoring her way before things got out of hand and escaped without leaving a trace. It is evident from the fact that she was long gone from Callisto before Vicious discovered Julia was ever there. When she fled from the Syndicate, she managed to evade them for years.
An Adaptable Disguise
Julia didn’t mind drastic changes in her environment as she adapted quite efficiently to her new surroundings. She could blend in with the locals quite effortlessly, keeping herself concealed from the Syndicate or anyone who tried to narrow down on her whereabouts. Although he got many leads, Spike could not trace her.
An Expert Slayer
Julia was highly professional and deadly. During the firefight scene in the episode ‘the real folk blue part 2’, she remained vigilant. Julia was precise with her handgun, providing excellent cover to Spike as they engaged their assailants sent by the Van. Shin referred to her as Julia Sama, indicating that she was amongst the top ranks of the Syndicate. She could take care of herself and gain influence in a difficult place such as a criminal organization.
The Tale Of Julia, An Angel From The Underworld
Julia was a high-ranking member of the Red Dragon syndicate. She worked with Spike and Vicious on multiple occasions in some of the most highly sophisticated operations. She had a relationship with Vicious in the 2060s; however, she wasn’t emotionally invested in it.
One evening in 2068, Spike was severely injured, suffering bullet wounds and fall damage, during a mission. He staggered for a while and then collapsed in front of Julia’s apartment building. She hurriedly nursed him back to her residence and treated his wounds. That night, the two of them sparked a secret affair. They were head over heels for each other, and Spike soon decided to abandon the organization and elope with her, starting a new life.
He planned out everything. He would fake his death in his upcoming assignment and rendezvous with Julia in a graveyard, from where they would run away from their life of crime together. Julia was uncertain about taking such a drastic step at first. She asked him where they would go and what they would do, to which Spike calmly said, “Live. Be free. It’ll be like watching a dream”. Spike then hands her the address, written on paper, to where he wanted them to go.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as Vicious discovered their plans. Vicious confronted Julia in her apartment, pointing a pistol at her head, mocking her for being naive as she thought she could get away from him. Julia was more concerned about Spike’s safety and asked Vicious if he would kill him.
Vicious had other plans for Spike. He also saw this as an opportunity to eliminate his only competition, succeeding the Red Dragon leadership. Vicious gave Julia an ultimatum telling her to ambush Spike at the cemetery. He told her, “Either you kill him or else both of you die. Those are your only options”.
Seeing no way out, Julia shredded the address and went into hiding. She knew that she and Spike could never be together as long as Vicious was after them but couldn’t let Spike die either. After taking care of his end, Spike returned to the graveyard with a rose in his hand, but Julia was nowhere to be found. He waited for a while before he finally left, dropping the rose in a puddle on the street.
In 2069, Julia showed up on Callisto, where she frequently visited the Rester House. The place was notorious for not seeing a woman for years, and Julia’s appearance caught the attention of many men there. The bartender of the Rester House remarked her as a ‘real woman.’
She recognized the tone played by the musician, Gren, and started talking to him. It was revealed that Gren and Julia both had bad blood with Vicious. They became friends and shared their past. Julia talked a lot about Spike as she was comfortable around Gren.
Gren told her that he was a comrade of Vicious in the Titan war and admired him greatly as a soldier. Vicious saved his life and gifted him a music box which played a tune called ‘Julia,’ the same tune he played in the bar. However, after the war, he was convicted of being a spy and put behind bars. Gren still didn’t believe that Vicious had betrayed him.
Julia told him to check inside the music box upon hearing this, which revealed a hidden solar transmitter. This enabled Vicious to track him, confirming to Gren that Vicious did betray him. Afterward, Julia left Calistro in a month.
Two years later, Julia was seen living in the city of Tharsis. She was warned, via telephone message, by one of the elite members of the Red Dragon, Shin, that the Syndicate was after her. Vicious had staged a coup at the Red Dragon’s headquarters, but it had backfired, and he was due to be executed. The Van had ordered to kill everyone who was or had been affiliated with Vicious, including her and Spike. Immediately after that, she left her place in her two-seater.
She encountered hitmen from the Red Dragon, in her hot pursuit, on the road. She tried to lose them, but they gained in on her. Coincidently Fay Valentine, who had abandoned the Bebop crew again, was on the spot and saw the chase. Instinctively she decided to help Julia, who she didn’t recognize just then, and shot the pursuing car’s tire, crashing the assassins.
Julia pulled up right next to Fay and hopped in before Julia promptly drove off. Julia tried to shake off the remaining assassins trying to engage them with a grenade launcher. However, Fay managed to reshoot their tire in one clean shot, knocking their vehicle off balance and sending them flying across the highway.
Once out of danger, they stopped for a smoke and chatted. Julia thanked Fay for saving her life, and Fay offered to team up. When Fay told her that she was a bounty hunter but was taking some time off, Julia figured she was an associate of Spike and asked her to relay a message for her. She told her, “if you see Spike again, tell him I’ll be waiting for him there, that’s all, he will know what it means.”
The Reunion And Death
Spike finally meets her at the cemetery. Julia holds a gun at him like she was supposed to do last time. She revealed to Spike vicious’ threats and why she couldn’t make it the last time. Julia then embraced Spike and asked him to run away with her someplace far away, just like Spike offered her years ago when she wasn’t ready. But this time, things were different for Spike, and he couldn’t walk away.
They went to Annie’s convenience store to load up but found out she had been fatally wounded by a gunshot. Before she passed away, Annie told them that Vicious had people inside. They helped him murder all the elders and take over the leadership of the Red Dragon.
Julia saw that Spike was taking more weapons than necessary, which meant he wasn’t planning to run away with her, so she told him she would stay with him until the end. The Red Dragon Hitmen attacked them that very instant.
They engaged their assailants while dashing towards the roof of the adjacent building for a chance to escape. Julia took out one of the assassins with her handgun, and Spike managed to neutralize the rest. But one last hostile came up behind them, who Spike fired at him with his shotgun just before he shot Julia in the back.
Julia slumped to the ground as a flock of doves flew right passed her falling body. Spike dropped his gun and rushed to her, taking her in his arms. She looked into his eyes as life dwindled from her. Muffled under her dying breath, she said, “it’s all a dream,” and passed away.
Characters Closely Related To Julia
An introverted person is selectively social, but those in their circle mean a lot to them. Julia was also a reserved personality, and we can gain many insights into her character by looking at her relationships.
Julia first met Spike while playing a billiards game, where he presumably fell for her right away. Spike was spellbound by Julia and carried a torch for her in his heart even years after she left him.
Julia didn’t talk much about her feelings for Spike throughout the series. However, her sacrifices for him indicated she was indeed deeply in love with him. When Julia looked at him, her sad eyes would become at ease. She would feel it was ok to be lost in a dream-like broken reality, which she perceived as her world, as long as they were together.
The manga depicts she could only understand fragments of her feelings and was somewhat delusional about him. Both Spike and Julia dearly held on to their illusions of each other until death did them apart for better or worse.
Julia first met Gren in the Rester House, a bar and a music venue at Blue Crow, when she went to Calisto in 2069. She frequented the bar for about a month.
Julia had a past with Vicious, which she and Gren had in common, so they could connect quickly. However, her relationship with him was based more on relatability than empathy. After a long time, she started putting her scattered thoughts into words, only in front of Gren.
Gren was not interested in women, so he saw Julia for who she was. Perhaps he understood her better than anyone. Gren saw her as someone who wished to belong but fell victim to the treacherous schemes of men around her who had no regard for her.
He could see that she had so much to give, yet fate had taken everything from her. Gren’s heart sank when she resonated with the sad melody of the tune he played and saw the immense sorrow and beauty in her weak smiles.
Vicious is a ruthless, cunning, and power-hungry agent of the Syndicate. He was exceptionally skilled, and his agility and lethal tactics struck fear in the hearts of his opponents. He was a sadistic person who relished the slaughter of his victims and seemed to be wholly detached from his vile acts.
The manga hints that Vicious and Julia had a physical relationship, but there was nothing more to it. Vicious saw her as nothing more than a source of pleasure and brandishing his narcissistic persona of virility. It is unclear how Julia got close to Vicious or if they were together all together. However, Julia despised him and wanted to get away from him.
When Vicious found out about her affair with Spike, he made it a matter of his pride. He gave her an ultimatum: she would have to kill him, or he would kill them both, leaving Julia no choice but to go into hiding.
My Reasons For Liking Julia
In the dark, lawless, and blue world of Cowboy Bebop, I saw Julia as a lost nightingale which gives a beautiful depth to the gloom of the night. She was trapped in a place where dreams are lost in reality, and I felt we can all relate to that feeling at some point in life.
I was fascinated by her grace and felt emotionally connected to her as if I was part of the dream she couldn’t stop dreaming. I think she had a way of making one question their reality. Spike was so influenced by her that he would often say that he was just in a bad dream that he would never wake up from. The sorrow her eyes carried was ethereal. Something about how she resonated with melancholic melodies left me in awe of her sway.
I admired her loyalty to Spike. She not only sacrificed her freedom for him by abandoning the Syndicate but also fought his war when she didn’t have to. Taking a bullet for him, resulting in her sad demise, was an intriguing picture of fidelity.
I think my sentiments for her were best described by Fay Valentine. She met her by accident but connected with her almost instantly. When Jet asked her what kind of woman Julia was, Fay told her by saying, “Ordinary. A kind of beautiful, dangerous ordinary that you just can’t leave alone. Like an angel from the underworld or maybe a devil from Paradise.”
Question: Was Julia in love with Vicious?
Answer: No. Julia despised Vicious, as he threatened to kill her and Spike, whom she loved and wanted a life with. Vicious had made Julia’s affair with Spike a matter of his ego, and his presence would never let her get together with Spike.
Question: Did Julia survive the shots at her back?
Answer: Unfortunately, no. During their dramatic escape from the assassins of the Red Dragon, Julia got shot on her back by the last surviving hitman. Spike managed to take him out, but Julia was fatally injured. She succumbed to her wound just moments later in Spike’s arms. Her last words were, ‘it’s all a dream.’
Question: Did Julia abandon Spike?
Answer: When Vicious discovered Julia’s affair with Spike and his plans to run away with her, he gave her an ultimatum. If she didn’t kill Spike, then Vicious would kill them both. To save her beloved’s life and hers, she went into hiding and remained off the grid for the next few years.
Julia Cowboy Bebop Guide: Summing Up
Julia is a fascinating character portrayed remarkably as decent, courageous, mature, and with just the right vulnerability. She left admirers everywhere she went and knew how to live independently. She was an introverted person and was very private about her feelings. Her intriguing personality exceeded her captivating beauty. Unlike most female protagonists, portrayed as a femme fatale, she had a simplistic nature. Still, it left the fans of Cowboy Bebop mesmerized.
Julia was a dreamer by nature, but this didn’t make her naive or an easy target. She was amongst the top ranks of the Syndicate and was vigilant and skillful. She had the guts to abandon the organization and remain off their radar for about a decade.
Her life was tragic, and she lost her lover to fate and dire circumstances. Although she could navigate her way in a life of crime and violence, she didn’t aspire to be a part of it utterly. She saw the world as fragments of a broken reality, much like a dream, and only her love for Spike gave her hope and desired to live. One could say she was an ordinary woman who was at the wrong place and got involved with the wrong people.