Here I go again, belaboring a point. Beating the dead horse. Dammit horse, GET UP! I didn’t want to post about this again because I’m probably done with this particular subject, but I learned and saw something new and just want to share.
I will go so far as to say that most fans of Cowboy Bebop are fascinated with how it ended. Check out practically any given AMV on youtube and you’ll see bits from that final clash between Spike and Vicious and in some cases, Spike descending the stairs. “Bang!” Yep, we all got it. It’s memorable to put it lightly. Stunning. Asses were kicked by that ending, BIG time. Mine was no exception.
“…But pay close attention to how it ends” the promo said. Bull told Jet that Spike’s star is about to fall… BUT! IF…. It was there in the dialog, “…Do not fear death. Death is always at your side. If you show fear it will spring on you faster than light. If you do not show fear it will only gently look over you…” We know this, I’ve brought it up before.
When Spike and Vicious rose for their final clash, Vicious was dragging his blade on the floor and Spike shot him. We saw Vicious with blood coming off his back from the bullet, and blood that was to the left of his knee and in front of Spike. What isn’t clear (and wasn’t shown) is where that blood to the left of Vicious’ knee came from. I had the position that Vicious cut his own leg with the katana when Spike shot him.
That is, until someone pointed out that there was no blood shown on Vicious’ leg. His pants didn’t even seem to be ripped in the shots of it post-clash. Looking at that, it doesn’t look like Vicious slashed his own leg.
Spike showed no signs of catastrophic injury after that clash. We’ve seen him with a severe abdominal wound in Ballad of Fallen Angels. We’ve seen people getting slashed by katanas (both in Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo – they threw up blood and bled like stuck pigs. Blood pooled under bodies that were injured in that fashion). Spike looked and acted ok once Vicious and that blood hit the floor. Once that spray of blood hit the floor it stopped.
Now we see Spike coming down the stairs in that oddly-colored scene. You can see the blood on his leg from where that got slashed, the knife is still sticking out of his shoulder, there is blood on his arm from where he was shot and there is a bit of it on his sleeve. The front of his suit is completely free of blood except for what looks like a bit on the lapel above his arm.
Also… Notice that Spike has two arms, only one of which is across his middle, that being his wounded arm, the one with the knife still sticking out of his shoulder. The uninjured arm is hanging at his side. Someone who suffered a wound large enough to spray that much blood would have it all over their clothes (Spike didn’t). And why was he only holding one arm across his middle? The arm wasn’t paralysed because he raised his finger to say “bang.”
I’m getting to my point, I promise.
There was what looked like quite a bit of blood in the air, but no evidence at all to point to either one of them as the source, Spike or Vicious. It came from ONE of them, but which one? From what they showed us, it’s impossible to say.
I know there is a segment of the fandom who hold to the belief that it was Spike’s blood, that he got slashed and died of his injuries. I thought he got slashed the first time I saw it, but didn’t see enough blood on him to justify it, then looking at that shot from behind Vicious after Spike fired, it looked like it could very well have come from Vicious’ leg.
From the looks of things, I can’t see that it came from either one. But it had to, otherwise, why would it be there?
My POINT (yes, I do have one, yaaay!) is that the ending IS deliberately ambiguous. If you see Spike as a tragic figure a la Shakespear, you probably saw him die. If you DON’T (and keep in mind Bull’s big fat ‘BUT!’) you may think he lived. Objectively, I have to say the answer to the question of whether he lived or died is “neither” or “both.” Most correctly, one would say “I have no bloody idea.”
Spike is Shane. Someone pointed this out on the imdb.com message board for Cowboy Bebop, and I think he is absolutely correct. If you haven’t seen Shane, then you need to go out and watch it. Now. 😀 It IS a good movie, and the ending almost had to have been an inspiration for Cowboy Bebop’s.
If you google the words ‘watanabe cowboy bebop shane’ you’ll see a number of hits, especially since Shinichiro Watanabe is something of a fan of Westerns. I can’t find an interview where he specifically lists Shane as an influence, but I wouldn’t doubt it.
Something interesting I found with those search terms: http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r6398553-Cowboy-bebop-on-the-bigscreen-~start=20. Someone posted back in April 2003 the text from another blog about a LA Times article that had a favorable review of the animated feature:
»www.animenation.net/news/index.php?id=4726 ”The Los Angeles Times has published a favorable discussion of the Cowboy Bebop movie, and an interview with its director, Shinichiro Watanabe, in anticipation of the movie’s limited American theatrical release this Friday. In a slight revision of his assertion that Cowboy Bebop was finished, made several years ago, in this interview Watanabe says, “Spike’s adventures ‘will probably continue at some time in the future, although I’m not sure in what form’.”
I was able to buy the LA Times article from their archives, and that posting is a verbatim quote of the paragraph. Not that he WOULD make more, but he’s not saying it’s impossible. I don’t think he’s ever said it’s impossible, now that I think of it. I have no expectations that he WOULD make more, it’s just not impossible.
I still say Spike lived, but like I said in a previous posting, I’m leaning back on a chair that’s ABOUT to tip…