Long Before Cowboy Bebop, Shinichirō Watanabe Had Already Created Spike

In an interview with Watanabe and “Cowboy Bebop” series composer Keiko Nobumoto during the 2018 Japan Expo, the creators explained the origins of the anime in great detail. When asked about Spike Spiegel, Watanabe explained that he had Spike’s character in mind long before the project, and his task was to fit him into a setting that felt real and humanized at all times. Watanabe said:

“I had the character of Spike in mind long before this project, so once I had to come up with the Bebop’s crew, I thought it was finally time to bring that concept to life. That’s when I sat down with Keiko in order to develop him as a person…We wanted the cast to feel real and not just a character with a predefined, set-in-stone personality…We wanted them to have human reactions, those you and I could have to different events.”

While Watanabe originally infused Spike’s character with core traits, which include a constant display of sprezzatura or studied carelessness, these tenets were allowed to evolve with the course of the series. The Spike we are introduced to in episode 1 is completely detached and laidback: His only goal is to succeed in bounty hunting missions to make ends meet. However, with the inclusion of Faye Valentine, Ein, and Edward in the crew, his perception of life undergoes a shift. By episode 20, in which Spike is forced to face his past, his cynicism is slightly dulled, as he experiences something he hasn’t in a long, long time: hope.

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