Julia & Spike's 'Cowboy Bebop' Romance Goes A Little Bit Differently In The Anime

Premium
- Cowboy Bebop -
Julia & Spike's 'Cowboy Bebop' Romance Goes A Little Bit Differently In The Anime

Julia and Spike's romance in Netflix's version of Cowboy Bebop is nothing short of a nightmare, which might surprise fans of the original anime. As groundbreaking and enduring as the anime is, it's also very much a product of its time. In short, the female characters are underwritten (except for the gloriously eccentric Ed) and drawn like Barbie dolls on steroids. For Julia, this means she's little more than a femme fatale whose mysterious presence adds a bit of color to the grit and grime of Spike's dark world.

In the anime, she's a member of the Syndicate alongside Spike and Vicious, who falls in love with Spike after she nurses him back to health. The two begin a secret affair, and eventually decide to flee the Syndicate together. Unfortunately, Vicious discovers their plan and attempts to force Julia into killing Spike. Instead, she disappears, and doesn't come back into his life until much later.

When they do reconnect, the star-crossed lovers' happiness is short-lived. Spike realizes he has to stop Vicious, and Julia vows to stand by his side. This leads to her being shot and dying in his arms. Her last words? "It's all a dream."

It's a moving scene, but it also reduces Julia to just one more female character who dies in order to motivate the male hero. And no that trope wasn't even fresh in the '90s — although it is in line with the story's noir vibes, I suppose. Still, Julia was in need of a major upgrade, and she gets one in the Netflix series.

Let's Talk Pop Culture
Sign up for a 14-day free trial of our new, female-founded site and get full access to our articles, community, and conversations.

Discover More