Now, I’m fairly certain that I’ve already said something like this, but I think it’s good to revisit certain ideas from time to time: favorite does not always equal best. I mean, one of my favorite movies of all time is Surf Ninjas, and it is objectively an absolutely terrible movie. This is not to say that this episode is bad – it most definitely is not – but I’ll get into what I think is the best episode later on in the month. The 23rd, I think?
Anyway, there’s so much to love about “Stray Dog Strut” that it’s hard to pick just a few things to focus on – otherwise, you’ll just sound slightly unhinged, but I’m going to give it my best shot. It is just a fun episode: plenty of action, legitimately funny dialogue, a plot that is less of a plot and is merely serving as a character introduction, etc. We may not know a lot of what makes Ein special, but it doesn’t really matter. He still finds a home aboard the Bebop, just adding onto the mystery of who makes up the weird chosen family. And just look at this freakin’ cutie:
Second, I am a huge Bruce Lee fan, so the Spike/Bruce vs Hakim/Kareem Abdul Jabbar fight at the climax of the episode was the perfect fan-girling moment. The image below isn’t from Cowboy Bebop if you couldn’t tell, but how the animators captured this energy is just absolutely incredible.
For those of you who don’t know, Spike practices Jeet Kune Do, the fighting style of Bruce Lee, and in Game of Death, Lee’s final film, he “fought” Jabbar as the Mantis. Even though Jabbar isn’t a martial artist (he’s a basketball player), this was still such an iconic fight that of course Cowboy Bebop had to reference it.
Now, the ep does indeed run a little slow, and like I said above, we don’t really know much about Ein (or the lab that created him) by the end. It also doesn’t have as much of a punch as some of the others do, but honestly, there are so many days when I want a lighthearted something to watch, you know?
And that’s what “Stray Dog Strut” is.