I keep coming back to this episode, but damn, it’s just so good.
“Asteroid Blues” influenced me in a lot of ways, and the setting of Tijuana (or TJ, as it’s called here) is one of the biggest: I love the fact that there’s so much character built into the settlement, little bits and pieces that just show you what life is like. There are so many locations like that in sci-fi generally and in Cowboy Bebop specifically, but TJ really stood out to me because of all the little subtle bits of storytelling that the backdrop shows us.
This is partially why I love the film medium, live-action and cel equally. The sets, backgrounds, clothing, makeup, style, whatever, all can tell a story in a way that books cannot, and I love books more than I love a lot of people. I don’t necessarily want all this grandiose bullshit that George Lucas did in the special edition, where you just see more of the town; no, I want the stuff that you can spot after multiple viewings and go, oh, WAIT, the creators added more to the story with that little bit of graffiti that I didn’t notice before! I want to be engrossed, and Cowboy Bebop really outdid a lot of other anime in this way.
Also, the artist of the above image is absolutely fan-fucking-tastic, so you should definitely go look at their other stuff (link below).