Cowboy Bebop is often said to be Shinichirō Watanabe and Keiko Nobumoto’s masterpiece. Since it first appeared on screens in 1998, the sci-fi neo-noir series has gained a massive following and has acted as a gateway anime for many people. Also, Yoko Kanno’s soundtrack regularly tops “greatest ever” lists due to its unforgettable blend of Jazz-fusion.
Set in the future of 2071, it follows Spike Spiegel and Jet Black. These two bounty hunters (called Cowboys in-universe) travel the galaxy in a ship named the Bebop. Along the way, they’ll try to make ends meet while making friends and confronting their dark pasts in this artistic epic.
Luckily, it is now easier than ever to watch or rewatch this classic, as several streaming platforms let you legally stream it for free.
So, if you’re planning to watch for the first time or have a nostalgic anime binge, get everybody and the stuff together and let’s jam as we cover all you need to know.
Cowboy Bebop is available for free on the Funimation website, and you don’t even need to make an account. This is ad-supported, so expect 3-4 breaks per episode, but this doesn’t ruin the experience, even if it is more ads than competing platforms.
Funimation offers the series totally uncut and in 1080p. The first four episodes come with the choice of Japanese with English subtitles or the English dub. But beware, if you want the English dub from episode 5 onwards, you will need a premium Funimation subscription. However, this subscription gets rid of the ads, so it is a good investment if you want the best experience.
Tubi has become a bit of a goldmine for fans of obscure media. This totally free ad-supported streaming platform has a surprising number of cult classics in its lineup. However, the big downside of Tubi is that stuff can often vanish without warning, so if you see something you like, it’s best to watch sooner rather than later.
Tubi only offers the series in 720p. However, due to the show’s age and generally grimy aesthetic, you won’t notice the difference. Only the Japanese version is available, but Tubi offers English closed captions, which can be displayed in several sizes, making it much more accessible than Funimation’s offering.
Adult Swim’s Toonami block was how many people were first introduced to Cowboy Bebop. Because of this, the show is available to stream on their website, letting you re-live those early-Adult Swim memories.
Adult Swim only offers the English dubbed version of the show. However, this is a good thing as it is the only place to watch this dub totally for free. Like the other free options, this is ad-supported, so be prepared to sit through a few ad breaks if you plan to binge the entire series.
While not a free option, Hulu has both the dubbed and subbed versions of Cowboy Bebop available on its service. However, many bundles and phone plans give you access to a free Hulu subscription, so it is worth checking to see if you have one. As if you do, this is a quick and painless way to dive into the series.