The Top 15 Anime Like Cowboy Bebop A True Fan Must Watch

Cowboy Bebop is a great classic from Sunrise and one of the most prominent works by Shinichiro Watanabe, a legendary anime director.

If after its sad ending, you want to recover or watch something similar, we got your back.

Enjoy our list of the best anime like Cowboy Bebop to discover other great works from the same director or mostly related to Sci-Fi and crime.

15. Great Pretender

Great Pretender

The Great Pretender is similar to Cowboy Bebop in terms of adventure, narrative structure and how characters live with their past.

Here you won’t find Sci-Fi or any sort of melancholic romance but you will notice a sympathy for Western animation, like in Cowboy Bebop.

The protagonist Makoto Edamura is a criminal who, along with his partner Kudo, attempts to swindle a Frenchman in Asakusa.

But their scheme takes an unexpected turn when they realize that the Frenchman is none other than Laurent Thierry, a dangerous mobster who is not inclined to let them off easily.

As you watch it, you’ll embark on a journey with the main characters, with the locations constantly changing between America, Asia, and Europe.

Then, if you enjoy adventure anime or liked how Cowboy Bebop handled space travel, this can be a nice alternative.

Add a little bit of crime and complex animations and you get a modern anime that showcases Wit Studio’s expertise.

What is actually more important is the episodic structure that follows an overarching plot, much like Bebop.

14. Wolf’s Rain

Wolf’s Rain is ideal if you love Cowboy Bebop’s retro style and the post-apocalyptic setting, even though it’s different.

Instead of having a self-contained structure, Wolf’s Rain is your usual anime with a linear plot.

The story follows 4 wolves (Kiba, Tsume, Hige, and Toboe) as they search for a mystical place that will bring true peace.

What’s similar to Cowboy Bebop is that every member has their own personal struggles and different personalities. This adventure feels like a discovery of themselves and self-growth.

If you think about it, this is exactly what Cowboy Bebop is about but with a different narrative structure.

The cherry on the top comes from the wolves acknowledging their fleeting nature and the harsh reality of a dying world while looking for Paradise.

13. Space Dandy

Space Dandy

By the same genius of Shinichiro Watanabe, Space Dandy is another space anime that deserves a chance thanks to its outlandish and funny tones.

You can consider this anime as a funnier alternative if you want to recover after the emotional hit of Cowboy Bebop’s ending.

First created as an anime, it consists of 26 episodes and is animated by Bones studio.

The plot isn’t linear, similar to what happened in Cowboy Bebop and even more. We are in a future where humanity has reached the edge of the universe. Dandy, the protagonist, is an alien hunter and self-proclaimed “first dandy of space.”

The anime consists of a series of self-contained episodes, with an apparent narrative discontinuity between them. It won’t be uncommon to see our protagonists perish, only to see them intact in the next episode.

12. Cyberpunk: Edgerunners

Cyberpunk Edgerunners

Much like Cowboy Bebop, this show features a distinct jazz soundtrack and a good amount of comedy in a Sci-Fi setting.

To be more precise, both of them are cyberpunk to different degrees and Cowboy Bebop definitely features more slice-of-life moments thanks to its episodic structure.

As a prequel to the game Cyberpunk 2077, this anime follows the story of David Martinez.

In Night City, a futuristic metropolis, David attends Arasaka Academy to fulfill his mother’s dream of reaching the top of the world’s leading security corporation.

But things changed when a street gang incident left him devastated.

He then implanted Sandevistan cyberware for superhuman speed and strength, to get revenge on his enemies. Witness his journey as he fights to survive the dangerous, corrupt system while never backing down from any fight.

Cyberpunk: Endgerunners is undoubtedly one of the most popular and successful anime of recent times.

11. Megalo Box

Megalo Box

Megalo Box is an adrenaline injection in a futuristic world with a retro and steampunk vibe. If you loved Cowboy’s Bebop action, this anime can be even better thanks to its focus on boxing.

All of it is served with a wonderful hip-hop, rap and black music soundtrack that can be considered among the best of the last few years.

The series is an original story, although it is celebratory of an unreleased story created to celebrate 50 years of the Rocky Joe manga.

The anime tells the story of Junk Dog, nicknamed JD, a boy who participates in Megalo Box matches, a futuristic variant of classic boxing to earn a living.

It takes place in a futuristic city where people live, according to income, in wealth or slums.

10. Michiko & Hatchin

Michiko and Hatchin

Mitchiko & Hatchin has that retro-futuristic vibe that Cowboy Bebop fans long for. This is another anime you can watch after it thanks to its focus on character development and the particular jazzy vibe.

Once again, we are in front of an episodic structure, where every episode builds up an overarching plot and all episodes are set in the same timeline.

Yes, the main character is also somehow linked to a criminal turbulent past, pretty much like Spike.

Shinichiro Watanabe worked on this anime as a musical composer and you can definitely tell there are striking similarities in terms of language and style.

The only real difference is in terms of inspiration. If Cowboy Bebop can be considered Western (or American), Mitchiko & Hatchin is clearly inspired by Latin America and Brazil in particular.

9. Darker than Black

If you are a sucker for charming main characters with a troubled past and bounty hunters, Darker than Black is a nice show after Cowboy Bebop.

They also share an episodic structure with the small difference that Darker than Black usually covers stories in 2 episodes.

The vibes are overall similar as there are funny moments here and there with dark themes as the main engine of the show.

This anime is ideal if you enjoy characters like Spike and Sci-Fi, all topped up with Yoko Kanno’s incredible soundtracks and a part of the same staff that worked on Cowboy Bebop back then.

Darker than Black is an original anime with no source material, created by Studio Bones.

After the appearance of Hell’s Gate, an area where the laws of physics don’t apply, powerful individuals called Contractors started appearing around the world.

The protagonist is Hei, a famous contractor also called Black Reaper, known and feared for his cold and dangerous attitude.

8. Ergo Proxy

Ergo Proxy

Ergo Proxy is a great choice if you love mature stories but lean more towards the dark side of the future.

The setting is a desolate wasteland with advanced technology and a mysterious virus called Cogito, that affects machines.

This anime isn’t self-contained like Cowboy Bebop but starts adding up elements until you get the final realization in the last episode.

In terms of narration, the 2 anime have a second half where the casts confront their personal struggles and their past to achieve personal growth or reach the truth.

The story is set in a post-apocalyptic future where survivors live under a dome city called Romdo, to get shelter from the lethal and toxic climate.

To help with mankind’s recovery, AutoReivs, humanoid-like robots, have been created to assist people in their day-to-day lives.

But these automatons have begun contracting an enigmatic disease called the Cogito Virus which grants them self-awareness.

7. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

GITS: Stand Alone Complex follows an episodic structure that fits into an overarching crime plot with a futuristic setting.

Instead of having bounty hunters, you will see the full power of a specialized police force in tackling crime and choreographed gunfights.

Set in the year 2030, the series follows Section 9, a special police force dealing with cases related to robotics, medicine, and computer technologies.

The central character remains the iconic Makoto Kusanagi, as in the original material. Why original?

Because it offers an alternative take on the source manga and the 2 movies directed by Mamoru Oshii, while retaining the same iconic characters.

6. Outlaw Star

Outlaw Star

If you liked the space bounty-hunting part of Cowboy Bebop, Outlaw Star is a great recommendation.

After crying with Cowboy Bebop, you can simply relax with the comedy of Outlaw Star and its lovely vintage style.

As with every stereotypical space bounty anime, you will see crimes, space travel and trips to different planets.

The story is set in a future called the Towards Stars Era in which many star systems have been opened to space traffic. Gene Starwind and James Hawking run a small, unassuming handyman agency to make a living.

One day they are hired to protect Captain Hilda, who is piloting a spaceship, the XGP-15A II, also nicknamed Outlaw Star, in search of a legendary location that holds immense treasure.

But as usual, evil-doers, lurk in every corner ready to take advantage at any time, and this situation is no exception.

5. Black Lagoon

Black Lagoon

If you love detective and crime stories, Black Lagoon is an easy pick after Cowboy Bebop.

Both feature a super unique main cast with some similarities. For example, Revy and Faye represent the femme fatale, Jet Black and Dutch had previous combat experience and Ed is a computer specialist like Benny.

Black Lagoon can be defined as gritty, dark and raw, with that touch of personal conflicts that also Cowboy Bebop can boast.

It follows the story of Rokurou Okajima, a regular businessman who is taken hostage during a business trip to the crime-ridden island of Roanapur.

When his employer refuses to pay his ransom, he has no choice but to join the mafia-pirate gang called Black Lagoon, transforming from an ordinary man to a ruthless criminal.

The series is known for its excellent combination of action, great characters, and mature portrayal of the criminal world. For all these reasons, it’s one of the best action anime you could ever watch in your life.

4. Psycho-Pass

Psycho Pass

Psycho-Pass doesn’t feature bounty hunters but a duo of investigators who will soon learn the inefficacy of the society they live in.

This anime is set in a futuristic society where it is possible to monitor and control an individual’s mental state and personality.

With those data, it can be assessed the probability of a person committing a crime or not, the so-called Crime Coefficient, and arrest the individual before the crime is even committed.

You will see a lot of fights, guns and a cool futuristic setting that is just perfect with its noir vibe.

Speaking of characters, the archnemes of both anime challenge the point of view of the protagonist, forcing you to rethink the plot as well.

Vicious and Makishima play a similar role in representing “evil” and the flaws of society.

If you are looking for a show focused on what could happen in a not-so-unlikely future, Psycho-Pass is the choice.

3. Baccano!


One of Cowboy Bebop’s main themes is music and Baccano! happens to share a similar interest in Jazz and Blues.

Unlike some of the next entries, the main similarity here is that both take inspiration from classical gangster movies and noir.

This double Western inspiration is what makes the 2 stand out and among the best noir anime ever.

The plot is set in the US during the 1930s. It involves a war that breaks out between various mafia gangs in America during the Prohibition Era.

And this aspect is well rendered, with customs and traditions that look like a real picture.

There will also be a touch of the supernatural, as the war between these gangs is caused by the research of an elixir of immortality.

2. Trigun


Trigun is another gem in the space western genre and it’s even more prominent than Cowboy Bebop considering how Vash is dressed up.

If you loved Cowboy Bebop’s gunfights, you are going to get crazy about this anime since the main character is a skilled gunslinger.

In line with Bebop’s funny moments, this anime features a lot of comedy throughout the series and we can say the 2 main characters feel similar too.

Their dark past won’t stop them from being this cool and edgy at times.

The story revolves around Vash the Stampede, an infamous outlaw who leaves a trail of destruction in every town and village he visits.

To put an end to the chaos and save their failing insurance companies, two agents are sent to apprehend him. However, upon encountering Vash, they discover that he is actually a kind and generous individual.

1. Samurai Champloo

Samurai Champloo

Both Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo combine action and comedy to create memorable moments, while heavily relying on music and having an episodic structure. They even have the same director in Shinichiro Watanabe!

Cowboy Bebop is a must for jazz fans thanks to its iconic opening and ending plus the music in every single episode.

On the contrary, Samurai Champloo is focused on hip-hop and traditional Japanese music, which makes sense given its setting.

If you want to watch a “historical” version of Cowboy Bebop, this anime is the right choice for you. Instead of gunfights and space travel, you will have the pleasure of watching sword fights during the Edo Period in Japan.

Throughout its captivating 26 episodes, viewers are taken on a thrilling journey, joining the adventures of Mugen, Jin, and Fuu.

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Anime lover and a big fan of the 90s. He has previous experience working with foreign websites and now he is willing to move things even further. When he is not writing for, Zeruan spends most of his time reading, coding and developing marketing strategies.

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