Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (also known as Cowboy Bebop the Movie: Knockin' on Heaven's Door (劇場版 カウボーイビバップ 天国の扉 Gekijōban Kaubōi Bibappu: Tengoku no Tobira?, titled Cowboy Bebop: Heaven's Door in English)) is a 2001 animated film directed by Shinichirō Watanabe. The screenplay was written by Keiko Nobumoto, based on the Cowboy Bebop anime series created by Sunrise. The plot centers on bounty hunter Spike Spiegel and his crewmates aboard the vessel Bebop in their efforts to find a criminal who is planning to release an unknown pathogen on Mars. The title of the movie is taken from the Bob Dylan song of the same name. The character Vincent is based around the musician.
The year is 2071, a few days before Halloween. An unknown pathogen is being released in the capital city of Mars, and the government has issued a 300 million woolong reward, the largest bounty in history, for the capture of whoever is behind it. The bounty hunter crew of the spaceship Bebop; Spike, Faye, Jet, Ed and Ein, take the case with hopes of cashing in the great bounty. But the mystery surrounding the man responsible, Vincent Volaju, goes deeper than they ever imagined, and they are not the only ones hunting him. The original creators of the pathogen have dispatched an agent named Elektra to deal with Vincent, as well as take out anyone who might uncover the truth behind his murderous crusade against the Martian government. As the hunt for the man with no past and no future continues to escalate, the fate of Mars rests with the Bebop crew, a responsibility they aren't so sure they can handle.
Characters and voice cast
When asked by an interviewer "With which character do you empathise the best? Or on whom do you feel you can best project yourself?" Watanabe responded by saying "That's a difficult question." He added that he empathized with all of his characters but that he had to simultaneously "keep them all at arm's length" or else he could not "create with them." Watanabe also said he felt there were "bits of me in every one of the characters."