Haasim Mahanaim | vectormatrix

Cowboy Bebop - The Meaning of Life August 15, 2002

Author's Commentary

This introduction will be somewhat long, but I hope you will read it since I feel it is important to share these thoughts.

Fanfiction for Cowboy Bebop can be somewhat unsatisfying since the series ended with the implication of Spike's death. - My younger brother has informed that that many fans have attempted to write stories that deals with Spike's death or ignores it altogether. However, I didn't want to write a story that is simply wishful thinking. - I want to be able to believe that any story I write could be a possible continuation of the series if the writers had decided to continue the show. One night I came to the realization that for fans like myself, I must figure out a way of explaining that Spike really didn't die at all, in fact, I would have to prove that he was never dreaming at all. Without being able to prove this, my attempt at continuing the stories and relationship would feel meaningless.

So before we begin the story, I will explain my theory that explains why Spike was never dreaming.

Was it all a dream?

Throughout the series, Spike was convinced he was dreaming after being shot by the love of his life, Julia. This means, that Jet, Faye, Ed and reality itself, were all creations of Spike's imagination Yet, all of the characters on the series had their own personal lives, history and motivations. How would Spike (or any person) be able to create such an elaborate dream filled with complex characters and situations, meanwhile dealing with the trivialities of everyday life?

The Meaning of Life

The series made it clear that Julia was the focus of Spike's world. Imagine for a moment what it would be like to loose have such a person while dealing with their betrayal. After being shot, Spike's world started to unravel and he couldn't mentally cope with finding a new purpose for living. However, he had one goal that was clear, to confront and destroy his mortal enemy. But in order to this, he would no longer be able to care about his life or well being, instead, he would have to confront any dangers in his path without hesitation. In order to do this, he would need to believe that life it self no longer existed in the way he remembered. - This is where the dream delusion begins. He psychological conditioned himself to believe this metaphor for this pain so that he would be able to act upon it.

This would also explain why he constantly referred to being in a bad dream trying to wake up, he had conditioned himself to repeat this to himself to a point that he finally genuinely believed it.

State of Limbo and Living in Purgatory

Another interpretation is that Spike was neither living nor dead and went through his life on the Bebop in a ghost-like state. - In his scenario, killing Vicious would be the only way to free him self of this world and finally face death. However this doesn't explain what caused his plunge into purgatory. Simply losing Julia should not have been enough to kill him. And if so, that idea contradicts the ending since when Spike falls to ground after his fight with Vicious, his body remains. If it had been his sprit wondering this world his real body should be where he had originally died.

Signs within the cards

Throughout the series, playing cards where consistently and mysteriously revealing an Ace of cards regardless of who or where the card was being revealed. - In episode II, Stray Dogs Strut, an elderly fortuneteller was able to use mystical cards to help Abdul "find what he was looking for". This subtle, yet supernatural scene suggests that within the world of Cowboy Bebop, supernatural forces interact with the living. It would be conceivable, that these same entities manipulated the randomness of a stack of playing cards in order to consistently reveal an ace of cards as a sign that the viewers mistaken as validation that Spike is dreaming.

Starlight and the Human Soul

Whatever connection there is between the human soul and the stars within the sky, could possibly based upon a state of mind. - When a star faded way at the end of the final episode, it may not necessarily have meant that Spike has left the world of the living.

The New Theory

If Spike was never dreaming or a lost soul, I suggest that he in fact went into a dream state after his encounter with Vicious. - Since he had lost his strongest ties to this world he could have simply entered a comatose state.


Through the ending of the series, Cowboy Bebop, was certainly vague, the commonly accepted interpretations do not explain many of the things that happened throughout the stories. I hope that some of the points I raised have caused you to question what you once believed.

I am certainly willing to deal with responses and if someone thinks that my theory is incoherent nonsense, you can't blame a spike-faye supporter from at least trying to prove they still have a chance.

Now that all of this has been dealt with, the story will now begin.


In a sterile hospital room, Spike's lifeless body rested on a bed next to various computer displays. - The environment seemed unfitting for such a colourful person, but in a quiet way, it served its purpose. A simple foldout chair next to the bed remained unused while Faye paced back and forth inside the room. There were no windows inside this small box, so she had no idea how much time had passed since she had locked herself inside.

Everything was still a blur to her. - While on the Bebop, she received an urgent communication that she would had ordinarily ignore or at least had taken lightly. But before Spike left to battle his mortal enemy, she knew that this situation would not have the usual carefree ending that she and Jet had become so accustomed to.

When she arrived at the hospital she was told that there was nothing that they could do to save him. Yet, they could not fully explain what had happened to cause this dire situation. "He wont wake up", she was simply told.

If Spike were truly dead, she would be able to run away to some far away place where no one could find her or comfort her. so that she may be alone. But instead, that the fates of the universe toyed with her emotions. Causing someone that she had grown fond to be in a state that appears as death, but lacks any real understanding or hope for a recovery.

She wanted to kneel on the side of the bed and weep on Spike's chest, but she couldn't bring herself to do so. - She thought about how many times she could have been more than a mischievous business partner and how she could have been a friend. - Instead of being something much more ambiguous.

How could she rest next to him as if she had any right to be close to him? - There were so many times that he had referred to being lost in a dream and yet she never pressed him to talk about his feelings, she never allowed herself to truly know him, to talk to him and to comfort him when the world felt so nightmarishly unbearable.

Out of all the deliberate attempts to seem uninterested and uncaring towards him, she had never really thought much about the vague and cryptic comments he constantly voiced during serious moments. In retrospect, she assumed that he said those things in the same way dark and mysterious men usually have a flowery way if using words to despite a deep inner pain. And she realized that it was that darkness that appealed to her in some way.

For years Faye had been dealing with trying to make sense of her past and while struggling to create a future. In many ways, Spike's attitude towards the world wasn't that much different from her own. Which is probably she never confronted Spike about his constantly sadness of living life as if in a dream. - She wanted to be able to maintain that dark and intense connection that they shared, yet never spoke of. Meanwhile, she didn't want to face the fact that her life is something that is complicated and filled with misery that needs to be dealt with. Perhaps if she had shared these thoughts with Spike they both would have been able to find a different kind of intensity, not rooted in pain.

But the even bigger realization was the notion that allowing herself to be vulnerable for just one moment, may have prevented Spike from falling into this limbo. But as ever second passes she becomes more frustrated with the thought that she will never be able to fix any of things that she regrets. And even worse, she'll have to live with the knowledge that all of this could have been so easily avoided. - Even if the past few months would have lead to the same fatal conclusion, at least they would have been able to experience some sort of happiness together.

Roaming the solar system without any memories of her past had caused her to interact with people in a way that was awkward and lacking trust or real friendship. People ordinarily learn how to function as an adult from their experiences from childhood and adolescence, but until recently, she lacked those experience, or at least the memories of them. But now that she knows her past, she doesn't know who she is anymore. How can she integrate what she could have been, with the person that she is now?

While lost in her thoughts a change on a display monitor caught her attention. There wasn't the expected chime or alert sound that you would expect to hear considering how active the various charts and graphs were moving about the screens.

Suddenly several doctors and nurses walked into the room. They seem quite interested in the data on the screens, but their reaction lacked the urgency she wish they would display, if not, at least for her benefit.

She was starting to feel as if these next few moments would be crucial in changing the course of her life. Will the faint, almost undetectable, signs of life from Spike's body cease to register on the medical instruments? - Allowing her to begin the grieving process, finally ending this limbo of optimism and hopelessness, which strangely mirror that state that Spike is in.

Or will some crucial clue be revealed, perhaps providing a task or an objective that she can work towards? - Something she can control, so that she can continue living with that belief that life that she is the one person in the history of mankind, who can actual control their life and obtain whatever they desire. whatever she needs.

Will Spike finally rejoin the real world with all of the challenges and struggles that he avoided by never accepting the frightening reality of having to deal with loss and the struggle to regain happiness?

Chapter Two coming soon

Like any author, I'd love to hear what you think about this story. :=) vector_matrix@digiverse.net | vectormatrix.digiverse.net