Tokyo Underground is more or less my baseline for a friendship-and-fighting shounen show. The characters are good enough, with nobody getting on my nerves. The world-building was kind of cool. I liked the well, underground Tokyo. The characters’ powers weren’t particularly original (it felt like half of them were in Gate Keepers), but they were internally consistent. However, it just stays at the baseline because it was lacking in particularly important area: at no point did I ever get super pumped during any of the fights.
That, possibly above anything, is what I need to call one of these series “good”. While it might sound like I’m denigrating other aspects of these shows, they actually are needed as a bit of a groundwork in order to get hella pumped. If there’s nothing internally consistent in the way that the characters’ powers work, for example it makes it harder for there to be any excitement when say, someone can pull some heretofore unknown move out of their ass and win. Similarly, you need good characters in order to generate the drama necessary to make the battle have a cathartic element.
Yes, it actually took me this long to get around to watching Cowboy Bebop. Or should I say, to completing it. I had watched a couple episodes maybe five years ago and stopped there since it wasn’t too interesting to me. As what I like to call “The anime that you’d call the best anime ever if it’s the only anime you’ve ever seen”, I don’t know if I can come up with a better example of “cool Japan” anime than this.