Hajime Yatate/Yutake Nanten
If you've read the review of Cowboy Bebop Volume 1 you'll know I wasn't exactly impressed. It lost a lot of what I hold dear about the show and was far too short for a graphic novel. But I stayed with the series, just to see how things turned out. And they have definitely picked up.
Now, I didn't expect much better than the first volume. Luckily, I didn't get what I expected. Instead I got a slick, fast paced manga volume, which, while not exactly a tome was suitably long and reasonably drawn. The artwork is still close to shadeless but is a lot more bold and detailed. The characters act more like their show counterparts than in volume 1, the stories are more balanced and the pacing is far snappier. The battles are easier to follow and the enemies and guest stars are more believable, each with their own background, personality and motivations.
The tone is more serious than in Volume 1 but the book still manage a fair amount of humour, blending it very well with the action. For example, Ed and assassins don't mix. Normally that is, as the combination works to create an excellent story here.
So, any problems? Well, it could do with a little more direction. Give the series a purpose, have an on-going arc perhaps, or some kind of endgame and the series would gain some much needed momentum. Faye is given some much needed depth but what we still need is more Ed! The girl needs her own, demented, psycho, weirdo series!
With that minor flaw aside, this is a very sleek and stylish book which, because it is stand-alone, requires no previous Cowboy Bebop knowledge to understand (unlike volume 1!).