Dec 6, 2023
Spike Spiegel created by Shinichiro Watanabe & Toshihiro Kawamoto in “Stray Dog Strut”, April 1998
Protagonist of the series, he’s a bounty hunter partnered with Jet Black aboard the spaceship Bebop
Over the course of the series, we learn his backstory - a former member of the Red Dragon syndicate, he fell in love with Julia, the girlfriend of his partner Vicious - when Vicious finds out, he forces Julia to kill Spike or be killed herself, so she goes into hiding to save herself
Spike fakes his death and goes on the run, where he teams up with Jet - they’re also joined by Faye, a gambler who recently awoke from cryogenic sleep; Ein, a Welsh Corgi with human intelligence; and Edward, a young Earth girl who’s also a master hacker
During the series finale, Julia has Faye send Spike a message that she is alive and ready to meet with him, but Vicious has her killed - Spike goes to the syndicate’s headquarters and has a final battle with Vicious, where Vicious is killed and Spike is severely wounded or killed - the ending is left ambiguous
Vicious Vicious Vicious… where do we begin?
Never got over his abandonment by Julia either
A life of drifting vs A life of intention
In-universe - Get captured as a bounty, take the time to get to know Spike
Out of universe -
*knocking on door*
SPIKE: *mumbles* who the hell…*regular voice* Come on in
DOC: Uh…are you Mr. Spiegel?
SPIKE: I’d better be, or else you’d be dead by now. Plus we don’t get visitors unless Jet has business with ‘em. He gave me the heads up. You’re the doctor, right?
DOC: Yes, I’m Doctor Issues
SPIKE: We’re not exactly fancy here, but help yourself to something to eat while you wait for him.
DOC: Wait for who?
SPIKE: Jet said he hired a doctor to check things out, and he wanted to make sure I was around. We’re kind of in no man’s land here. I think we have bell peppers and beef, but it’s a little light on the beef…
DOC: About that…I don’t usually do house calls, but he made it sound urgent…except I need a special waiver to diagnose and treat someone so far out of my jurisdiction. He took care of that already, right?
SPIKE: Suuuuuuure he did. Whatever.
DOC: Good…then there’s the other part of the misunderstanding I need to clarify.
SPIKE: Don’t tell me you forgot your equipment? I figured you’d need hardware tools if you have to deal with Jet’s arm
DOC: I’m not an orthopedist
SPIKE: Then maybe he’s got a cold or something. I dunno.
DOC: I’m not here for Jet.
SPIKE: *pause* I’m not paying for the bill to get you to the right address then
DOC: Spike, Jet asked me to talk to you. He figured if you were in your own space you’d be more amenable. Says you’ve had some tough breaks.
SPIKE: I thought you said you weren’t an orthopedist
DOC: Har har har. I’m a psychiatrist.
SPIKE: I’m a bounty hunter. I hunt bounties. I know what I do. No psychiatrist necessary, unless you managed to pack a better couch with you.
DOC: No such luck. But you seem to be relaxed as it is.
SPIKE: Not quite. *lights up cigarette, blows smoke* ah, that’s more like it. Want one?
DOC: I don’t condone smoking.
SPIKE: More for me, then. I suppose this is where you warn me of the dangers of smoking and tell me to quit.
DOC: You just did it for me
SPIKE: Taking a shortcut. I like that. How long will this take?
DOC: I’m contracted for a typical hour
SPIKE: Then that gives me some time for a nap. I don’t have anything to talk about. You can stay or go, your choice.
DOC: I don’t abandon patients, but I’m not going to bug you in your own domicile. Mind if I watch something on my phone?
SPIKE: Suit yourself
DOC: *exaggerated reactions* Oooh his countering is so slow
SPIKE: *clearly interested* What ya watching?
DOC: I always keep some fights downloaded to pass the time.
SPIKE: You don’t seem like the fighting type.
DOC: I’m a huge fan because I view combat sports as the truest test of wills.
SPIKE: Spoken like someone who’s never been in a real fight.
DOC: Be that as it may, if you saw what I saw, you’d have a similar critique.
SPIKE: *begrudgingly* Alright, show me
DOC: See how this guy keeps his head on the center line? He invites every hook imaginable, but he doesn’t have the handspeed to land a counterpunch.
SPIKE: Yuck; he’s too rigid. He has to just…flow. It’s hard to explain
DOC: Be like water.
SPIKE: *pause* You’re the first person to get that in the first try. *sigh* You know, it’s nothing personal, but the reason I don’t need a psychiatrist is because I’ve already trained my mind with the best that martial arts has to offer. That’s how I get through things. I flow with them, until I need to crash.
DOC: Hmmm…I think that may be a problem
SPIKE: No way.
DOC: Water as a liquid has the properties you claim. But what about under intense pressure and heat? It vaporizes. What about when it’s cold? It freezes.
DOC: So…depending on what is going on around you, you’re making yourself subject to the whims of people or circumstance. Judging from this place, you guys are nomads. But your background means that you had a strong homebase at some point. Either your situation was so intense you needed to become vapor and disappear, or you became so frigid to them that you are more stoic than you should be. Either way, you’ve lost control. So which is it?
SPIKE: Neither. It’s like I said, I flow until I crash.
DOC: So when’s the last time you crashed?
SPIKE: The last bum I knocked out, I guess.
DOC: No, I mean emotionally. When’s the last time you crashed? Who angered you? Who made you laugh? Who made you cry?
SPIKE: You sure you’re not ISSP with all these questions?
DOC: I’ll back off, but the point is to answer those questions for yourself.
SPIKE: I’ve had some people tell me the opposite.
SPIKE: *pause* Because they don’t want me to die.
DOC: Your job is dangerous
SPIKE: *sarcastic* Ha. My LIFE is dangerous. Let’s go with your metaphor. If I do the wrong thing, people get boiled. If I care too much, others become targets. So I freeze them out. And no, I can’t just pretend that I want it some other way. All I can do is hope that the parts I DON’T like leave of their own volition, or I find something else to keep my mind occupied. Is that what you wanted to hear this whole time? Big whoop.
DOC: Damn, that was deep.
SPIKE: *calmer now* So, you got some time for some more fights?
DOC: Depends on if you have time for more sessions.
SPIKE: Well, we’re due for another major dogfight and damage to the ship that’ll put us out of commission for a while any day now, so I’ll let you know when that happens.
DOC: Sounds like a plan.
SPIKE: Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find some protein. If I have to eat one more carbohydrate I’m gonna puke.
Thank you everyone for coming
Hope to be back for PuchiCon Teaneck in the spring
See you, space cowboy…