What Does the Ending of Cowboy Bebop Mean?

What Does the Ending of Cowboy Bebop Mean?

The illustrious Cowboy Bebop series is one of the first mature animated shows to reach the West. The neo-noir science-fiction television show was fun to watch for its action scenes, enigmatic characters, and episodic side adventures, but it also drizzled insightful lines throughout about the hardships of living life.

“You’re gonna carry that weight” is one of them, placed at the ending as the curtains seemingly close on the bleeding-out daredevil Spike Spiegel. Because of the ambiguous close on the show, fans are still asking this one question for nearly 24 years: what does the ending of Cowboy Bebop mean? We’ll answer that by diving into what the line meant and guiding you through the fate of Spike Spiegel.

What Does the Ending Line in Cowboy Bebop Mean?  

Confronting trauma is a big focus in Cowboy Bebop. As viewers follow a band of misfits with their problems, their flaws become clear from their pasts, and they eventually have to come to terms with them whether they want to or not. Cowboy Bebop is known for bringing closure to those episodic character stories, but its poster boy, Spike Spiegel, has avoided those moments until the end. 

The line, “you’re gonna carry that weight,” contextualizes that Spike isn’t outrunning his past anymore and has come to terms with it, yet only at death’s door does it finally sink in for him. Another layer about the meaning of the line is a bit meta but reminds the viewer that whatever trauma you carry will stay with you, and you’ll always carry its significance to who you are today. 

Spike Spiegel: What Does the Ending of Cowboy Bebop Mean?
Source: Sunrise

Did Spike Spiegel Survive at the End of Cowboy Bebop?

Cowboy Bebop creator Shinichirō Watanabe had always planned to make the ending scene with Spike ambiguous. In fact, he told The Daily Texan in 2006 that the show’s staff “were upset” about it because it would shoot down “[making] a continuation.” 

But in the case of whether Spike survived or not, Watanabe stated that he “never officially said that [he] died” based on the ending of the show. However, he does say that even he’s “not sure if he’s alive or dead.” From that, it’s safe to say there isn’t an answer to what happened to Spike and that the ending has ultimately been left open to fan interpretation. But strangely enough, the character has always walked the line between life and death often, so it’s very poetic for what Spike represented.

And that’s everything you need to know to answer: what does the ending of Cowboy Bebop mean? Be sure to check out the Twinfinite site for other anime guides that may answer some of your questions about your favorite series. 

About the author

Anthony Jones

Anthony Jones is a gaming journalist and late 90s kid in love with retro games and the evolution of modern gaming. He was a freelance writer for Twinfinite between April 2022 and June 2022. He started at Mega Visions as a news reporter covering the latest announcements, rumors, and fan-made projects. FFXIV has his heart in the MMORPGs scene, but he's always excited to analyze and lose hours to ambitious and ambiguous MMOs that gamers follow.