There are only two valid reasons why you would want to buy Best Sessions if you already own the Cowboy Bebop TV series: you have a top-of-the-line DTS5.1 sound system, or you've an empty space in your R4 Bebop box that you just can't bear to leave empty. Guess which category I'm in.
1 - Asteroid Blues (#1)
Meet Spike Siegel & Jet Black, bounty hunters and crew of the ship Bebop.
They're currently on the trail of one Asimov Solensan, rumoured to be
hiding in Tijuana with his woman. He's meant to be one tough
sonofabitch, but with a huge reward on his head Spike and Jet can't
afford to pass on the opportunity. Problem is, Asimov is a dealer in
the drug known as Red Eye - and where Red Eye is, the crime syndicates
are bound to follow. Spike & Jet will have to get through them
before they can get to their target - at least until a chance encounter
gives Spike an opportunity to finish the job quickly...
2 - Ballad of Fallen Angels (#5)
There's a bounty out on the head of the syndicate that Spike used to
belong to - although they're not to know that the target is already
dead, victim of a 'hostile takeover' by another member of the
syndicate, Vicious. Spike's had dealings with Vicious in the past,
while Faye's about to discover just how dangerous dealing with him can
be when she becomes part of Vicious' plan to finally settle his score
3 - Wild Horses (#19)
While Jet & Faye lay in wait for pirates to take the bait they've
set for them (namely, Faye), Spike's headed down to Earth to have a few
repairs and modifications made to his ship. The work's being done by an
old friend of Spike's, Doohan, whose 'hobby' is to bring an old Space
Shuttle back to space-worthy state. Later, another crack at the pirates
leaves Spike's ship disabled by a computer virus, and the only thing
that may possibly save him in time is Doohan's old Shuttle...
Editor's Note: There's an interesting bit of 'life imitating art' here - Doohan's shuttle is the Columbia,
which has some problems with its heat-resistant tiles on re-entry.
While Doohan & co managed to get back to Earth in one piece, the
real Colombia and its crew weren't so lucky when they suffered the same problem, a few years after this was made...
4 - Waltz for Venus (#8)
Things not to do: hijack a passenger shuttle when Spike Speigel &
Faye Valentine are on the passenger list. They're on their way to
Venus, and aren't about to let any hijackers spoil their plans. One of
the passengers, Roco, is so in awe of Spike's performance, he's
determined to become his student. Spike gets tangled up in Roco's plans
a bit more than he intended, though, when Roco turns up on Jet's list
of possible bounties...
5 - Mushroom Samba (#17)
Times are hard on the Bebop - there's no food left, and someone's even eaten Jet's emergency rations (and it would have to be real
bad for anyone to face that prospect). Everyone's paying so much
attention to 'who ate the food?' that no-one's paying attention to
traffic - until they're hit by another ship, and end up crash
landing... While Spike & Jet work on repairing the ship & Faye
spends most of the episode in the bathroom (guess who ate the emergency
rations), Ed is sent in search of food. After reaching a town that
seems to have been lifted straight from a blaxploitation movie, she
eventually finds some - mushrooms. Magic mushrooms...
6 - Hard Luck Woman (#24)
Faye's gotten a clue to her past - an old videotape, showing what seems to be her in her younger days. The Bebop's
latest visit to Earth (strange - Jet thought it had been headed for
Mars...) gives her the opportunity to investigate the lead she's been
given, but when she's relying on some extra information from Ed, you
know it's not going to be straightforward...
Supposedly the 'best of the best' of Cowboy Bebop - the first
three episodes being the director's choice, the second three being
chosen by fan poll. As such, as well as being another way to fleece
existing fans of a few more dollars, it does provide a good
cross-section of episodes from the series that would work as an
'Introduction to Bebop' for anyone new to the show, even if the fan choices are a bit suspect.
The whole spread is covered here, from the almost-comic Mushroom Samba to the heart-string-pulling Hard Luck Woman (which works a lot better when you've seen the whole series and have an attachment to Faye & Ed than if you haven't). Bebop's unusal in the way it was able to cover the whole range of genres in one show, and that alone makes it worth buying.
For this collection, though, I'd only recommend buying if you're new
to the series. Even if you have the sound system necessary to make the
most of this release, it still strikes me as a bit cynical in its
efforts to make you double-dip on the show. Not quite on the scale of
all the Evangelion re-releases, though!