| Spike Spiegel
(スパイク・スピーゲル Supaiku Supīgeru)
|Date of Birth|| June 26, 2044|
|Estimated Age|| 27|
|Height|| 6' 1" (185 cm)|
|Planet of Origin|| Mars|
|Known Aliases|| Swimming Bird|
|Spaceship|| Swordfish II|
|Weapon of Choice|| Jericho 941|
- ―Spike Spiegel
Spike Spiegel (スパイク・スピーゲル Supaiku Supīgeru) is the main protagonist of the anime and manga series Cowboy Bebop. He is a bounty hunter on a spaceship called the Bebop and travels space with Jet, Faye, Ed & Ein.
The producers of Cowboy Bebop have been quoted as saying they chose the name Spike Spiegel because "it sounded cool." It is stated in the special features accompanying Cowboy Bebop The Movie: Knockin' on Heaven's Door that Spike's appearance is modeled after the late Japanese actor, Yusaku Matsuda especially as he appears in his famous role in Tantei Monogatari.
Spike is a bounty hunter who was born on Mars. He is 27 years-old. Tall and thin in appearance, he has fluffy green hair and reddish-brown eyes, one of which is artificial and lighter than the other. A flashback in Session 6 revealed that his fully functioning right eye was surgically replaced by a cybernetic one (although Spike himself may not have conscious recollection of the procedure since he claims to have lost his natural eye in an "accident"). He is usually dressed in a blue leisure suit, with a yellow shirt and Lupin III inspired boots. Spike often has a cigarette between his lips, sometimes despite rain or "No Smoking" signs. This is also done in homage of Lupin III, as Lupin's partner, Jigen, smokes cigarettes that are in poor condition. Another quite distinctive homage is to Bob Dylan, due to the rebellious demeanor and hair.
One of the recurring themes surrounding Spike's character is how he views himself and his life. He claims that one eye - his right one, the prosthetic - can only see the present, and the other - the left, his real eye - can only see the past. This is revisited by a close-up on Spike's left eye every time he has a flashback of his life before coming aboard the Bebop. He seems to regard his false death as real in some way, saying that after that day, he had "merely been living a dream". (During Session 25 when Spike has a flashback of the last time he saw Julia, the close-up shows both Spike's eyes, perhaps implying that his future and past are now the same.)
Spike's attitude of living in a "dream-like" existence is displayed by his careless behavior and his nonchalant attitude towards dangerous or outright fatal situations. One quote that exemplifies this is in Session 1, when Katerina Solensan tells Spike that she is not sure if he is joking or not, to which he responds that he "gets that a lot".
When he is not shown working or practicing martial arts, Spike is very laid back and lackadaisical, often a source of consternation for his crew mates. Some members of the Bebop crew occasionally refer to him as a "lunkhead" due to his attitude, and generally Spike just takes life as it comes. He also is shown to enjoy sleeping, and that may tie into his mantra of 'living a dream.'
Spike's philosophy seems to be based on the ancient samurai ideals of immediacy, such as considering oneself as dead and the idea of death being an awakening from a dream, which are both elements of bushido illustrated in the Hagakure.
Spike is also heard saying that the three things he hates most are "kids, animals, and women with attitudes." He ironically asks his friend Jet why all three are aboard the Bebop.
Spike has many talents and abilities, including very sharp eyesight, abnormally acute perception, and extraordinary luck. Spike makes use of sleight-of-hand techniques to win card games, pick pockets, and even to slip things onto other people unnoticed. He is well versed in weaponry (such as his personal Jericho 941 as well as other guns and explosives) and hand-to-hand combat skills. He follows Jeet Kune Do, the mindset developed by Bruce Lee, though he has a penchant for high kicks of French boxing. Spike is also a pilot, and flies a converted Asteroid racer called Swordfish II which is armed with four machine guns, multiple missile launchers, and a single plasma cannon.
Some years prior to Session 1, Spike was a rising member of the Red Dragon Crime Syndicate where he partnered as an enforcer along with his then best friend, Vicious. Both were mentored by Mao Yenrai; it was likely due to him that the both of them joined the crime organization. Badly injured after a shoot-out in the slums on Mars, Spike stumbled to the home of Julia, who was at the time Vicious' girlfriend. The pair fell in love while she nursed him back to health. Spike decided to leave the syndicate and elope with Julia. Realizing that his best friend had essentially gone soft and fallen for his girlfriend, Vicious gave Julia a painful ultimatum: either murder Spike, or have her and Spike face death for their betrayal. Although the specifics of the incident are unclear, Spike apparently managed to fake his own death by engaging in a gunfight alone in a church against a rival syndicate; this allowed him to drop off of the Red Dragon's radar. He waited for Julia at the graveyard so they could escape and be free, but she never showed. In present day, he rarely calls her by name, often referring to her as only "a woman." This disassociation suggests a deep pain on Spike's part and is illustrated in the episode "Jupiter Jazz, Part One," where the mere mention of the name "Julia" compels Spike to abandon the Bebop outright, despite having no proof the Julia in question is his.
Approximately three years later, Spike met the former ISSP cop turned bounty hunter Jet Black, and the two men became partners. Spike moved onto Jet's ship, the eponymous Bebop and the two men worked together for about three years before being joined by the other crew members. Doohan also gave him the Swordfish II.
It is possible that between leaving the syndicate and joining Jet, Spike learned to be a bounty hunter from Ural Terpsichore.
Spike deals with everyday problems while with the crew, but his own past catches up to him. He meets Vicious & several other characters he knows in Sessions 5, 12 & 13. This holds the most truth in the final 2 episodes of the anime.
Spike is generally thought to have died of wounds sustained in his final duel with Vicious. Laughing Bull tells Jet that Spike's guardian star is fading (when this happens, whoever is guarded by that star, dies); a star fades at the end of the episode. In an interview, Watanabe stated "I've never officially said that he died. At this point, I can tell you that I'm not sure if he's alive or dead." However, he also believes that fans would be upset if there is a continuation. The later Cowboy Bebop movie Knockin' on Heaven's Door is said to be set between episodes 22 and 23 of the original TV series, but Shinichiro Watanabe will not rule out the idea that the movie is a dream.
"I've never officially said that he's died. At this point, I can tell you that I'm not sure if he's alive or dead. I think probably rather than being yelled at for killing Spike, I think ... people are more upset that I might make a continuation." From "Cowboy Bebop' director Watanabe talks anime", by Jonathan McNamara; 2/14/06, The Daily Texan.
- Spike Spiegel: "Jet, you said this was bell peppers and beef."
- Jet Black: "Yeah."
- Spike Spiegel: "Well, there's no beef. So you wouldn't really call it bell peppers and beef, now would you."
- Jet Black: "Yeah. I would."
- Spike Spiegel: [Yelling] "Well, it's not!"
Jamming with Edward
- Spike Spiegel: "Jet, do you know that there are three things that I particularly hate?"
- Jet Black: [defeated] "Really?"
- Spike Spiegel: "Kids. Animals. And women with attitudes. So tell me Jet...[yelling] why do we have all three of them neatly gathered in our ship?!"
Cowboy Bebop the Movie: Knockin' on Heaven's Door
- "I love a woman who can kick my ass."
The Real Folk Blues (Part 2)
- "I'm not going there to die. I'm going to find out if I'm really alive."
- "Hunger is the best spice, they say."
- "Bang... [smiles while holding his hand like a gun before falling to the ground]."
- "Whatever happens, happens.""
- ―Spike Spiegel, Episode 19: 'Wild Horses'