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Spike Spiegel

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Spike Spiegel
Spike
Date of Birth June 26, 2044
Estimated Age 27
Height 6' 1" (185 cm)
Hair Colour Green
Eye Colour Right eye- Light brown Left eye- Brown
Planet of Origin Mars
Known Aliases Swimming Bird
Spaceship Swordfish II
Weapon of Choice Jericho 941
Blood Type O-
"Bang."
―Spike Spiegel

Spike Spiegel (スパイク・スピーゲル Supaiku Supīgeru?) is the main protagonist of the Cowboy Bebop television series and Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door movie. He is a bounty hunter on a spaceship called the Bebop and travels space with his crew Jet, Faye, Ed & Ein.

CreationEdit

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.

AppearanceEdit

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 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.[1] 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.

PersonalityEdit

Spike is a slothful, listless, indifferent, and lazy character. He indeed passes the vast majority of his time on the Bebop lounging, watching TV, or sleeping. In a few rare occasions, he is also seen reading or practicing Jeet Kune Do, a martial arts practice he is very skilled in, being among other things passionate of Bruce Lee films. He is a hardened smoker, shown with a cigarette in his mouth in practically every shot (the poor conditions in the cigarettes that are depicted recall those of Daisuke Jigen.) Spike is rarely seen excited about something and, even less frequently, says he likes something.

He usually behaves phlegmatically and walks slouching almost as if he is sleepwalking. He appears to be tormented by the ghosts of his past and has frequent nightmares of his life in the Red Dragon. He considers he already died once therefore doesn't show the slightest fear of the possibility of being killed, often acts as if to challenge death, so to prove he is still alive. However in a conversation with Faye, he admits to not want to die because of "the hate to."

Following the implant of an artificial eye, he says his left eye, the real one, sees the present while the right synthetic one sees the past, making the past indelible in his mind, not allowing him to get rid of or forget it. Despite that, he usually encourages others to forget the past as "not important." Although people often talk about cowboys in an almost heroic sense, his image is far from the idea of one and, on the contrary, has characteristics typical of an antihero. He never acts to protect anyone but only for interest, often has to be persuaded to commit himself to a hunt he considers little exciting, has a rather sharp and cynical sense of humor, when he pursues a bounty, he throws himself headfirst into action regardless of damage caused to people and buildings, and doesn't have the slightest moral scruples of having to kill someone. In a few occasions, despite his proverbial indifference towards others, he has shown some sympathy for people involved in his cases and even for those who've tried to kill him, revealing a deeper nature than he would like to show.

He treats Ein as kind of emergency food and Ed as a burden, but in reality, despite never telling his companions a word of appreciation, Spike nurtures an obvious affection for each of them and often seems willing to help them. This affection is shown through his constant choice to not interfere as they face their past, even if meaning he has to pass up a bounty. In particular, he shares a genuine brotherly affection with Jet, and it is safe to say that they consider each other their best friend. In fact, they are often seen talking together like two old friends. Although they often fight because of the excessive stubbornness of Spike, occasionally resulting in him being banned from Bebop, these arguments are always resolved in short time. Jet is also the only person Spike confides about his past.

His relationship with Faye is instead the most complex in the series. Most of the time they do nothing but bicker however, in moments of danger Faye has always shown concern for Spike, and Spike has shown some empathy for Faye's situation. Faye has also always taken care of Spike when he was injured, although she still kept a bitter attitude. The affection between them is quite obvious, and many people have speculated that Faye could be in love with Spike. Watanabe has said on the subject, "Sometimes I'm asked the question, 'What does Spike think of Faye?' I think that he likes her a little. But he's not a very simple person and makes sure not to show it."

AbilitiesEdit

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, or Ruger P85 as well as other guns and explosives) and hand-to-hand combat skills due to his past employment with the Red Dragon crime syndicate. 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. Spike also repeatedly demonstrates an exceptionally sharp intellect, although he has a habit for neglecting to plan ahead, as noted by Jet. Spike has repeatedly been able to outwit the entire Red Dragon syndicate, predict the moves of his opponents (whether in combat or in the casinos), and use lateral thinking to get out of virtually every situation which life throws at him. He can also swallow and regurgitate objects e.g. a chip (casino chip) at will.  

BiographyEdit

BackstoryEdit

Spike was born on June 26, 2044 on Mars. Almost nothing is known about his family except that his grandmother died when he was small. Some clues about his past presume that he was raised in one of the slums of the planet before becoming a thug, a thief, and then finally a criminal affiliated with the Red Dragon Crime Syndicate where Mao Yenrai, head of the organization, takes him under his wing. The criminal organization becomes kind of like a family for Spike, and, thanks to his skills, he manages to become in a short time one of the top men. Because of his recklessness, he loses his right eye in an unspecified accident, which occurred on a mission on behalf of the Red Dragon, after which he was implanted an artificial eye.

Simultaneously, after joining the Red Dragon, Spike meets Vicious, and soon both become candidates for possible successors for Mao as leader of the organization. While Vicious is ambitious, selfish, ruthless, and willing to do anything to get the leadership role, Spike instead feeds no interest in the opportunity. The difference of opinion between the two gives rise to a great mutual hatred as well as a strong rivalry. They are offered several times to work together, thereby strengthening the hostility between them. At about this time, Spike gets involved in a shooting probably not with the police but the assassins of Vicious. He survives and is rescued by a woman named Julia.

It is unclear exactly what links Vicious and Julia. It seems that Julia was somehow subdued by Vicious and obliged to obey him, even though some elements reveal she had ties with him of a sexual nature. Vicious presumably pushed her into the arms of Spike, probably to watch him, and he never imagined the two could birth a true love. Having heard of the new bond, Vicious offers Julia to restore her freedom in exchange for the life of Spike. Spike simultaneously staged his fake death and offered Julia to leave the Red Dragon and run with him to start a new life. They were supposed to meet in a cemetery on a rainy day. Julia, however, not having the strength to kill the man she loved, decides to run away alone, so at least one of them could be saved. She did not go to the cemetery, leaving Spike waiting in the rain for hours. Spike finally decided to leave and so painfully put an end to their relationship.

Later, in circumstances that are not told, he met Jet Black who becomes his partner and close friend. They embarked on the ship known as the Bebop and quickly became the most feared bounty hunters of the solar system. Despite the passing years, Spike continues, every time he gets an opportunity, to seek his beloved Julia.

In the seriesEdit

In Session 2: Stray Dog Strut, Jet and Spike, while hunting a kidnapper of animals, meet Ein, a dog with an unexpected human intelligence, who they decide to adopt as a pet. In Session 3: Honky Tonk Women, an appearance by Charlie Parker in a dream convinced Jet to try his luck at a casino. Here the two bounty hunters meet Faye Valentine who, after a series of events between this session and Session 4: Gateway Shuffle, becomes the third member of the crew of the Bebop, self-inviting herself. Initially, both men don't agree on having a woman on board, especially an opportunist like Faye. Over time, however, they become attached and a functional team.

In Session 5: Ballad of Fallen Angels, when Faye decides to try to catch Mao Yenrai alone, unaware that he has already been killed by Vicious, she falls into a trap of the Red Dragon, only to be used by Vicious to attract Spike. Arriving at the appointment in exchange for the life of Faye, Spike faces before the assassins of his rival and the Vicious himself. Vicious is more propitious and manages to throw Spike through a glass wall, but Spike manages to throw a bomb towards Vicious. Spike falls to the ground, but survives with the help of his fellow travelers who brought him back to the Bebop and medicated his wounds. Following unclear circumstances, Vicious survives the explosion.

In Session 9: Jamming with Edward, the eccentric Ed joins the trio. Spike resumes his life as a bounty hunter until Sessions 12/13: Jupiter Jazz, Faye flees to Callisto because of her fears of her feelings towards her companions. In an effort to find her, Spike picks up a message from a woman named Julia, but that turns out to be just the code name of a purchase transaction of a consignment of drugs by Vicious on behalf of the Red Dragon. After a new clash with his rival, in which he manages to escape again, Spike returns to the Bebop being welcomed with open arms by Jet, despite the dispute caused by the way he acted to chase after Julia.

After a series of adventures, in Session 24: Hard Luck Woman, the crew is dismembered because Ed, after briefly meeting her father again, leaves with Ein, and Faye, after recovering her memory and taken by anxiety of discovering her parents aren't alive, leaves the ship again. In Sessions 25/26: The Real Folk Blues, Depressed, though not wanting to admit it, Jet and Spike go to a bar to drown their sorrows in alcohol, unaware that in the meantime the men of the Red Dragon Crime Syndicate are chasing Spike. The assassins of the organization find Spike and Jet at the bar in which they undertake a firefight in which Jet is wounded in the left leg by a bullet. Spike and Jet return to the Bebop. Spike, after finding out that the elders of the Red Dragon stopped Vicious's coup and subsequently ordered their henchmen to eliminate any former member of the organization, contacts Faye and asks her to return to the Bebop. She returns and tells him, albeit hesitantly, she met Julia who has given her a task to deliver a message to Spike that she's waiting for him at the same appointed cemetery from years before.

Spike immediately leaves the Bebop and goes to the cemetery where he and Julia are reunited. They are soon joined by the assassins of the Red Dragon who chase them up on the roofs of the city where, despite Spike managing to kill all the assassins, Julia gets shot in the back by a stray bullet and dies in the arms of Spike, right after asking if what happened was just a dream. Spike responds positively And, after watching her die, decides to kill Vicious who has since killed the elders and become the new leader of the Red Dragon.

Contrary to the expectations of his companions, Spike returns to the Bebop, but only to say goodbye to them permanently. Spike asks Jet to cook him food for the last time and then tells the story of his life as a fairy tale. They laugh one last time together, and then a Jet lets him go to meet his fate. At the entrance of the hangar Spike comes across Faye who puts her gun to his head in an attempt to stop him. She reminds him of the time he told her to forget the past and live the present. Spike then tells her that his right eye is fake and that it only sees the past, making the past indelibly in his mind. She then tells him that she recovered her memory and understands that he and Jet are her only family. She urges him not to die, to which he replies he's just going to see if he's alive or not. As he walks away, Faye, grief stricken, shoots bullets into the ceiling and then surrenders to a desperate cry.

FinaleEdit

Due to an effective surprise, Spike manages to break into the base of the Red Dragon through the front door and, after killing many of the goons of the organization and receiving injuries to his left arm and left eye, reaches the top floor and the room Vicious is in. During the final battle he is wounded by a dagger to the left collarbone and a katana to the left quadricep and abdomen. Nevertheless, he manages to kill his rival with a gunshot wound to the chest.

Shortly later, Spike walks down the stairs and is met with the astonishment of the surviving men. Spike stops in his tracks, points his finger to the men mimicking a gun, and collapses to the ground unconscious.

Although it is commonly believed that Spike is dead, Shinichiro Watanabe, the creator, never removed the possibility that Spike survived. However, either way, the story is finished.

Memorable QuotesEdit

Asteroid Blues

Spike Spiegel: "Jet, you said bell peppers and beef."
Jet Black: [distracted] "His name's Asimov Solensen. Are you listening to me?"
Spike Spiegel: "There's no beef in here. So you wouldn't really call it bell peppers and beef now, would you?"
Jet Black: "Yes, I would."
Spike Spiegel: [yelling] "Well, it's not!"
Jet Black: [yelling] "It is when you're broke, alright!"

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 attitude.
Jet Black: [defeated] "Oh..."
Spike Spiegel: "So tell me Jet... [yelling] why do we have all three of them neatly gathered in our ship?!"

Wild Horses

Spike Spiegel: "Whatever happens, happens."

Cowboy Bebop the Movie: Knockin' on Heaven's Door

Elektra Ovirowa: "The more you know, the shorter your life will be."
Spike Spiegel: "I love the kind of woman that can kick my ass."

The Real Folk Blues (Part 2)

Spike Spiegel: "I'm not going there to die. I'm going to find out if I'm really alive."
Spike Spiegel: "They say hunger is the best spice."
Spike Spiegel: "Bang... [smiles while holding his hand like a gun before falling to the ground]"

Image GalleryEdit

  1. EX:clusive Focus Panel: Kawamoto Toshihiro

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