Sympathy for the Devil

(Akuma o Awaremu Uta)

6 Title
Session 6
Previous Session Ballad of Fallen Angels
Next Session Heavy Metal Queen
Original Airdate November 28, 1998

"Sympathy for the Devil" is the sixth session, or episode, of Cowboy Bebop.


In order of appearance:


Spike has a flash-back that he is being operated on by surgeons in a room where human organs and a fish float in water-filled tubes. He wakes up in a nightclub where a kid is on stage playing a blues tune on a harmonica.

Faye inspects the refrigerator on board the Bebop and finds only a can of dog food. Ein is waiting by his food dish but Faye instead eats the dog food herself.

Jet and Spike are at the nightclub talking about blues music. Spike uses his computer glasses to identify their three million Woolong bounty head, Giraffe. Jet goes to distract an old friend of his that gets in the way. Giraffe leaves the club and Spike begins to trail him. They watch the kid, Wen, from the night club enter a taxi with an old man in the wheelchair, Zebra. Spike follows Giraffe, who followed the taxi to a sky rise hotel. Giraffe enters a suite and goes crashing through the window to the ground.

Spike, flying his Swordfish II, narrowly catches the falling Giraffe. Before Giraffe dies he gives Spike a ring and says not to be fooled by the way he looks.

Back at the Bebop Jet and Spike talk about selling the ring. Jet goes to lunch with his old friend, Fatty River, who was also trying to catch Giraffe. Fatty explains that Giraffe and Zebra were the leaders of the Self-Defense Volunteer Squad and Wen is supposedly Zebra’s son.

Fatty River explains:
Ten years ago they had a confrontation with some space raiders. A land dispute. It all came down at some R&D facility near Mars. A few days later the raiders are wiped out, Zebras missing, and Giraffe is found blindfolded in a silo. They say Zebra double crossed him so he could run the squad solo. Later, Zebra turns up in a wheelchair with the kid. Guess it didn't turn out the way he planned.

Spike goes back to the nightclub and follows Wen and Zebra after the show to a warehouse. Jet and Faye find Wen in an old newspaper article from 30 years ago where he looks the same age.

Wen takes the high ground and fires at Spike. A flashback of Wen’s childhood show him with his family on a terra-formed Moon when the hyperspace gate crashes and annihilates the environment. Wen, however, emerges from the charred remains of the ground unharmed.

Wen explains to Spike that he stopped aging and captured Zebra when he hit the R&D lab. He then asks for the ring and when Spike plays dumb, he continues to shoot. Spike finds cover and fired back, knocking Wen’s gun away.

Spike hits Wen in the face and knocks him down a floor but Wen escapes. Spike returns to the Bebop with Zebra who has tears in his eyes but is otherwise paralyzed. They use a brain scanning machine called the Alfa Catch to record his memories as video images. They witness how Giraffe got shot at by Wen in the hotel room. Giraffe explains that the stone can return aging to Wen—the only thing that can kill him now.

Jet explains:
When the gate exploded, a coordinate system was created from the resulting twists in hyperspace—a kind of singularity that drew in vast amounts of energy, enclosing and crystallizing them into a single faceted stone. The gem that makes up ring. The same energy broke Wen’s circadian rhythm. His pineal body continually produces a substance like melatonin that inhibits aging. That’s the theory in a nutshell.

Jet asks Spike if he "gets the picture", to which Spike responds, "Yeah, as if."

Jet crafts a bullet out of the gem and Spike loads it into a Thompson Center Contender. Spike goes to leave but Faye is worried he won’t come back.

Spike flies his Swordfish II and tracks Wen in a stolen taxicab. They travel away from town and Spike shoots at the taxi, causing it to crash into an abandoned gas station. Wen emerges from the fiery explosion unharmed and faces down Spike, who has landed and gotten out of his ship.

Wen fires three shots with a sadistic smile on his face: one lands at Spikes feet, the next wide right of his head, and the third just grazing Spike’s cheek.

Spike shoots Wen between the eyes, who stood still expecting to survive another bullet wound, but the gem works and turns Wen into an old man. Wen falls to the ground and dies, saying he finally feels at ease. With his last breath, he asks Spike if he understands.

Spike replies "Yeah, as if", tosses Wen’s harmonica into the air, points at it with his finger and says "Bang".


If you don’t work, you don’t eat. You’re a hunting dog... hunt up some food. We girls are different. We have to be pampered because we’re delicate and refined.
— Faye Valentine

Damn that blues harp sounds sweet; I knew it would.
— Jet Black
I thought you liked jazz.
— Spike Spiegel
Don’t be dense. I started wailing the blues when the doctor whacked my bottom on the day I was born.
— Jet Black
A baby hipster, very cool.
— Spike Spiegel

Betrayal may come easily to women, but men live by iron-clad codes of honor.
— Jet Black
You really believe that?
— Faye Valentine
I'm trying to, real hard.
— Jet Black

— Spike Spiegel

Themes and MotifsEdit

  • Missed Bounty: This session is an example of the crew missing a bounty opportunity. They attempt to collect the 3 million Woolong bounty on Giraffe who is killed before they have a chance to catch him.

Homages and ReferencesEdit

  • "Sympathy for the Devil" Is a song by the rock band The Rolling Stones on their album, Beggars Banquet. The narrator of the song is the Devil, who like Wen, watches as generations of people die around him.
  • This episode was unaired due to a child being killed on Cartoon Network and themes of violence
  • Fatty Rivers' name is a reference to Muddy Waters, the legendary blues musician.

Gallery Edit

Sessions Edit

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