Waltz For Venus

(Watsaru Fō Vīnasu)

8 Title
Session 8
Previous Session Heavy Metal Queen
Next Session Jamming With Edward
Original Airdate December 12, 1998

"Waltz For Venus" is the eighth session, or episode, of Cowboy Bebop.


In order of appearance:


Spike and Faye take a commercial shuttle into Venus in order to catch a trio of small time hijackers in the act. As Huey, Louie and Dewey pull out their guns, Spike effortlessly trips them up while waking from a nap while Faye uses a stun perfume to knock out the third hijacker. They collect the bounty at the Venus spaceport, 1.5 million Woolongs total, making it one of their most successful and profitable jobs in the series. On board that same shuttle is Rocco Bonnaro who was impressed by Spike's fighting skills. Rocco begs Spike to show him his Judo and Kung-fu, and Spike eventually gives in. Spike says that his fighting ability comes not from excessive strength, but fluid motion that allows him to react without thought and channel the opponent's power to use against them.

A couple of thugs show up at the spaceport looking for Rocco. Before he runs off, Rocco hands Spike a package and asks him to meet the next day. Back on the Bebop Spike learns that the package contains a Grey Ash plant. Jet discovers a bounty on Rocco and his gang leader, Piccaro Calvino, for stealing that Grey Ash plant. He says that these plants are worth tens of millions of Woolongs and are used in medicine to cure a blindness disease called Venus Sickness.

While Faye tries to find Piccaro, Spike flies off in his Swordfish II to find Rocco at a ruined shuttle in the desert. Spike finds Rocco's sister, Stella instead and learns that she has Venus Sickness and is completely blind. She shows him a Music Box Rocco sent her and Spike finds Grey Ash seeds inside. He realizes Rocco only stole the plant to cure his sister's blindness.

Rocco is caught by Piccaro and his gang, beaten and burnt with a cigar, but Rocco refuses to tell them about the Grey Ash plant. Meanwhile, Faye's attempt to track down Piccaro ends up being a wild goose chase.

Rocco and Spike meet at their arranged time and place, and Spike lets him know that he's a bounty hunter. Rocco draws his gun as a reaction but drops it when Spike then says he knows the plant is for Stella's blindness.

Piccaro's gang followed Rocco to the meeting place and surrounds Spike. When Rocco asks them to spare Spike's life, they refuse and Spike and Rocco get caught in a shootout.

Rocco runs for cover with the Grey Ash plant. Faye makes it to the meeting place in her Red Tail zipcraft and fires on the gang members, knocking walls and pillars to the ground. Jet also joins the action in his Hammer Head ship.

One gang member takes Rocco on in hand-to-hand combat but Rocco uses fluid motion to evade the goon and knock him to the ground. Spike is impressed by Rocco's moves but watches in horror as Rocco is shot in the back and falls to the ground.

Faye corners Piccaro and forces him to surrender, and the shooting stops. Spike rushes over to Rocco but cannot do anything to save him. Before he dies, Rocco wonders if he and Spike could have been friends if they had met earlier.

After that night Spike goes to visit Stella in the hospital where she is about to undergo surgery to repair her eyesight. She is under the assumption that Rocco arranged the operation and will come visit her, until she learns from Spike's silence and facial features that Rocco has died. She asks Spike what Rocco was really like and Spike replies that she knows better than anyone: that he was a terrific guy.

After leaving, Spike stops a small fruit stand in a little square to buy an apple, and as he goes on his away and takes a bite, the spores that were responsible for Stella's blindness begin to fall like snow.


[Rocco comes at Spike with a knife and Spike sends Rocco to the ground]

How did you do that?
— Rocco Bonnaro
You’re tense, I’m calm. You apply excessive force; I control that force through fluid motion. That means relaxing the whole body so it can react instantly without resistance—no, without thought. Do you see now? It means becoming like clear water.
— Spike Spiegel
— Rocco Bonnaro
Right. Water can take any form. It drifts without effort one moment, then pounds down in a torrent the very next.
— Spike Spiegel

I’m not a criminal. Woah, that makes me sound more like a criminal, doesn't it?
— Spike Spiegel
Master, you see it? I was fluid like water.
— Rocco Bonnaro
You know better than anyone, without looking. He was a terrific guy. Exactly the person you thought he was.
— Spike Spiegel

Themes and MotifsEdit

  • Gambling: After collecting her share of the bounty, Faye goes off to a casino to try her luck at quick cash. Throughout the series Faye's gambling addiction becomes a central part of her character.

Homages and ReferencesEdit

  • Tom and Jerry is parodied during the in-flight movie on-board the shuttle to Venus.
  • Huey, Dewey, and Louie are references to the three nephews of the Disney character, Donald Duck.
  • The music-box plays the song "The Singing Sea".
  • The scene where Rocco gets roughened up by Piccaro and his gang bears resemblance to a similar scenario in the neo-noir film Chinatown, in which the protagonist receives a beating and a cut to the nose by a gang leader and his henchman in front of a chain-link fence.
  • The episode is highly inspired by the 1952 Noir film On Dangerous Ground. Both Stella and Rocco are inspired by the main characters Rocco's death is similar to the main characters death. And both female characters receive a bittersweet ending. And like the main character Rocco is only doing crime to take care of his sister.
  • Spike's description of his fighting style being "like water" might suggest certain forms of Chinese martial arts such as Wing Chun or Tai Chi. It is also likely a reference to a quotation by Bruce Lee (who himself practiced Wing Chun):
You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.
— Bruce Lee

Trivia Edit

  • Middle Eastern-based architecture, dress, and written language appear throughout the scenery of Venus, alongside the bazaar where Turkish store names are seen. In the fourteenth minute of the session, a skyline of Venus is also shown with an architectural copy of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque of Istanbul, Turkey. All these details suggest that Venus has substantial Arab and Turkish populations.

Gallery Edit

Sessions Edit

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