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Keiko Nobumoto, Michael Nesmith

A couple of passings came across the news yesterday.

First, Keiko Nobumoto, the screenwriter for the original Cowboy Bebop, as well as her prior collaboration with director Shinichiro Watanabe, Macross Plus (which is phenomenal).

She also wrote and created the 2003 anime series Wolf’s Rain, which I saw on Cartoon Network and loved, and also had music by Yoko Kanno.

Wolf’s Rain is kind of bizarre and I haven’t seen it in at least 15 years, so I don’t have a lot of confidence in my ability to explain it. It’s set in an alternate world of technology and magic where four wolves—who can project themselves as taking human form—seek out “paradise” at the end of the world...which they actually find.

To give you a sense of how weird this show is, one of the major characters is a flower in human form—and she’s the key to opening the gateway to “paradise.”

It sounds like malarkey but it really casts a spell. It did for me, anyway.

Here’s the opening:

The music is, as always with Yoko Kanno, eclectic and very, very amazing and beautiful:

What I mostly remember about the show is the tone. A lot of anime—this included—is very culturally Japanese, so as an American, you start out watching and it’s like, “What the hell is this?”

But it has a certain a longing and melancholy that makes it irresistible.

Given that this is also the secret of Cowboy Bebop—it’s about family and belonging—I am pretty sure this is the work of Keiko Nobumoto.

She died of esophageal cancer. She was only 57. Sigh.

Also, Michael Nesmith passed away, from the Monkees. They were before my time and I can’t add to anything that’s been written.

But I did want to mention that I was in business with Nesmith...sort of. We licensed the Days of Heaven soundtrack from his company, Pacific Arts Entertainment, as they had put out the LP in 1978 and still had the rights. (We then expanded it into a 2CD set with Paramount Pictures.) They didn’t get too deep into soundtracks, but for some reason, they did this one, back in the day.

This is a genius-level Ennio Morricone score, which I hope people pick up!

I had nothing to do with Nesmith personally, but it seemed like a small company (which had more of a history than I realized).


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