Cowboy Bebop: Spike Spiegel – Character Profile

Spike Gun

Background

Spike once worked for the Red Dragon Syndicate, a major criminal organization on Mars. However, for as hardened a man as Spike was, love changes a man. He fell hard for a smoky woman by the name of Julia. He cared for her so much that Spike even promised to abandon the syndicate for good. There was one catch though: Julia was a member too and dating Vicious, the violent head enforcer of the Red Dragon Syndicate. Spike and Julia devised a plan to elope, but Vicious caught wind of it and shot it all to hell. Now Julia lives in hiding while Spike wanders the solar system in search of his next bounty.

Personality

Spike smoking

 

While maybe Spike was a bit colder in his past, he’s loosened up a bit in recent years. Spoke carries himself without a care in the world, happily swiping groceries from expectant mothers without a hint of shame. In fact, one could say that careless attitude is true in the most literal sense: he genuinely is without any care whatsoever. He sheds no tears when he realizes it’s time to settle his score with Vicious. He ambles into the church, ready for a fight, but also not particularly minding if these are his last moments among the living. Life or death, it doesn’t matter. Either’s good.

But don’t let that demeanor fool you. Underneath that façade beats a heart of… well “gold” is probably too rich, but we assure you there’s some lesser precious metal in his core. He’d never admit it, but there was no way he’d let his soon-to-be pet Corgi Ein fall to his death. When Spike guessed the trucker VT’s true name and won all the money she’d accumulated over the years playing her game, he only took enough to recoup his losses from his previous guesses. He’s not someone anyone would want to bring home to their parents, but Spike isn’t without his code of honor.

Relationships

Cowboy Bebop group gang

 

Spike isn’t the kind of guy who keeps a lot of friends, but if he had to claim one, it’d be his original partner on the Bebop, Jet Black. Generally, Spike goes off and does his own thing, but Jet is there nagging Spike to look out for himself like an overbearing mother. But at the very least, they’ve been together since the beginning of their bounty hunting careers. That accounts for something, anyway. Even when Jet tries to distance himself from Spike when it’s clear Spike’s heading for his death, Jet can’t help himself but go save Spike.

 

Spife and Faye

 

Otherwise, it’s hard to say if Spike cares all that much about the rest of the Bebop crew. Though he saved Ein, Spike didn’t want to take care of a dog. He’s more annoyed that he’s another mouth they have to feed. Valentine forced herself onto the crew, and while she might have a soft spot for Spike, it’s not reciprocated. To him, she’s more a naïve spoiled brat that doesn’t really understand his situation. He even tries to convince her to quit following him by explaining how he’s stuck in the past, using his fake eye as an allegory. One eye only sees a dream that he can never wake up from, and he’ll never truly be happy.

Impact

Spike finger gun good bye bang

 

Spike Spiegel is one of the only successful portrayals of a film noir-style protagonist in anime. He’s the sort of guy who embodies a silent suffering that only comes with age and experience. Spike has seen the worst of humanity in the Red Dragon Syndicate, even taking part in it himself. Spike’s one chance at happiness was ripped from him due to the jealousy of a friend, and he roams around totally broken. He may somehow be more relevant now than he was 20 years ago when Cowboy Bebop first aired. When first watched Cowboy Bebop, we latched onto Spike because he exuded cool. Now that we’ve grown older, we understand him a little more, because we too have finally gained some real-life experience.