Cowboy Bebop was and still is an acclaimed classic of an anime series, but as with a lot of shows, not a lot of people remember or appreciate the people behind the scenes who made the series what it is. One of these unsung heroes is Nobumoto Keiko, a screenwriter who wrote for several well-known and well-regarded anime. While Nobumoto recently and tragically passed away from esophageal cancer, her legacy will assuredly live on.
Having written for Cowboy Bebop, Wolf's Rain, Samurai Champloo and several other anime, Nobumoto's Keiko's work is known by Adult Swim and anime fans everywhere. Here's a look back at her career and the many great shows she helped to create.
Macross, Cowboy Bebop and Other Works of Nobumoto Keiko
Nobumoto's first credited TV work was a special titled Hiroshima ni Ichiban Densha ga Hashita, which aired in 1993. Telling the tale of a young girl whose work on a streetcar is affected by the bombing of Hiroshima, the rather low-key series has yet to be localized in any way. Nobumoto's next project, however, was infinitely more high profile. She was the writer for the jazzy space classic Cowboy Bebop -- a show known for filling the airwaves of Adult Swim, turning a generation onto anime and showing all that the medium could do.
Almost all of her other TV credits were also on Adult Swim at one point, and these include Wolf's Rain, Samurai Champloo and Space Dandy. The latter was in many ways a parody of shows like Cowboy Bebop, bringing Nobumoto full circle. The director for the series, Watanabe Shinichiro, was also the creator of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, with many fans theorizing that Space Dandy takes place in the same universe as the former. Her sole credit in the streaming era was Carole & Tuesday, which was streamed on Netflix in the West.
Most of her other credits were in the realms of anime OVAs and movies, such as Macross Plus. This OVA, which has had several revisions, helped to bring the mecha franchise into the '90s. Her only live-action credit, however, was the 1991 film World Apartment Horror. She also worked on the first two Kingdom Hearts games, meaning that her work was part of many gamers' upbringing as well.
Recurring Themes in Nobumoto Keiko's Work
Many recurring themes were present in Nobumoto's work -- namely, those of humanity, trauma, memory and melancholy. Love triangles and tarnished relationships are frequent in her shows, with definite parallels to be found between the main trio in Macross Plus and Spike, Vicious and Julia in Cowboy Bebop.
Nonetheless, as serious as things can get, Nobumoto's works were also known for their humor and goofiness. Cowboy Bebop had several episodes that reveled in being silly and funny, while Tokyo Godfathers used a similar tone to tell an optimistic story about the homeless. Together, this filmography is one that highlights the shared humanity among us all -- a message that Nobumoto Keiko will definitely be remembered by.