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On December 10, 2020, Toonami announced that they would be airing a Cowboy Bebop Marathon on December 26, 2020, in lieu of regular programming.
“As the saying goes, there’s no better way to celebrate the holidays than with Toonami and some fugitives in space! Toonami’s giving you the gift of a Cowboy Bebop marathon on December 26th, starting at midnight!“
Toonami would normally air a marathon of one of the current series running on the block but this year, many may be unaware why they decided to go with a Cowboy Bebop marathon this time around. The winner of the Toonami Audience Takeover Bracket stream, Kevin Moncayo (@coolkevin54), Founder and Creator of Swimpedia, got an opportunity to program and handpick the episodes for a Toonami Marathon as a prize for winning the Toonami Bracket.
We got the opportunity to sit down and talk with Kevin, here’s what we had to talk about:
Joshua Mathieu – “Hi Kevin, thanks for taking the time to talk to us about this amazing opportunity that many Toonami fans have dreamed about doing! First, why don’t you tell us who you are and what is it you do exactly?”
Kevin Moncayo – “Hey! So my name is Kevin Moncayo and I was the winner of the Toonami Audience Takeover Bracket from the Adult Swim Streams. Ultimately, I have my hands in a little bit of everything, but my focus on the internet has been in historically archiving communities like Adult Swim. This has expanded into Swimpedia as a whole, which now reports on relevant news for Adult Swim, Toonami, and everything in between, and has even consulted with Toonami Squad recently as more of a partnership. Although I likely would have watched the Toonami Audience Takeover Bracket anyways, it’s my involvement as a reporter for Swimpedia that kept me glued to my screen in case news broke, such as the potential for a marathon.”
JM – “Tell us, how did you feel when you won the Toonami Bracket and got the opportunity to program a lineup for the block? What was going through your mind?”
KM – “So, my experience with the Toonami Audience Takeover Bracket was a little rocky to say the least. I never expected to win, it really was just for fun, I even made a mistake on my bracket in the process by accident. But then, on the second to last episode of the show, they announced the current rankings of the top three, with a friend, 0215MADman, in first place–I wasn’t in the rankings at all. I was completely shocked because 0215MADman and I were discussing our brackets week to week and I knew I was doing better. Almost in a panic, I reached out to Max Simonet, who was the host of the show, and I explained the situation. I guess my bracket hadn’t been counted for some reason, but we quickly realized that I was actually in first place even if my final match up was incorrect, and he planned to announce my win as a “twist” during the finale. With that said, I didn’t want to publicly say anything just yet in case something changed, but when he finally announced it, it was beyond amazing. At that point, a marathon wasn’t even a sure thing; I was really just happy to have won, endless time nerding out over what people may or may not vote for paying off. Then, for a little while there were talks of other lesser prizes, which I still would have happily accepted, but soon after, someone from Adult Swim reached out about a marathon and I think that’s when everything really sunk in that I would be leaving my mark on Toonami history.”
JM – “What episodes of Cowboy Bebop did you pick and was there any reason why you picked those particular episodes?”
KM – “Interestingly, my marathon was originally going to be on Thanksgiving weekend, but that changed when Toonami added the marathon of Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal. I bring this up because I was originally asked to schedule a marathon of six Cowboy Bebop episodes, not seven, due to the scheduling of Toonami that day. The following is my marathon when I was told it would be happening Christmas weekend instead, with seven episodes, the episode that I added after the fact being “Toys in the Attic” as third:
12:00 Cowboy Bebop HD: Ballad of Fallen Angels
12:30 Cowboy Bebop HD: Ganymede Elegy
1:00 Cowboy Bebop HD: Toys in the Attic
1:30 Cowboy Bebop HD: My Funny Valentine
2:00 Cowboy Bebop HD: Black Dog Serenade
2:30 Cowboy Bebop HD: Speak like a Child
3:00 Cowboy Bebop HD: Hard Luck Woman
Nevertheless, as I imagine many recognize, Cowboy Bebop is a legendary anime, thus the idea of planning a marathon for it may be a daunting experience, and it was. My process consisted of considering my own tastes, consulting Cowboy Bebop superfans that I was familiar with, and analyzing previous Adult Swim Cowboy Bebop marathons, of which there have technically been four prior to mine. Concepts that first came to mind were a best of marathon or a Spike themed marathon, both of which have been done already, as far back as 2002. So, I quickly decided just to do a marathon of my favorite episodes, but I still wanted a theme to tie everything together and I didn’t want to do any of the two-parters as to not limit my choices–these have also been overplayed in both marathons and in general anyways. With my passion for horror, I first considered a marathon of the creepier episodes, like “Pierrot Le Fou,” but ultimately there just weren’t enough episodes to do this. Then, a friend later recommended a marathon where characters were dealing with their pasts. I really liked this idea because not only were some of my favorite episodes character-focused in this way, but the concept was basically the opposite of a Spike focused night. Thus, I specifically curated episodes where the crew was the focus, not Spike–I simply gave his main story arc the first slot, so that he was included as a member of the crew, but then gave everyone else’s stories the rest of the time. The marathon would then end on “Hard Luck Woman,” with Ed and Ein’s departure serving as not only the end of the marathon, but the end of the crew’s story.
Later, when I needed to add one more episode, I had exhausted my favorite episodes in the theme I described, so I decided to instead include my favorite episode where the crew is just together having a good time, in this case “Toys in the Attic.” I think this ultimately gave my marathon more depth, as now the first two episodes focused on the original crew, just Spike and Jet, then you get to experience the crew as a whole for an episode that isn’t necessarily serious, only to go more in depth into the crew as a whole later with Spike playing more of a supporting role. Lastly, I specifically liked the idea “Speak like a Child” followed by “Hard Luck Woman,” as these, in a way, are a hidden two-parter, but you’d never see them get played back-to-back. All in all, it’s a marathon about the past issues and hardships we’ve all faced, yet, with the support of our chosen families and friends, we can work towards overcoming anything–a perfect marathon for Christmas or to end this crazy year on. Then, in the end, this idea, and the final episode of the marathon, inspired what I title my marathon, Kevin’s Cowboy Bebop “Hard Luck Family” Marathon.”
JM – “Are the episodes going to be airing in the order you picked them or are they going to be airing at random or did AS decide the order they would air?”
KM – “Thankfully, Adult Swim gave me complete freedom in scheduling this marathon, so I was able to choose both the episodes and order. Originally, when the marathon was Thanksgiving weekend, it seemed that they wanted to include some of the premieres, which is why my marathon was only six episodes, as it would be after those. Then, when it was moved to Christmas weekend, I was able to add another episode into the order and then hand that in.”
JM – “Out of all the episodes you picked is there one that you favor above the rest?”
KM – “Wow, this is a tough question, as it really is such a phenomenal show. Ultimately, I think my favorite episode of the bunch is “Hard Luck Woman,” as it is such an emotional culmination of the crew’s journey. It’s an interesting episode as it focuses on both women for a change and really defines how much they’ve been through up to this point. It ends up being a fantastic send off to what made the show special right before Spike’s finale, and it really left me thinking about my own bonds old and new. With all that said, I have to give a shout out to “Ballad of Fallen Angels” which is a close second, and arguably most people’s favorite standalone episode–another reason why I wanted to start the marathon off with it. This is such a tight episode that balances both action and emotion, and it’s when I’d bet many people truly fell in love with the show.”
JM – “Did you know ahead of time when Toonami would be airing the marathon or was that kept under wraps until it was announced?”
KM – “Initially, I didn’t even know whether I’d get a marathon at all. When Kim Manning was on the Toonami Audience Takeover Bracket, the idea was very much a “we’ll see” situation, although luckily Cowboy Bebop won, which they had the rights to air. The only known prize was actually a Makasu body pillow that Max was going to get made. This didn’t end up being my prize though, because I actually won one during the Gemusetto Re-Watchu Picchu on the Adult Swim Streams, where the first five people to finish Max’s Gemusetto themed game got one. Thanks to this, 0215MADman didn’t have to walk away empty handed, as he now got the Makasu body pillow for second place. Nevertheless, once I actually won the Toonami Audience Takeover Bracket, it became very much wait and see, and luckily it worked out. Yet, since it was just between me and the Adult Swim representative, I kept it quiet until it was officially announced, except when talking to some friends about it.”
JM – “Did you know ahead of time when Toonami/AS would make public the announcement of the Cowboy Bebop Marathon?”
KM – “I actually had no idea, since I only spoke with the Adult Swim representative, who only had a direct connection to programming, not necessarily social media or Toonami employees. Additionally, given the track record of the Toonami Facebook, I didn’t necessarily expect them to list the schedule, but I did assume they would post about the marathon in general during early December. This gave me a timeline to commission a schedule graphic so that Swimpedia could make the announcement, thus ultimately having the exclusive.
Swimpedia’s own @coolkevin54 got to program a marathon of Cowboy Bebop after having the winning bracket on the Toonami Audience Takeover Bracket stream. Tune in for the lineup on Saturday, December 26th from midnight to 3:30 AM! pic.twitter.com/tjh63tAtXO
— [swimpedia] (@swimpedia) December 11, 2020
JM – “Was it hard to sit and keep silent about winning and programming the marathon?”
KM – “It was a wild ride waiting for Toonami to officially announce my Cowboy Bebop marathon, especially with the addition of the marathon for Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal and the mishap with the bracket results. First, I had to keep quiet about the results changing since it wasn’t official and was going to be some sort of “twist.” Then, I had to keep quiet about the marathon happening on Thanksgiving weekend, only for it to be rescheduled. Finally, it was just a short wait before the Christmas marathon announcement happened and the weight was off my shoulders. When the graphic was out and the community was reacting, it was such a relief and a lot of fun.”
JM – “Is there anything else you would like to add or say before we finish up?”
KM – “Altogether, I am incredibly honored for this opportunity from Max, Sara, Kim, and the Adult Swim Streams as a whole, I can’t thank them enough. It’s incredibly historical for a long-time fan like myself to get the opportunity to schedule anything on Toonami. I grew up with anime so interwoven into my childhood that I didn’t even know the difference between American and Japanese animation early on–it was all just amazing television to me. At the end of the day, I can only hope that more opportunities like this arise, as Toonami is so connected to its fans, and they deserve to have a direct voice like this again if possible.”
JM – “Would you like to tell the people where they can find you and check your work out at?”
KM – “Currently, my main baby is Swimpedia, which works together with fantastic groups like Toonami Squad and CN Schedules to get fans the latest Adult Swim news. We’ve even worked with, and been supported by, Adult Swim creators and staff, so definitely something to check out. If that interests you, please follow us on Twitter, and check out our website, which has every Adult Swim schedule from 2001 to present, along with the December 2000 stealth premieres that are being celebrated right now. We are hoping to expand in 2021, both in our partnerships and our site, which will have even more amazing Adult Swim goodies we’ve been working on. Oh, we also have a YouTube channel that was started back in January 2020, so it contains nearly every new Adult Swim bump and promo from this year, and we plan to continue this into 2021!
JM – “Thank you again Kevin for taking the time to talk with us and congratulations on getting such a great opportunity!”
KM – “Thank you so much for giving me the platform to explain this situation and to go on about my marathon. Happy holidays to your team and to the Toonami community, I can’t wait to see what 2021 brings!”
And that’s it for the Q&A you can catch the Cowboy Bebop marathon this Saturday, December 26, 2020, from Midnight – 3:00 am E/T!
Where does Cowboy Bebop rank among your favorite shows in Toonami’s line up over the years? What are your top favorite episodes of Cowboy Bebop? Are you excited to see it return to the block for a holiday marathon? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and on our social media pages!