reibureibu’s review published on Letterboxd:
The decision to slot this plot-wise in-between episodes 22 and 23 is a smart one, because by placing it in the middle but after the characters have a rapport with one another, you kind of get "peak Bebop gang" and in many ways that's really what the show is about. Placing the movie after the series would have made the ending of the show feel cheapened and lose a lot of its bittersweetness, and placing it before the series would have been interesting but without the balance that Faye and Ed bring to the group (and no adorable Ein either!). In this sense, I'd like to see more anime movies that do a similar thing of essentially being just another episode (albeit a very long one) of the series.
One of the biggest complains this movie gets is the pacing, and it definitely drags a little in the middle. I do welcome the overall change in pace though, as the slower, more meditative approach to things the Bebop crew takes here really feels like it showcases a different side to their humanity that we don't see as often in the show. I liked just seeing the sights around Mars, the shots of the the characters walking among the crowds, the panning shots of the scenery while they think about what they should do. For the first time in the show, it feels like you're on vacation with them and you're just taking it all in.
In a lot of ways, it's almost less what this movie is than what it represents. By placing it towards the end of the series and not after nor before, it's emblematic of the golden age that is Cowboy Bebop. Watching it gives me an incredible feeling of nostalgia, and not just of when I was younger; it makes you really pine for this future-past world that the series takes place in, that somehow all your worries would be gone here but you still have mementos of your life that once was.
There's so much more I could say about this movie but it won't add anything that people haven't already said. If you're a fan of the series, I highly recommend going in. It's a great reunion of the crew you've grown to love without cheapening their story towards the end of the series, and that bittersweet melancholy the show wields with deft hands is fully realized here in this movie. God I miss the Bebop gang...