Spike Spiegel (affectionately called "lunkhead" by his partner Jet Black
) is the main character of Cowboy Bebop. He was born in 2044 on Mars and soon became a member of the Red Dragon crime syndicate with his friend, Vicious. After many years of working together, something happened that changed their standing on each other. Spike had went out on a mission and while returning to the base, accidently walked into another gang's territory. This caused a shootout to occur between Spike and the gang, which led to him being injured. He walked out into the streets hoping to find help before he fainted and eventually found Vicious's girlfriend, Julia. She took Spike in and helped him recover. They started to spend time with each other after the incident and then began a secret relationship. Spike claimed that Julia was the part of him that he was looking for all his life, putting her over his friendship with Vicious. Soon after, Spike asks Julia to run away with him, both of them leaving the syndicate and their life behind to begin a new one.
At the same time, Vicious finds out about the affair and confronts Julia, telling her that she must kill Spike or else both of them will be hunted by the syndicate. Julia tells Spike this situation and he decides that the only way their relationship can work is if he fakes his death and then they both run away forever. Spike tells her to meet him at a graveyard after he is finished faking his death and then departs. He gets into a shootout with a rival gang in a church and then appears to have died, but secretly leaves and heads to the graveyard. He waits there for awhile and then realizes that Julia was not going to show up and must have run away herself. Years past and Spike begins a new life as a cowboy (bounty hunters are referred to as this in the series) on-board the Bebop
, a spaceship owned by his new partner, Jet. He travels the solar system in search of criminals in order to make money. He is also (rather reluctantly) accompanied by con-woman, Faye Valentine
, a 13-year-old-girl super-hacker, Edward
, and data dog Ein. He initially resents his new crewmates, but grows fond of them. Spike is proficient with many firearms, but prefers to use his Jericho 941 pistol. He is a skilled pugilist, and specializes in Jeet Kune Do. He is also good as a mechanic and pilots the Swordfish II, which he has show to be quite adapt with, managing to take out several other ships during the course of the series.
Spike is always seen as a laid back sort of guy, never worrying about anything and always having a sarcastic comment ready for anyone. He also constantly smokes everywhere and always have a pack of cigarettes with him, even if there is a "No Smoking" sign in the area. He claims that he died on the day that Julia and him left the syndicate and says that now he is living in a dream he can't wake up from and that the only thing that can wake him up from it is death, which is similar to the way ancient samurais once thought about life. This is also due to the fact that he has a fake cybernetic eye in place of his right one, which he says to have lost in an accident. After getting this eye, Spike said that he could only see the present in it and his left eye can only see the past, making reality seem like a dream. Spike also seems to hide his real emotions and instead acts cruel to the people he really cares about, maybe due to him not wanting them to get too close to him and then have their life in danger if the Red Dragon ever track him down.
This is proven true when Vicious comes back into Spike's life several times during the series. After Vicious sets up and kills his and Spike's formal teacher, Mao Yenrai, Spike finds out that Vicious is trying to lure him out of hiding by having a big bounty on Mao. Faye instead sets out to find Mao at the coordinates they were given, but instead is kidnapped by Vicious and held hostage until Spike comes to save her. Spike goes alone to the church where she is being held and has a shootout with the Red Dragon. Faye escapes, while Spike confronts and fights Vicious. The fight ends with Spike being thrown out a stain glass window by Vicious, but not before dropping a grenade, causing the entire top of the church to explode. Vicious disappears and Spike is saved by Faye and taken back to the Bebop to recover.
They meet again on Callisto after Spike gets a lead that Julia was on the planet. This instead turns out to be a codename for the drug deal that Vicious had set up with a former ally, Gren. Vicious attempts to kill Gren after the drug deal, but fails and trys to escape, only to have Spike and Gren chase him and begin an air battle. Vicious shoots down Gren's ship, forcing Spike to go save him and allow Vicious to retreat, having their duel end in a draw once again.
At the end of the series, Spike is attacked by the Red Dragon, who have ordered Spike, Julia, and Vicious to be sentenced to death due to their betrayals. Vicious is captured after his attempt to execute the leaders of the Red Dragon and is scheduled as the first to be killed. At the execution, some of Vicious's men betray the rest of the Red Dragon and free him, allowing him to kill the elders and become the new leader of the syndicate. Meanwhile, Julia is found by Faye, who tells her to give a message to Spike that she will wait for him at the place where he told her to go. Faye tells Spike this news and he sets off to the graveyard, where he told Julia to wait for him many years ago. They confront each other and decide to continue their original plan to run away with each other, but Julia is shot and killed by the Red Dragon after an ambush.
Spike returns to the Bebop afterwards and has a final meal with Jet, explaining his situation and that he must face it head on, unlike Jet who let his past die and decided not to pursue it. While leaving, Spike is confronted by Faye, who tells him to stay and give up trying to correct his past. He explains to her that he has to do it and she asks him why he wants to give his life away to which he replies, "I'm not going there to die. I'm going there to see if I am really alive." Spike then sets off to his ship, while Faye crys and shoots her gun into the air, feeling completely helpless.
Spike arrives at the Red Dragon headquarters and storms inside, killing many members of the syndicate on his way up. He is found by Shin, who recently betrayed the Red Dragon to help out Spike. He leads Spike to an elevator which will bring him to Vicious. While opening the door, Shin is gunned down by a Red Dragon member and dies. Spike kills the man and then proceeds to the top floor to finally put his past to rest. He finally confronts Vicious and the two of them get into a duel. They exchange blows simultaneously and knock each other's weapons from their hands with Spike's gun landing by Vicious and Vicious's sword landing by Spike. Spike tells Vicious that Julia is dead and that they must finish their fight here to finally put an end to their 3 year battle. They slide each other's weapons back and both do a final attack. Vicious is shot in the chest and dies instantly, while Spike seems to have been slashed in the stomach by Vicious (although freeze frames claim that Vicious instead slices the ground, as if he wanted to be killed). Spike looks into the sky and reflects on Julia's last words to him and then departs to the stairs where a group of Red Dragon are waiting. They lower their weapons as their new leader walks down the stairs. Spike suddenly stops and looks up to them, as he forms a gun with his right hand. He smirked and then mutters the word, "Bang" before collapsing on the stairs. The camera pans out into the sky, while the song "Blue" begins to play and the credits start to roll.
It is unknown what the fate of Spike is after this scene. There are many theories that he died after the battle or that he could still be alive. The creator of the series, Shinichiro Watanabe, has said that he never claimed Spike dead or alive, but his fate will remain undecided and he lets it up to the viewer to decide what happens next.
Spike is rumoured to be modeled after the late Japanese actor Yusaku Matsuda from his role in the film Tantei Monogatari. It is also clear that his character design was based on Lupin III, as they share the same style of clothing (both normally are shown wearing a blue leisure suit with a yellow shirt underneath and the boots they wear are the same) and a love for chain-smoking. Western-drawn influence is evident in Spike's character design, most notably his long leaning posture and body language which mirrors that of Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" character. In the first episode of the anime series Spike is seen in wide-brimmed hat and a poncho, a clear nod to Eastwood's protagonist in "Man With No Name".
Spike's weapon of choice is a Jercho 941 double action/single action, semi-automatic pistol. The Baby Eagle/Jericho 941
is a double action/single Action
, semi-automatic pistol developed by Israel Weapon Industries
and introduced to the market in 1990 as the Jericho 941
. He is also seen using a shotgun in the final episode of the series and is pretty good with handling nunchucks.
"Whatever happens, happens."
"Jet, do you know that there are three things I particularly hate? Kids. Animals. And women with attitudes. So, tell me Jet...why do we have all three of them neatly gathered in our ship?"
"Hunger is the best spice, they say."
"I'm a man that died once already."
"I'm not going there to die, I'm going to find out if I'm really alive."
"Look at my eyes, Faye. One of them is a fake because I lost it in an accident. Since then, I've been seeing the past in one eye and the present in the other. So, I thought I could only see patches of reality, never the whole picture. I felt like I was watching a dream I could never wake up from. Before I knew it, the dream was over."
"Most things get better when I kick them...."
"There was a woman, first time I'd found someone who was truly alive. At least, that's what I thought. She was... the part of me I'd lost somewhere along the way, the part that was missing, that I'd been longing for."
"Uh, listen Jet. You said "bell peppers and beef." There's no beef in here. So you wouldn't really call it "bell peppers and beef," now would you?"
"I'm not a criminal. Oh, that makes me seem even more like a criminal, doesn't it?"
"Just a humble bounty hunter, ma'am."
"I love a woman who can kick my ass."
"That's the story. And what was the real lesson? Don't leave things in the fridge."
"There once was a tiger-striped cat. This cat died a million deaths, revived and lived a million lives, and he was owned by various people who he really didn't care for. The cat wasn't afraid to die. Then one day the cat became a stray cat which meant he was free. He met a white female cat & the two of them spent their days together happily. Well, years passed and the white cat grew weak and died of old age. The tiger-striped cat cried a million times and then he died too. Except this time, he didn't come back to life."
Spike is voiced by Steve Blum.