Three recurring characters on the Cowboy Bebop anime show helped inspire an equally beloved recurring character in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
A Avatar, the last airbender character was partly inspired by Cowboy bebop. The popular Japanese anime, Cowboy bebop, originally aired in 1998 and 1999 and aired a few years later in the US. Cowboy bebop It consists of 26 episodes and falls into the niche genre of neo-noir space western. Bebop revolutionized anime and became one of the most acclaimed anime shows of all time. It’s no wonder, then, that the show was a favorite of Avatar showrunners Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko and that they would like to pay tribute to three of their favorites Bebop characters.
In Bebop, three old men (named Antonio, Carlos and Jobim after Brazilian musician Antônio Carlos Jobim) appear regularly, meeting the Bebop crew on various planets in at least eight episodes, though they never seem to remember each other. The old three are often a comic relief within the surrounding action and became the favorites of DiMartino and Konietzko. Due to their love for the three elders, DiMartino and Konietzko had a similar character appear four times in Avatar.
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In the book Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Art of the Animated Series, written by Konietzko and DiMartino, it is revealed that the recurring appearances of the cabbage merchant (aka the cabbage man) in Avatar They were inspired by the three old men of Cowboy bebop. Konietzko writes:
The cabbage merchant became an unlikely recurring character … We thought it was a bit silly at first that he conveniently appeared wherever the gang was. But we always loved the three old men who kept appearing on various planets in one of our favorite series, Cowboy Bebop, so we got used to the idea.
Although Antonio, Carlos, and Jobim did not directly inspire the cabbage merchant, they did influence the decision to bring the character back after introducing him in Avatar Season 1, Episode 5, “The King of Omashu”. The cabbage merchant appears in the Earth Kingdom a total of four times in Avatar season 1 and season 2. All four times, their cabbages and / or cabbage cart are destroyed: once by the Earthbenders in Omashu, once by Aang in a small Earth Kingdom town, then at a Kingdom checkpoint. Land for a platypus bear, and finally an escaped rabaroo in Ba Sing Se. The first three times, the cabbage merchant responds with an agonized exclamation: “My cabbages!“Last time, he starts saying his catchphrase, but stops and tosses a cabbage over his shoulder, saying,”Oh forget it.“
The Cabbage Merchant is a fan-favorite recurring character on Avatar, the last airbender and has inspired fan artists and cosplayers since the show first aired in 2005. Although his appearances, and the appearances of the three old men in Cowboy bebop – It doesn’t seem to follow any logic, the reward was worth the risk of Konietzko and DiMartino taking on a prank involving an unfortunate merchant and his beloved cabbages.
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