July 28, 2012

Laughing Bull in Cowboy Bebop

Correspondent "Not Who" sent me an item about an anime and video game:In Cowboy Bebop, a wildly popular anime about a team of bounty hunters, there is a stereotypical Indian shaman-type character who appears in several episodes.

Laughing BullLaughing Bull is a nomadic Native American who occasionally helps Spike Spiegel, whom he names Swimming Bird. He lives on Mars and predicts the future for Spike. Jet has also visited him for help. Laughing Bull is shown to practice Native American customs, often making cryptic and sagacious comments or partaking in traditional rituals.

Comment:  This character looks like your standard generic wise elder or medicine man. I don't see anything distinguishing him from thousands of other fantasy Indians. Locating him in a fictional world unconnected to any land or culture only compounds the problem.

For more on Indians in video games, see Assassin's Creed 3's Native Heritage and Justin Rain in Transmedia Defiance.

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