I’ll admit I’m not very good at doing an analysis on a character, specifically one from the Bebop universe, but she is one of my favorites so I’ll try as much as I can.
The first time we see the famous Poker Alice on the move, we are immediately struck with some first impressions:
- that she’s a gambler who very well knows the ropes
- that she is cocky and confident at what she does
- that she’s a skillful con artist that can handle a machine gun
- that she dresses provocatively
Along the way we are also greeted with the image of her eating all of Jet and Spike’s food, demolishing their hangar and stealing their money. This pretty much seals the deal on the fact that she’s selfish and puts herself first before anyone. Now, a lot of fans have found this character to be extremely likable, because well, she’s pretty much one of the most bad ass characters they’ve ever come across. Others may be slightly annoyed by her constant sneakiness and bravado, some even going so far to say that she’s only made to be used as fanservice. But still, like it or not, Faye Valentine’s here to stay.
As the episodes roll on, we are met with the first duo of sessions or a sort of mini film called Jupiter Jazz, where her presence has taken a sudden turn from the Bebop to Callisto. There, we get to see a glimpse through a small crack of her facade. What’s this?! Faye Valentine actually admits that she cares? Well, it certainly is a bit off from her usual persona, but what struck me the most during her “confession” was the sarcastic tone that she used to say that she was “such a prize and all that”. All at once, I feel like I’ve finally managed to see her true form, even though I still know nothing about her. With this she openly admits that she knows the real reason so many men decide to “pursue” her, and that despite the attitude she often gives, she’s the one most aware of it’s consequences. Just like in Mish-Mash Blues, she states that she very well knows that people will run from her if she continues like this, but she’s also very aware that she doesn’t have a lot of choice in the matter.
In session 15 we finally get to hear about her origin, and all the while I’m pretty sure the most common feeling about this was surprise. Surprise at how this gambling-addicted, smoking, drinking, gun-toting femme fatale is actually a relic lost through time, having no origins, relatives, or even a memory to go with them. And then, of course, as one of the most tragically common scenarios, she’s fooled by none other than a con artist who just wants to load off his dept to a girl already drowning in them. Even though she didn’t realize the truth, this put her in such a position where she learns that being naive will set you on the prey list, and everybody will just make empty promises. So she toughens up. She learns how to use a gun and carve her own path, even though it’s not a righteous one.
But she’s also desperate. She knows she’s got a past, and really she’s just looking for something, some lost piece of herself that she’s unconsciously searching for. I suppose that really she’s commonly ordinary, just another person looking for a family. She says the most cynical and negative things about everything: romance, friendship, but that’s only because that’s all she’s ever known.
Fast forward onto session 24. After a hefty search and a quiet silence and even quieter desperation in session 18, we soon learn that she’s been going over the beta tape constantly, looking for some sort of trigger that may unlock her memories. After a somewhat comical interlude, when coming back from the ship, we are greeted with this:
This, my friends, is a face of a person who’s lost, a person who’s witnessed an old woman recognizing her as a classmate, and at the same time refers to her as ghost. With this, she is struck with the sudden realization that even though she might have a past, one that’s connected to people who are still alive, most of them have grown old, living stable lives, and having a family to take care of them, something that she lost at the age of 20. Later on, we see her still trying to find something, by running to her old house, only to find that it’s been wiped away by time.
Now I’m going to fast forward onto another scene: the somewhat ordinary and forgettable airport scene:
Some of you may question what the point of these pictures are. Well, it’s simple. After finally regaining her memories and finding her origins, even though there’s little traces left of it, even though it’s highly possible that her family might be completely gone, she’s alright. She’s content, because after all that searching, she’s finally found the missing piece to her life, and she now knows that she was cared for. And it’s obvious to say that after all the cynicism I’ve often associated with Faye Valentine, this is a refreshing turn.
One of the other scenes that define her for me is this: when she says that Faye Valentine is a very common name, all the while using a dismissive tone, as if it’s the most mundane thing out there. This pretty much mark her personality after regaining her memories: she’s tired of acting as if she’s one of the best out there, and her attitude is much more relaxed with Julia, openly revealing that she’s planning to take a break from all that. With this, I believe, she has finally put all her searching to rest, and maybe, hoping for a new start.
Now I know that a lot of you might not agree with me on this, but from my point of view, this is what happens.
I would also like to take some time to say that what definitely remains my favorite part is her polarity: she’s a woman who acts all high and mighty, who’s pretty much the “most unstable” when compared to her partners, and yet she’s also the most closed off person of them all. Spike and Jet, although not sharing their tragic pasts over a bottle of whiskey and hidden tears, have told each a part of their pasts, and have gained trust from one another. Faye, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. She goes into a deal with one hand outstretched and the other concealing a knife.
But that’s because that’s how she was taught. She woke up in a world she knew nothing about, and everywhere she turned, every promise ended in disappointment. I suppose it could be said that the outside is the opposite of the inside: for a woman who wears revealing clothes, she’s the most concealed person, never letting anyone in because she might start to care too easily and too much.
And that, ladies and gentleman, is why she’s one of the best there is.