Yoko Kanno & TikToker Maya Collaborate on Cowboy Bebop’s Blue

Although Cowboy Bebop aired over 25 years ago, one of the most enduring elements from that anime is Yoko Kanno’s soundtrack. It’s focus on jazz, along with an eclectic mix of other genres including blues, bossa nova, rock and J-pop meshed well with the anime’s contents to make the overall package a memorable one.

Even in a heavy-hitting soundtrack, some pieces hit harder than others. One obvious example would be the opening theme “Tank”. But you can also say the same for “Blue” which shone through Mai Yamane’s soulful delivery and elevated the final scene with Spike and his finger gun gesture into one of the most iconic anime moments of all time.

And now, the song gets a second wind, albeit as a song for a Honda commercial which seizes on the sense of liberation through movement as its primary motif. The song follows suit: in place of Mai Yamane helming the vocals, we have Maya, a singer who got her start on TikTok (don’t confuse he with Maaya Sakamoto!). Maya’s rendition is less melancholic but is still stirring as it retains the longing for freedom.

If you’re keen to listen to the full rendition, here it is on Yoko Kanno’s official YouTube channel:

Yoko Kanno had this to say about the project overall:

“Even after 25 years, the longing for freedom never leaves us. With Maya’s voice as a new set of wings, the song continues to soar even higher, even deeper, into the blue. The imagery Mr. Daichi Yasuda [the Honda commercial director] explores is an invitation to a journey for eternity.”

And Maya enjoyed her chance to work with Yoko Kanno, saying:

“I’m beyond honored and happy to announce the release of a song that features my voice. In a world where it can sometimes be very challenging to feel “free,” I sang my heart out in hopes of bringing freedom to as many people as possible. The recording session with Ms. Yoko Kanno was a learning experience for me, and a very inspirational one. As a young artist who is just starting out, I cherish and treasure every moment spent with Ms. Kanno, who I admire so much.”


Anime Instrumentality's Founder and Editor-in-Chief. As you can probably guess, I'm a big anime music junkie with a special love for composers who've put out some beautiful melodies to accompany some of my favorite anime series. I tend to gravitate towards music in the classical style with Joe Hisaishi and Yoko Kanno being a few of my favorite composers, but I've come to appreciate jazz and rock as anime music has widened my tastes.

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