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Spike Spiegel
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Background/History:
Spike is a man without a past. Not that he doesn't have a past, but that he won't speak of it, and pretty much acts as if he doesn't have one. We catch glimpses of this past in several episodes of Cowboy Bebop, with the common images being of a gunfight (with Spike hiding an SMG in a bouquet of flowers) and of Spike staggering along looking wounded. A blonde woman figures prominently in these flashbacks, as well as Vicious and a rainy day.

The truth is Spike used to be a gangster, a soldier working for the Red Dragon Syndicate. A rough guess of his former life goes like this:

Spike and Vicious were in the Red Dragons together. They were close friends, and fought in many battles as a team. At some point, Spike was critically wounded in a fight (one presumes a gunfight). He staggered away to find shelter and help, and collapsed at the feet of a beautiful blonde-haired woman. This woman was Julia, the girlfriend of Vicious. She patched Spike up and nursed him back to health. In the process, the two fell in love. Later, Spike decided he wanted out of the Red Dragons and made plans with Julia for the two of them to leave. He gave Julia a note with instructions and then left (in the rain) to say his farewells.

Hiding his submachine gun in a bouquet of flowers, Spike gunned down a number of Red Dragon personal and set of an explosive charge of some sort. He was wounded (again) but managed to get away. Meanwhile, Vicious visited Julia and asked if she (Julia) planned to betray him (Vicious). He also gave her a pistol to kill Spike with when they met up later that day. Julia, for her part, tore-up Spike's note and fled, leaving both Spike and Vicious. Spike fled as well, although another flashback seems to indicate he lost an eye in the fight and had it replaced with an artificial one.

As the main character, Spike is in every episode of Cowboy Bebop, from Asteroid Blues to The Real Folk Blues Part 2. Along the way, he clashes with Vicious twice, in Ballad of Fallen Angels and Jupiter Jazz Parts 1 and 2. Finally, in Episode 25, The Real Folk Blues Part 1, Spike meets up with Julia, only to have her die at the hands of a Red Dragon gunman. Spike then returns to the Bebop, arms himself appropriately, and in Episode 26, The Real Folk Blues Part 2 finally kills Vicious, before dying of his own wounds.

Personality/Motivation:
Spike likes to try and keep a cool exterior -- and does for the most part -- but underneath he's quite hot-blooded and impulsive. He likes action and adventure, and won't back down from a fight. He tends to take risks and chances, and is always pushing himself, or his ship, the Swordfish II. However, Spike does have the physical skills to pull off many of the stunts he tries, so one can excuse his reckless nature.

An important element of Spike's attitude can be found in one of his quotes: "I'm a man who's died one already." That, coupled with his comments about watching a dream (as well as comments about how his left [original] eyes sees the past and his right [replacement eye] sees the future) seems to indicate that Spike isn't sure if he's alive or dead. His risk-taking and unconstrained nature may be his way of reassuring himself he's still alive, or, may reflect the idea that since he's already "died" one already, what's the worst that can happen to him?

Quotes:
"I'm a man who's died once already."
"I'm only watching a dream I've never awakened from."

Spike Spiegel

Powers/Tactics:
Spike is, among other things, as master of Jeet Kune Do (he practices constantly, and idolizes Bruce Lee, considering him to be his spiritual master), an excellent shot, an ace pilot, and capable of impressive feats of sleight of hand (he palms object off of and onto people repeatedly).

In a hand-to-hand fight, Spike is unmatched, except by a select few (Vicious is one of those few). He's also quite skilled with gun, and also knowledgeable about the use and placement of explosives (he uses them to his advantage several times). Depending on the foe, Spike will either go hand-to-hand or use his gun. He won't challenge a gunman to a fist fight, however (he's a touch reckless, not stupid).

When fighting, Spike tends to fight to win, and will usually dodge and block attacks until he can close for a solid punch or kick. Against a group (especially an inept group) he'll sweep his kicks, taking down two or three at a time. His Spinning Kick is saved for tough foes or when he really needs to take someone down now.

Appearance:
Spike stands 6'2", with a lean but muscular build. He has a handsome face, brownish eyes that don't match in color (his artificial one appears to be redder than his left), and unkempt dark greenish hair. His typical dress is a dark blue suit jacket, dark blue pants, a yellow shirt, black tie, and boots.

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