That’s right. The Cowboy Bebop Live-Action series is finally airing on Netflix and the fans can rejoice. The live-action adaptation of the iconic anime series of the same name has been a long-requested project. The fans of the anime wanted to get a live-action series for so long… But now that it’s here, what’s the verdict? Is the hype for the series justified? Can Netflix pull another smash hit series after Squid Game? Let’s find out. But first…
Cowboy Bebop Live-Action Series: What’s It All About?
Developed by André Nemec, written by Christopher Yost and with John Cho in the lead role, Cowboy Bebop is a live-action series on Netflix. Which is obviously and adaptation of the iconic Japanese anime series with the same name. Set in the year 2071, the series focuses on the adventures of a ragtag group of bounty hunters chasing down criminals across the Solar System on the Bebop spaceship. John Cho portrays Spike Spiegel, Mustafa Shakir is Jet Black, Daniella Pineda is Faye Valentine, while Elena Satine occupies the role of Julia. The smart and beautiful femme fatale that has a complicated past with Spike. On and let’s not forget Alex Hassell in the role of Vicious. Spike’s power-hungry nemesis.
The Cowboy Bebop Live-Action Series premieres today on Netflix and you can expect 10 full episodes of the first season. But the thing is the series was announced back in 2017. The very next year Netflix picked up the series and the rest is history. But it’s also worth pointing out that this is not the first anime adaptation I get to write about. Just this week I wrote about the One Piece live-action series that’s also hitting Netflix, but in 2022. Check out that piece here. Not that long ago I wrote about One Punch Man (check it out here) and last year about the film adaptation of Dragon Ball Z. Which you can read again by clicking here.
Cool Anime And Even Cooler Games
While we have plenty of great games to choose from, we don’t currently have Cowboy Bebop here at IndieGala. Sorry guys. But you can check out the amazing games from the Dragon Ball series. Check them out here. And of course the One Piece series. They’re available for purchase here. Not to mention the ever-popular One Punch Man Series that is constantly on our best-sellers list. It’s available here. But if you’re not particularly interested in anime projects, perhaps some of our current sales will broaden your horizons. Our Raw Fury sale is currently one of our finest. And so is our Frontier-Developments sale. It’s available here. But back to the topic at hand… Cowboy Bebop.
What’s So Special About Cowboy Bebop?
Yup. Before we dive into the brand new live-action series, let’s take a closer look at the original project. The acclaimed anime series Cowboy Bebop. Created and animated by Sunrise, Cowboy Bebop was a critical and commercial success both in Japanese and international markets. The series premiered in Japan on TV Tokyo from April 3 to June 26, 1998. And originally only twelve episodes got air time due to its controversial adult-themed content (OK and one special). But it was a huge success nonetheless. The series received unanimous praise for its style, characters, story, voice acting, animation, and soundtrack. Furthermore, the English dub was particularly lauded and is regarded by some as one of the best English anime dubs ever.
Cowboy Bebop Live-Action: A Cool Mix Of Genres
And it’s a truly beautiful mix of genres. It really is. Cowboy Bebop imbues science fiction with motifs of film noir and classic westerns. Its greatest strength is its ability to blend distinct genres into a uniquely dynamic and complementary style.
Not to mention, back in 1998, Japanese critic Keith Rhee highlighted the series as a standout in an otherwise “run-of-the-mill” season. And let’s not forget the series has been subject to study and analysis since its debut, with the main focus being on its style and mixture of genres. So, whether that be space aliens, giant robots, or laser guns. Think about it. We wouldn’t have Firefly and even Cowboys & Aliens if it wasn’t for Cowboy Bebop.
And yes. Plenty of today’s filmmakers in Hollywood are heavily influenced by Cowboy Bebop. Aside from Jon Favreau and Joss Whedon that is. For instance, the director Rian Johnson has cited Cowboy Bebop as a visual influence on plenty of his films. Most notably in his movie Brick, but on Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Also, Orson Scott Card states that the series is “better than most sci-fi films out there“, which no one argues, to be honest. But… Is the adaptation actually good?
And Does The Cowboy Bebop Live-Action Series Lives Us To The Expectations Of The Fans?
Well, not really. The initial reviews of the first seasons range from mixed to very poor. With many critics pointing out that the showrunners tried to emulate and replicate the original anime series way too much. So much so that the soul and joy out of the series have been left out in the process. And we’re left with a superficial, empty husk of a series. But hold one. Some media outlets like IGN, The Rolling Stone Magazine and even ComicBookMovie.com actually praised the series. Yes, that’s also true. But the general consensus is that it ultimately falls flat as both an adaptation and as its own work. Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop doesn’t really live up to its iconic and beloved anime predecessor and yes. The streaming service can’t really replicate the success of Squid Game.
It Had Problems From The Start
Much like plenty of projects that had production schedules during the COVID-19 pandemic, the production of Cowboy Bebop was shut down over and over again. Also, the production on “Cowboy Bebop” was shut down for many more months after Cho tore his ACL. The injury resulted in months of physical therapy, but he made it through. And speaking of John Cho, there was a huge uproar about his casting decision. Huge controversy I might add. Most of the criticism is still going towards his age, so all of the bad press he got was stemming mostly from ageism. Hey men get it too. Not just the women in Hollywood. The actor is in his late 40’s (he’s 49) and he’s portraying a character that’s twice his age (Spike is around 27). However, we now see that the backlash was very much underserved, as John’s performance is one of the few great things in Netflix’s series.
Jon Cho’s Age: An Issue For The Fans?
For some, it really is to this day. But this is what he has to say about it. “The biggest fear that I had was I was too old. I knew people were gonna have issues with my age. And I had to get over it. I’m not a person who says age is just a number or whatever. It was gonna be harder — physically. And I was gonna look different than a 25-year-old guy,” “First of all, I couldn’t have done it when I was 27,” Cho said.
“I mean, maybe I would’ve been better suited athletically, but in terms of my discipline, I am strangely better suited at this age. I don’t think I would’ve done justice to the emotional depth we tried to give Spike. There’s always a trade-off. What young men are typically best at as actors is rage.
And that might’ve been a more pronounced element in the character. What I’m better at, being older, is showing weakness and vulnerability and love. Those things are more accessible to me. Personally, I’d prefer the version I’m able to do now. That’s my taste.” said the actor about his involvement in the series. But the question remains…
Are You Gonna Watch The Cowboy Bebop Live-Action Series?
Are YOU hyped about it? What’s your take on the adaptation? And feel free to let us know what’s the most you love about the original anime series? Hit that comment section and let us know. We’d love to know all about it.