Cowboy Bebop When it premiered twenty years ago, it was nothing more. It was a neo-western set in space; A noir thriller with spectacular martial arts action and John U-esque shootouts; An existential vision of a broken future where the characters were forced to live with their shattered past. And on top of that, it was driven by an iconic soundtrack that could easily dance between genres. We didn’t have much time in Bebop-Verse – just 26 episodes and one movie – so every second felt like a miracle. How can a live-action Netflix adaptation comply with this?
Simply put, it is not. Although the original show was a love letter to cinema and pop culture, created by a creative dream team (director Shinichiro Watanabe, writer Keiko Nobumoto and composer Yoko Kanno), the Netflix remix fell in love. Cowboy Bebop. It reminds us of anime, so much so that it replicates many iconic sequences for shot-for-shot, but that doesn’t mean it makes it so special. It’s humming, but there’s no soul. It’s a hollow melody that’s as common as nostalgia-centric reboots Star Wars: The Force Awakens And Ghostbusters: Afterlife, And it almost always puts them behind.
By almost every measure, I should hate Netflix’s Cowboy Babb But with a passion, it’s a proof for the talented actors involved that I don’t. John Cho would not be my first choice to play the impossibly beautiful Spike Spiegel (that would be Sung Kang, Fast and Furious Swagger King Han), but he makes a serious effort to replicate his fascination. Mostafa Shakir easily carries the alluring but loving nature of Jet Black. And Daniela Pineder Faye Valentine is an absolute scene thief.
But this talented team has failed by a confusing production, which often looks worse than a cheap Doctor Who episode. While some sets seem to be made of cardboard and spray paint, the live-in captured so well in anime doesn’t mean anything. There is a flash of visible brightness, to be clear, but it basically comes from the digital effect that often replicates the shots of the original series. Sometimes, Bebop Wachowski’s low-rated live-action cartoon seeks to aesthetically replicate Speed boat. Then, at other times, it will have only a bright neon “porn” sign in the background, as if it were enough to signify a nearby seed.
So where did everything start to go wrong? Like most nostalgia reboots, it usually comes down to writing. Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop Developed by Christopher Yeost (Thor: Ragnarak, Star Wars Rebels) And Xavier Grillo-Marxusch (Lost, fascinated). Their combined credits have given me hope that the show will be more than a copycat of anime, but instead it is a confusing mix of nostalgia worship and additional storytelling.
Instead of being a mysterious cutthroat assassin, villain Vicius comes across as a dull Eurotrash gangster. Instead of a ghostly past based on the results of being overly defensive, Jet gets an estranged daughter and a tick-off ex-wife. And perhaps most desperately, Spike’s love interest Julia loses her mystery and instead becomes another beautiful girl in misery. We’ve seen all of these storylines before, so instead of thinking of “a new genre to ourselves”, the bold announcement in the middle of each episode of the anime, it all seems like “I was there, it’s done.”