What’s wrong with Netflix’s live-action Cowboy Bebop? The characters, our old-school fan says

These aren’t the cowboys, or the villain, that defined classic anime, says our veteran Bebop fan..

After decades of rumors, false starts, and delays, there is finally a live action version of Cowboy bebop. Netflix He managed to do what many others couldn’t and delivered his adaptation of the esteemed anime series to his streaming platform on November 19.

Our resident otaku reporter, Seiji Nakazawa, he cleared his schedule for the weekend to be able to see all 10 episodes, but before diving into his impressions, a little history about the boy. While Seiji has seen a lot of anime in his life, Cowboy Bebop is one of his all-time favorites.. As a high school student, he watched the entire anime during its original 1998 broadcast on Japanese television, then came out and spent almost all of his allowance on the home video release. No, not the DVDs. Seiji’s family didn’t have a DVD player so he bought the VHS tapes, this is how it goes back to his Bebop fandom goes.

▼ Netflix Live Action Cowboy bebop

But despite his love for the original series, Seiji was determined to Keep an open mind for the live action version of Netflix. “As soon as you transition from animation to live action, all sorts of real-world factors come into play, so I decided in advance not to be picky about images,” he says. “That more or less also applies to history. The anime has 26 30-minute episodes and the live action is 10 50-minute episodes. It’s impossible to exactly replicate the anime’s story, so I have no problem with the concept of putting together new episodes that have a déjà vu relationship with the originals. “

With that attitude, the viewing experience got off to a good start. “The action sequences are not as sharp as in anime, but that is something that cannot be avoided in live action. Overall though, the quality feels pretty high. Jet looks like it came straight out of the anime, and even if the live-action Spike doesn’t look like the anime Spike, it has a cool atmosphere to it. The CG when they go through the warp gates reminded me of Star Wars, and can you feel the love for the original series in parts like the inclusion of the three old men or the scene where Spike and Jet have to eat meatless stir fry. “

But even before the end of the first episode, something had started to bother Seiji. “You can tell that everyone involved really did their best, but it feels like they have a superficial understanding of the characters.”

How is that? Let’s start with Jet. “The Netflix Jet spends a lot of time talking about his son. Sure, there is an episode in the anime that is about one of Jet’s former lovers, and you get these vapors from his personal life, ”recalls Seiji. But the difficulties in Jet’s past from the anime are related to his concepts of honor and loyalty, not just family problems. If the Jet anime is a man who is stoically trying to adhere to a code, the live-action Jet feels like a father doing his best.. “

Protagonist Beak He also doesn’t feel like the Spike from the anime, says Seiji. “Strange how Netflix Spike is so quick to shoot and kill people. Yes, even in the anime he was willing to use deadly force if he had to, but he wasn’t quite that ready to shoot people without thinking. Aside from when he’s fighting members of the Red Dragon syndicate, you get the feeling that the Spike anime will only shoot someone if absolutely necessary. Instead, we generally see him using his kung fu skills to beat people up. That might have partially been an aesthetic choice for the anime, but the difference still caught my eye when I watched Netflix. Bebop. “

So how are you Faye? “Along with Vicious [who we’ll get to in a moment], I think Faye felt especially different in which aspects of the character the live-action version chose to focus on. When the Bebop Anime was on TV in the 90’s, some otaku didn’t like Faye because she wasn’t a “cute” character. I always thought she had a really abrasive personality, short-tempered and willing to break up with someone verbally, but she was also a woman with a very sharp and calculating mind. I loved her intelligence, and for me Faye’s look in the anime always took a backseat on her mind in terms of what made her an attractive character. But it seems like Netflix just turned her into someone really athletic and with a dry, dry personality. That seems to be the template for Hollywood action heroines these days, but the appeal of the Faye anime was something else entirely.. “

And finally we come to Vicious, with some minor spoilers included.

“I imagine there are a lot of people who saw what the live-action series with Vicious does and said, ‘No, that’s not the character.’ I mean, on the Netflix Bebop He is married to Julia and talks about how he loves her! Then there is a scene where the Red Dragon leaders order Vicious to shoot him, and he hesitates? No that is not vicious. “

Sure, the anime suggests that Spike and Vicious competed for Julia’s affections in the past, and even that Vicious and Julia became lovers for a time. But more than anything, when we see Vicious in the present of the anime, His defining characteristic is how hurt he is by what he sees as Spike’s betrayal, and how that turned into raw, seething hatred.. Vicious clearly doesn’t have any genuine romantic feelings for Julia, and the two of them are just using each other. So if Vicious was ordered to shoot Julia as proof of his loyalty, he would do it without thinking. That is who is Vicious. He threw away every trace of human emotion once Spike left the union. “

“Vicious’s” status as a deeply wounded individual is what sets the climax of the anime, and while the Julia anime has very little screen time, it can be said to have a deep and complex connection to Vicious’s pain. I want the Netflix Bebop He hadn’t changed that to something as simplistic as just “love.” The anime Julia is a cunning, selfish woman, but also strong, and I feel like that aspect of her character is lost in the Netflix version.. “

“If I were to sum up how I feel about the Netflix versions of the characters in one sentence, it would be “Everybody keeps saying things that those characters wouldn’t say.”

So, Seiji hated live action. Bebop? Not quite. “But it really made me appreciate how complex the anime characters were.. The live action version is a high quality production, but watching it, I kept thinking ‘Something feels wrong’. When I was watching anime for the first time in high school, with its tough characters and dialogue and influences from foreign cinema, everything felt so good. So it’s ironic when Bebop finally gets a Hollywood version, it has lost a lot of that atmosphere.. “

That said, Seiji isn’t warning people not to watch Netflix. Bebop. “More effort has definitely been put in than a lot of adaptations, and I think fans can appreciate the ways it approaches the feel of the original version, and maybe one day we’ll see this as a step towards more successful action anime projects. live? So for now, to Netflix BebopI’d say ‘You did well.’

Cover Image: Press Release
Insert images: YouTube / Netflix
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