COWBOY BEBOP on Netflix is a Live-Action Series based on the 1998 anime series of the same title. Will fans love this? Well, some might, but definitely not all. It does have John Cho, Mustafa Shakir, and Daniella Pineda going for it though. Read our Cowboy Bebop season 1 review here!
COWBOY BEBOP is a new Netflix series in the sci-fi, action, adventure, crime, and comedy genres. A real hybrid deal. Also, it is of course the Live-Action version of the 1998 anime series. Now, I’ve never been a fan of the anime series, but I would much rather watch that than this live-action series.
While you could call this a genre-hybrid, it feels more like a total mess. A noir-style story that is way too bright and light with lots of shoot-out scenes to really highlight the whole “cowboy” element. It just really did not hit any marks for me!
Continue reading our Cowboy Bebop season 1 review below. There are ten episodes in the season and the runtime is usually between 40 and 60 minutes.
A live-action remake of anime
What I did really appreciate about Cowboy Bebop was the fact this live-action remake is very much a direct remake of the anime. Is there really a point to it then? Well, it could reach a new audience. Also, it’s always fun to try and make a live-action version of anything animated (or written) that people love.
Another thing I actually enjoyed was the fact that the opening credits are virtually identical to that of the anime series. So even that part of the original was remade in a live-action way. If you love the original, you might love this live-action adaption.
Personally, I have to admit that I struggled to get through the first couple of episodes because I really did not care for it. In the anime series, music is also used a lot to set the tone. In the live-action series, everything is much brighter and the music is louder and much more prominent. It was extremely distracting to me.
As much as I’ll admit that I just did not care for Cowboy Bebop, I also have to admit that the awesome casting made me curious enough to want to check this out. Will fans love this live-action version? Well, some might, but definitely not all.
What it does have going for it is the core cast. John Cho is Spike Spiegel and while the hair didn’t totally work for me (too fluffy compared to how I saw the anime style), I did enjoy his sense of humor. Also, Mustafa Shakir as Jet Black was more prominent in the first episodes of this live-action adaption compared to the first episodes of the anime.
The stories are very identical, however, there is an extra opening scene to set the stage. Whether it actually does much more to help you get into the Cowboy Bebop is another thing.
Also, Daniella Pineda is very interesting as Faye Valentine, who also enters the story in a different (and more prominent) way than in the anime. Fans of the anime will be missing other key characters though.
You can watch season 1 of Cowboy Bebop on Netflix!
André Nemec (Alias, Limetown) is the showrunner of Cowboy Bebop while the original anime series director Shinichirō Watanabe is a consultant on the series. Also, the original composer Yoko Kanno returns for the live-action adaptation.
Alex Garcia Lopez and Michael Katleman each direct five of the ten episodes in season 1 of Cowboy Bebop. Alex Garcia Lopez previously directed on the Netflix series Daredevil, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and The Witcher. Prior to this, he also directed on Fear the Walking Dead and the original Utopia from 2013 which was remade for Prime Video in 2020.
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Michael Katleman has also been working on a wide array of different TV series over the past decades. From a season 1 episode of The X Files back in 1993 to the FBI: International pilot in 2021. In other words, two very experienced directors have been in charge of these episodes. However, their main job seems to have been to imitate the anime rather than be innovative or creative.
Overall, this noir bebop Western in Space just is not for me. Maybe you will love it though, so give it a shot if the trailers appeal to you. It didn’t do much of anything for me, which was a clear warning sign. I do maintain, however, that the cast is very interesting of delivers interesting portrayals.
Cowboy Bebop season 1 is out on Netflix from November 19, 2021.
Showrunner / Executive Producer: André Nemec
Writer/Executive Producer/Developed by: Christopher Yost
Directors: Alex Garcia Lopez and Michael Katleman
Starring: John Cho (Spike Spiegel), Mustafa Shakir (Jet Black), Daniella Pineda (Faye Valentine), Alex Hassell (Vicious), Elena Satine (Julia)
Guest starring: Geoff Stults (Chalmers), Tamara Tunie (Ana), Mason Alexander Park (Gren), James Hiroyuki Liao (Tanaka), Jan Uddin (Asimov), John Noble (Caliban), Jay Paulson (Hakim), Adrienne Barbeau (Maria Murdock), Christine Dunford (Whitney), Wade Williams (Fad), Jade Harlow (Mel), Tyson Ritter (Iron Mink), A Martinez (Mr. Stax), Andre Hyland (Ka-Ching)
Co-Starring: Ann Truong (Shin), Hoa Xuande (Lin), Rachel House (Mao), Josh Randall (Pierrot Le Fou), Lydia Peckham (Katerina), Emma King (Godard), Harry and Charlie (Ein)
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