Contrary to the times of today, anime was generally considered a genre of entertainment that was reserved for nerds and geeks in the past. Still, among the plethora of titles that existed even back then, the name Cowboy Bebop was well regarded as the crown jewel and a milestone during the time of its release in 1998. With so many breakthroughs and heavy inspiration from the west, the western audience received the anime series well, especially in the United States.
And thus, the OTT juggernaut Netflix heard the sounds of a huge fanbase that was hungry for more from the anime series, which gave them the idea to make a live-action adaptation of the superhit series. But just like many other live-action adaptations in the past, this series was hit with the same plague, and thus, tanked in viewership and ended up getting canceled by the platform. Even when some people say that it was good, they cannot argue with the creator of the original anime series, who has clearly stated that the live-action version was repulsive to him.
Original Cowboy Bebop Anime Creator Could Not Stand Netflix’s Live-Action Version
During the late 1990s, when the craze for shows like Star Trek and other space-faring shows and movies was at its peak, the anime industry of Japan decided to capitalize on the opportunity by creating an anime that had the core elements of the space odyssey adventure mixed in with the bada*s intensity of a cowboy, which ultimately culminated into Cowboy Bebop, providing an all-new space cowboy genre and the magic of Japanese animations, mixed with elements from the western culture, the show became one of the few anime that reached the wider audience.
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But when Netflix decided to bring the shown with a live-action twist to it, the result was a complete failure of an adaptation by the streaming giant, forcing them to cancel the show just within three weeks of its premiere release. But it wasn’t just the critics and the fans of the original anime series who hated the show, even the director of the original 1998 series was appalled by the adaptation. Shinichiro Watanabe, the veteran anime director of the Cowboy Bebop anime revealed that he couldn’t watch a single episode of Netflix’s version. During an interview with Forbes, He said:
“For the new Netflix live-action adaptation, they sent me a video to review and check, It started with a scene in a casino, which made it very tough for me to continue. I stopped there and so only saw that opening scene, It was clearly not Cowboy Bebop and I realized at that point that if I wasn’t involved, it would not be Cowboy Bebop, I felt that maybe I should have done this. Although the value of the original anime is somehow far higher now.”
The lackluster intensity of action and battle of wits, mixed with a hard deviation from the original source material from the start were some of the reasons why the live-action adaptation failed to capture the hearts of fans and audiences alike.
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Why Was The Original Anime So Popular?
The beauty of the original series was the fact that apart from being an animated series, the show also brought out new perspectives mixed with quirky yet bada*s characters who despite being dysfunctional and completely different, complimented each other unconsciously. Plus, the original anime was about a journey aboard the Bebop, with vague references to the main character Spike’s backstory and equal involvement in the show’s progression, something which was missing from Netflix’s version.
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Cowboy Bebop, now streaming on Netflix
Source: Bounding Into Comics