Cowboy Bebop is one of the most iconic anime of all time. It is probably the first anime that caught the attention of the western audience. Cowboy Bebop introduced a huge part of the western audience to the crazy world of anime. It still remains a great watch and its plot has aged really well. The anime is not just famous with the western audience; it is equally as influential in Japan as well.
Netflix recently made a live-action adaptation of this iconic series. So how good is it? Is it worth watching or just another cash-grab? Well, we are here to answer those questions today. Do keep in mind that a lot of this stuff falls on personal preference but, it is a fact that Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop isn’t nearly as good as the original. So let’s get started.
Plot and Character Writing
The plot is largely the same as the original Cowboy Bebop with a lot of minor changes. The pacing of Netflix’s version feels very rushed and it doesn’t have the tension factor like the original anime. It feels like if they increased the number of episodes by a little bit; they could have maintained much better pacing with the plot. Still, I am glad that they didn’t make huge alterations to the plot as they did with Death Note.
As for the character writing, the main characters were done fairly well except for Faye. Faye appears a lot more helpless in Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop as compared to her original independent persona. The side characters were done badly though. They just weren’t anywhere good as the original; Vicious probably got the worst treatment among them. His motivations and back story was lackluster at best.
Acting, Direction, and VFX
The actors did a pretty good job but they couldn’t bring back the dynamic that Spike, Jet, and Faye shared in the original Cowboy Bebop. It’s like the awkwardness is missing in their relationship. The actors do look pretty on point though. Their costumes don’t look bad or cheesy like many other-live action adaptations, I will give them that.
I will be honest here; I have seen much better direction and VFX in other Netflix originals. They are fine but, not up to the mark in any sense. They could have done a much better job in this department if they wanted to. The direction heavily relies on making shot-by-shot callbacks to the original Cowboy Bebop. It works sometimes, sometimes it looks bad.
Summing it all up
As I said earlier, this is by far Netflix’s best attempt at making a live-action anime adaptation but, it’s still nowhere as good as the original Cowboy Bebop. Even if the plot is mostly the same, the soul of the series is lost somewhere in all the complications. They only paid attention to the main characters and forgot about the side characters. I guess you really can’t bring back the “simplicity” and “innocence” from back in the day. The world was a much simpler place back then.
Is it worth watching? That is up to you. If you have free time and a Netflix subscription, who am I to stop you? Would I recommend watching it? No, if you are a fan of the original Cowboy Bebop, you will only be disappointed. Is the series totally garbage? I wouldn’t go that far, it’s not as bad as Netflix’s Death Note by any stretch. Also, I don’t get why Netflix can’t just follow an anime properly to the heart.
Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop is just bad. I won’t recommend watching it but, it’s not complete garbage either. It does get some stuff right at least.
That is it for now. Those were my thoughts on Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop. Now, let me know yours down in the comments. I am well aware that this is divisive series but, for me, nothing is ever touching the original. With that said, I will take my leave here. See ya!