Review | Cowboy Bebop – Netflix launches faithful and stylish series, but far inferior to anime

Even those who don’t like the famous Japanese animations tend to respect some of these productions that stood out and became a reference within pop culture. Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ghost in the Shell e Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood these are just some of the examples that managed to break through this barrier and reach other audiences. Works with their own particularities, complex characters and broad themes, which generated interesting debates and became true symbols for the media in question. Another anime that is also not far behind and stands out for its originality is the young classic Cowboy Bebop, a space western directed by the Japanese filmmaker Shinichiro Watanabe, packed with lots of action and packed by the jazz bebop of the composer Yoko Kanno. beyond language sci-fi dynamics and cyberpunk elements that surround the undertaken universe, Cowboy Bebop it’s the kind of elegant achievement that easily enchants.

So the interest of American studios in wanting to transform the cult cartoon into a Hollywood production is not new and thus make the franchise bigger and considerably profitable. The closest thing happened, in 2009, when Keanu Reeves was confirmed in the role of the series’ protagonist, Spike, where the Shinichiro Watanabe and the screenwriter Keiko Nobumoto would be associated producers. Unfortunately (or not) the project ended up being shelved and for a long time nobody talked about it anymore.

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But behold, in 2016 they announced that Cowboy Bebop would win a TV series, in live-action format, through a partnership signed between the Tomorrow Studios, a ITV it’s at Marty Adelstein, allowing Sunrise, responsible for the original anime, to act as part of the executive production of the new show. The idea finally advanced and the script was in charge of Christopher Yost (Thor: Ragnarok), with the duo Alex Garcia Lopez placeholder image (demolisher) e Michael Katleman (Life on Mars) assuming the direction of the project. John Cho (Star Trek) won the role of Spike and Mustafa Shakir (Luke Cage) from your partner Jet Black. Daniella Pineda closes the trio of protagonists by giving life to Faye Valentine.

Also called Cowboy Bebop, the production that debuts worldwide by Netflix it arrives making noise and dividing part of the international critics, however it has pleased specialized vehicles in the field. After all, what this new series has to add artistically, is it that it actually works and is a work faithful to the original material, or did it kick the bucket and misrepresent the whole thing, see the embarrassing Death Note (2017), a film that came out through the same streaming service. In this sense, fans can rest assured, the series, as a whole, respects not only the core and format of the story, but also makes a point of faithfully transposing the aesthetic created by Watanabe.

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O Cowboy Bebop gives Netflix exudes style and makes a tremendous effort to be able to visually print everything seen in the anime. The budget, which is not the biggest, made the directors change all the technical apparatus for a bolder and more allegorical aesthetic, without fear of sounding false. Mainly for the exaggerated costumes and the vibrant color of the blood splattered on the walls with each shot. In fact, all of this can be seen from another perspective, there are those who find all that canasticity a charm. The fights seem to be schematized by the choreography being somewhat slow, but the camera play helps to create a dynamism of its own that, in the end, works and makes the audience join in the fun.

Narratively, even though the show doesn’t have the same class as the animation, the adventurous footprint, in the greatest style Lupin III, brings a particular rhythm that limps here and there, but it’s enough to keep the focus. The bucolic and noir atmosphere of the animation is lacking, the set pieces endless and uninterrupted, long action scenes that don’t cause much impact, but emerge as a driving element, since the show is based on these constant clashes. The format is the same seen in the animated series, episodes that bring different stories with bounty hunters and can work in isolation – although, this time, the main plot is more present due to the constant appearances of the character Vicious, played by Alex Hassell (The Boys).

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And talking about the cast, this is an aspect that remains unscathed, because, as we’ve already mentioned, Cowboy Bebop it walks on top of caricatured performances, so the performers don’t see a problem with exaggerating expressions and grimaces when they’re triggered. As well as convincing in punctual dramatic scenes, see the one in which Jet Black takes a puppy to his daughter and ends up fighting with his ex-wife. Mustafa Shakir he had already shown his talent in the great second season of Luke Cage, where he lived the sensational Bushmaster, now, in the skin of a more caricatured figure, the actor has no difficulties in moving between the two extremes. The same goes for John Cho that builds the personality of your Spike Spiegel, being more energetic and sarcastic than properly ironic and arrogant like the original character.

the series of Netflix is not the adaptation of Cowboy Bebop that everyone dreamed of, however is honest enough to bring a faithful and respectful version of the great work of Shinichiro Watanabe. Yes, jazz, latent in anime, is still alive in almost all of the escape and combat scenes, the problem is that the artifice itself doesn’t fit so well here, sounding out of step in certain tempos. From an aesthetic point of view, what seems corny and out of tune for some, may sound stylish and right in the eyes of others. Anyone who has never seen the animation must find it strange at first, everything is stylized and unusual, even in an adventure starring a space cowboy, however they will get used to this peculiar language, if they manage to at least make it past the first episode.

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