Cowboy Bebop: Faye Valentine is queer in the Netflix series
Faye Valentine is known to use her beauty as a way to get bonuses. That’s still true in the Netflix Cowboy Bebop series, but with a twist.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Cowboy Bebop, now streaming on Netflix.
In the original version Cowboy Bebop anime, Faye Valentine is a gamer and con-turned bounty hunter who uses her good looks to attract information about the bounties of weak men. When it comes to her own love life, she has been shown to have an old love interest from the time she was resurrected from cryogenic sleep: a lawyer named Whitney Haggis-Matsumoto.
In Netflix’s live-action series, Faye goes through a few changes, starting with her establishment as a bounty hunter at the start, yet with no hint of her gambling habits and her life as a swindler of her own accord. . While Faye still uses her beauty and tango skills in the new show to capture her most dangerous bounty, she is now drawn to women.
The first time Faye’s attraction to women is foreshadowed is when her anime male love interest, Whitney Haggis-Matsumoto, is reinterpreted as a woman for the live-action series. The first time Whitney is mentioned by Faye in Episode 4, “Callisto Soul,” her role in Faye’s story is much the same as that of her male counterpart in the anime. She was present again when Faye recently awoke from her cryogenic sleep. One major difference, however, is that in the live-action series, Whitney posed as Faye’s mother to steal her benefits. In the original anime, Whitney posed as a lawyer who fell in love with Faye and faked her own death so he could get rid of all his debts on her.
When Whitney unwittingly reunites with Faye in the anime after being captured by Jet Black for a marriage scam, she has mixed feelings about her. Part of her remembers how much she loved him before learning she got ripped off, and part of her is still mad at him for betraying her trust. These aspects of the Whitney and Faye relationship are still present in the live-action adaptation, although it is confirmed later in Episode 7, “Galileo Hustle,” that their relationship has never been romantic. Despite this change in their relationship, the Cowboy Bebop The Netflix series always moves forward by reinterpreting Faye as a queer character.
Faye’s sexuality is first explored in Episode 6 of the Netflix series, “Binary Two-Step”, where she meets Jet’s mechanic named Mel. In the episode, Jet pays Mel to replace part of her engine and asks Faye to keep an eye on her to make sure she is doing the job he is paying her for. When Faye arrives in the engine room to meet Mel, the latter shows a sexual interest in Faye. At first, Faye is oblivious to Mel’s intentions, but eventually gets the hang of it and ends up sleeping with her.
When Mel asked if this was her first time sleeping with a woman, Faye can’t remember if she’s ever had sex since she still has amnesia at this point in her timeline. What she does know is that she enjoyed having sex with Mel and wants to stay in touch with her. From that point on, Faye continues to show a sexual interest in women with some hints that she might be attracted to more than one gender. Given that Faye has used her sexuality at least once to capture a dangerous male bounty, her sexual inclinations could be established as bisexual or lesbian depending on what Faye learns about her past in Season 2.
All 10 episodes of Cowboy Bebop season 1 are streaming on Netflix.
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