Netflix anime remake is so bad, it’s an uplifting tale
The essence of bebop was that it was music you couldn’t dance to.
While traditional jazz got people moving, bebop made people listen intently. Erratic and breathless, he reversed the role of jazz musicians, at least to the ears of the journalists who coined the term. By avoiding more accessible dance rhythms, the bebop freed the soloists to improvise on existing compositions, exploring complex and ever faster chords and harmonies.
While the bebop often sounded odd, especially to those hearing it in its early years, the drastic change in style from convention was its appeal. Cowboy Bebop, the Japanese anime first premiered in 1998, has lived up to the spirit of its namesake.
The artistry of animator Shinichirō Watanabe avoided the sugary aesthetic of the anime in general; at its premiere, Cowboy Bebop felt fresh, even though it was shamelessly a pastiche of many atypical touchstones: sci-fi pulp, gunslinger westerns, black detective and, of course, jazz. The anime ran for 26 half-hour episodes and one feature film, never telling a full story throughout its run. Cowboy Bebop had no plot. It came and went like a gust of wind.
Given this, many have understandably been wary of the new live-action remake of Cowboy Bebop, streaming Friday on Netflix. And unfortunately – to get right to the point – the series does little to dispel that skepticism.
Despite his painstaking efforts to look like the anime – including a beat-for-beat recreation of his forceful overture (with lively cigarette smoke) and a diverse cast of John Cho, whose magnetism as a leading man has long been overlooked – one can ‘This does not shake the feeling that Hollywood filmmakers have still misunderstood the nuances that exist in Japanese animation.
by netflix Cowboy Bebop, from showrunner André Nemec (Life on Mars), is a failure, to put it simply, who falls on him less because of the liberties he takes with the anime and more because of his inescapable sense of the absence of originality. This Cowboy Bebop, far from a triumph of translation, exists as an uplifting tale of crushed art beneath Netflix’s house style.
The show is initially turgid, told in swollen hour-long chapters that fail to accelerate. No matter the color and texture of its physical surroundings, the big budget streaming paradox means that no amount of money visibly invested in production can stop audiences from thinking of a cheap knockoff.
Incompetent picture composition, jerky editing and crude anime imitation that doesn’t capture what was done Cowboy Bebop special in the first place results not only in poor adaptation, but also validation for the most insufferable internet trolls who can now boast of “told you so”. (A depressing end result for all of us.)
Like the anime, Cowboy Bebop focuses on three galactic bounty hunters: Spike Spiegel (John Cho), an ultra-cool martial artist with a haunted past; Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir), a tender-hearted ex-cop; and Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda), a brave femme fatale with amnesia desperate to learn her true identity. The three board the Bebop, the filthy ship they call home. In this distant future, the Earth is abandoned and humans have terraformed other planets; our heroes are known as “cowboys”, leaping from planet to planet to catch outlaws and easily earn money.
There is, tragically, another plot Cowboy Bebop also. Vicious (Alex Hassell), Spike’s former partner in a criminal yakuza called the Syndicate, wants to take his head off, forcing the Bebop crew to keep looking over their shoulders throughout the mid-story. episodic, semi-serialized of the show. Meanwhile, a beautiful club singer, Julia (Elena Satine) returns to Spike’s life to add even more intrigue.
Anime fans haunted by the live-action bombshell of 2009 Dragonball: Evolution often ask any Hollywood adaptation, “Is this faithful?” In this Cowboy Bebopcase, the answer is yes. Principally. The show dresses its characters in the cool threads of their anime counterparts (although Pineda’s Faye is getting more clothes for convenience) while Yoko Kanno’s original music is essentially left untouched. The episodes have storylines or rhythms almost identical to the most memorable moments in the anime. But it all amounts to spiritual cosplay: the show looks the party, but he never feels on the right, a by-product of a random construction that torments him from top to bottom.
The show looks the party, but he never feels law.
While the Netflix series offers its own unique take on the anime across its ten episodes, including a puzzling ending that even die-hard fans won’t see coming, it was meant to be a warp watch frenzy. Cowboy Bebop in a strange monstrosity. Any mystery in the anime, especially when it comes to Spike’s sad past, has been crushed. What was once a quietly shrouded tradition is now on display in the bare light of Netflix serialization. And what remains is not a sexy story around Spike and an old flame, but rather more rudimentary heartbreak that could hardly serve as a daytime soap opera.
If there’s a good rating the show achieves, it’s the fact that its main star cast has been successfully assembled to begin with. Cho, Shakir and Pineda enter Cowboy Bebop full of texture, energy and pizzazz that feels both respectful of the anime’s tone but still entirely theirs. Cho proves he’s the real deal. As Spike, he exudes freshness, charm and spirit, a modern day James Shigeta. Cho might not be the Spike of your Toonami memories, but he’s the Spike he’s always been meant to be. Shakir’s Jet brings warmth to the cold metal interiors of the Bebop, while Pineda provides all of the humor and sex appeal that Faye has famous in animation.
Sadly, the same can’t be said for Hassell and Satine, playing Vicious and Julia. Through no fault of theirs, their characters’ extra screen time adds little value. Whenever these two are on screen, the show comes to a screeching halt, sabotaging any groove the show takes place in. And in such a terrible spectacle, such moments of true cohesion seem rare.
This is boring Cowboy Bebop no. Imagine if this show was awesome. Imagine if this show had been allowed to be more than a Netflix content dump. The original Cowboy Bebop wasn’t celebrated because it was a sci-fi anime with cool characters, but because it stood out in a crowded marketplace with the confidence that its art and storytelling centered on vibrations. The same can’t be said for Netflix’s version, a funhouse mirrored adaptation that stretches and twists a classic until it warps, blatantly adding hours to satisfy Netflix shareholders who further assimilate. in addition to volume success.
Here’s where everything wrong with the adaptation can be summed up in one word: The memorable end credits of the original anime, on “The Real Folk Blues” by Yoko Kanno, featured beautifully framed artwork that barely told the story of Spike’s grief. Netflix, a streaming service that wants you to skip the credits and move on to its next offering, doesn’t give audiences anything to watch in its credits but still plays the same song.
by netflix Cowboy Bebop play all the right notes. But without vision, he can’t find that perfect rhythm.
Cowboy Bebop aired on Netflix on November 19.