Director: Alex Garcia Lopez, Michael Katleman
Cast: John Cho, Mustafa Shakir, Daniella Pineda
Stream Platform: Netflix (watch from here)
Ratings: 3.5/5 (three and a half stars)
After a long wait Nov 19, ‘s live action series Cowboy Bebop will arrive on Netflix. Based on the famous anime of the same name by Shinichiro Watanabe the series is yet another adaptation of Japanese works with real actors. It won’t be easy to please the fans of the original and we’ll see if our space cowboys’ adventures will like it or not… Read our take on the series in our review!
Cowboy Bebop’s 10 episodes have durations ranging from 40 to 55 minutes and none of them have dull moments or are specifically designed to reach a fixed duration. The action, more than the dialogue, plays an important part of the live-action: between shooting and flying kicks, punches and fights, there is fun.
Cowboy Bebop Review: The Story
We are in a distant, undetermined future where we move between different multicultural planets. During a robbery at the Watanabe casino we have meet the main characters, the cowboys or bounty hunters. They are Spike Mirror (John Cho), a man with a mysterious past, and Pitch-black (Mustafa Shakir), a divorced former police officer who owns the spaceship they travel in space, the Bebop. The two are a close-knit couple who are always looking for plus-size to earn as much money as possible so that Jet can buy gifts for his daughter and not have to worry about ship costs while Spike gives no money. his beloved noodles.
Along the way, they meet another cowboy (or cowgirl?), The Exuberant Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda). However, she hides from everyone that she has lost the memory of her past upon awakening from cryogenic sleep, and wants to discover her identity at all costs. But like any self-respecting story, we have an enemy, and it’s represented by the mafia-style organization red dragon. It seems that one of its members, Mean (Alex Hassell), has an unfinished business with Spike. And the cowboy’s mysterious past is tied to him and Vicious’s wife Julia (Elena Santine).
The assessment and analysis
This is the premise of Cowboy Bebop the adventures and misadventures of this trio of hunters struggling with their past that haunts them. It mostly happens with Spike, our charming protagonist, who hides him at all costs, even from Jet, his associate and friend with whom he can’t open up. But a series of revolutions will force him to deal with the Red Dragon and plans to organize Vicious. to take over.
The bonds of the trio consisting of Spike, Vicious and Julia are felt over the course of the episodes. The viewer manages to reconnect the pieces, but it is in the last two episodes that the necessary explanation is given and a shocking but not definitive conclusion is reached.
In this sense, Spike’s character manages to keep his aura of mystery long until the full disclosure of his past. This is why he is a fascinating and interesting character, an extraordinary fighter, with a quick joke and obsessions like that of food. His interactions with Jet, but especially with Faye, can be urgent, funny, sarcastic and indispensable. In short, the dialogues are always pleasant to listen to and see how the characters, especially the cowboy trio, interact. Through them it is possible to understand the feelings they feel and their relationships, making it a strong point of Cowboy Bebop, along with its setting.
Before I talk about the setting, though, I want to discourse about the characters of Cowboy Bebop. Let’s start with Spike’s first partner, Pitch-black. An ex-police officer who quit his job, accused of corruption, is a bit stereotypical in several situations. He holds back his companions and their strange ideas because of his sometimes excessive rationality and ridicule. He has a fixed thought on his daughter Kimmie, whom he wants to please with beautiful gifts (such as the corgi AN which his ex-wife disagrees…), protecting her from everything and everyone.
Episode 5 is entirely dedicated to him who, given the size of a new wanted man, wants to find him and repay his honour. There is a great 50s atmosphere reminiscent of old detective and inspector shows. Unfortunately, it’s a bit obvious in its development and a bit boring at times or at least not very intriguing and exciting. Personally, I hoped the parts dedicated to him would flow quickly to pass Spike and Faye’s hilarious interludes on the Bebop. And speaking of Faye… She is absolutely fantastic, crazy and exuberant. A woman with balls and no hair on her tongue, but whom we repeatedly see as vulnerable and sad because of her memory loss. Resolute in her search for the truth about her, she is way too reckless and reckless at times and constantly competes with Spike and Jet to prove her worth. And that she’s not just crazy…
Because in fact the Cowboy Bebop series sees the various characters bring their storylines to an end, leave some elements pending and ready to be explored. It’s about Spike’s relationship with Jet and Faye, as well as Vicious and Julia with some real final surprises! Not to mention a new character introduced in the last minutes of the tenth episode which i would say the intent to make a second season is clear. We’re just waiting for official confirmation from Netflix but it seems obvious…
Music and other aspects
General Cowboy Bebop is a wonderful live-action series. The space environment is interesting, multicultural with different settings where different nationalities and places are mixed?. We are in the future, but there are also analogous and common elements in our daily lives in a unique and coherent mix as a whole. Even the music tends towards the jazz genre, but styles and rhythms are mixed that follow the setting and the moment. There are many action scenes with fights that combine cowboy duels with guns on the one hand, and karate and kung fu moves on the other.
Except in a few moments there are no stunts or wires to help the actors and also the CGI is very nice which makes the landscape very realistic and authentic, whether it is a neighborhood of a city or the deeper space . The episodes each have their own internal story, often linked to the criminal our cowboys want to catch. On the other hand, the subplot dedicated to Viscious and Julia continues, closely associated with Spike and his hideout from the Red Dragon.
Only the last few episodes of Cowboy Bebop are on the decline a bit, with rushed moments and unresolved issues, probably for future new episodes. But it’s still a very fun series to watch. Perhaps it is clear from my words that I am not a great expert on the anime it was drawn from. However, for what little I’ve seen and know, I seem to remember it well as in the theme song and in the spheres. There will certainly be differences that fans can’t ignore, but I think it’s an interesting and well-made series. He knows how to enrapture the viewer in his own way and wants to travel again in the company of his characters. And so it is appropriate to say: see your space cowboy.
The last words
Cowboy Bebop’s live-action series entertains with the charisma of the characters and the mystery that shrouds their past. But the unoriginal story puts the show in front of many others. Well sorry at the end of the Cowboy Bebop review because it seemed to us that the Netflix live action series was unable to balance the originality, both the visual tone and the homage to the anime. that inspires him, the different approach to spirit, exaggerated and over the top, becomes even more apparent where specific situations and other elements (the music, first of all from the theme song) are faithfully reproduced. A special mention is made for the dog Ein, who is confirmed as a great character even in his live-action version.