Adapting any story from one medium to another is always going to be fraught–there will always be changes to make the story work in another medium. But while some adaptations work, others don’t, and Cowboy Bebop director Shinichioro Watanabe said that Netflix’s adaptation of his legendary anime just doesn’t work in a new interview with Forbes.
“For the new Netflix live-action adaptation, they sent me a video to review and check,” Watanabe said. “It started with a scene in a casino, which made it very tough for me to continue. I stopped there and so only saw that opening scene.”
“It was clearly not Cowboy Bebop,” he continued. “I realized at that point that if I wasn’t involved, it would not be Cowboy Bebop. I felt that maybe I should have done this. Although the value of the original anime is somehow far higher now.”
Watanbe didn’t elaborate on what it was about the show’s opening scene that he found so off-putting. Our review enjoyed the tweaked character arcs and use of the original anime score, but found the pacing to be rocky, with some characters too literal in their translation. Shortly after the show’s release, Netflix canceled it, ending any fan hopes at a continuation of protagonist Spike’s story, or the show getting a chance to make good on the post-credits reveal of Radical Edward at the very end of the show. The show performed well at launch but had a quick drop-off in the following weeks. Netflix is still at work adapting a number of beloved animated projects into live-action, including the pirate anime One Piece and Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender.
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