I have not dabbled much into the world of anime. I have watched the Studio Ghibli films Cowboy Bebop and recently started JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. However, that does not make me an expert on this topic. If you want to hear some opinions from the anime veterans, I suggest listening to The Game of Nerds Podcast #14. With that disclaimer out of the way, let me tell you what I think about Netflix’s adaptation of Cowboy Bebop.
The year is 2071, about 50 years after Earth has become inhabitable. With humanity scattered across the galaxy, crime rates rise. Thus, the Inter Solar System Police (ISSP) created a contract system allowing bounty hunters to reign in the criminals for a monetary reward. This is where our protagonists come in on their ship, dubbed the Bebop. First is Spike Spiegel, the formal hitman for the Red Dragon Syndicate. Second, Jet Black, a scorned former ISSP officer. Later, the pair are joined by Faye Valentine, a charming woman with amnesia, Edward the skilled hacker, and Ein, the Corgi with human-like intelligence. Together, this group of misfits attempts to wrangle criminals, earn money, and tackle issues from their pasts.
The Netflix Series
The Netflix adaptation of Cowboy Bebop is very similar to the anime of the same name with a few key differences. We will focus on more general changes to keep this as spoiler-free as possible. Julia, Spike’s romance partner, has a more significant role in this production. In the anime, Julia was Vicious’s girlfriend and had an affair with Spike, leading to him leaving the Syndicate. While this set of events is similar in the live-action reboot, Julia marries Vicious rather than dying at his whim. Overall, while the stories are identical, this difference leads to a sea of different plot hooks and adventures.
When watching the live-action series Cowboy Bebop, we had three people with varying interests in the anime. My father-in-law has seen every episode multiple times and could probably recite each scene by memory. My husband had seen every episode a few times, but it had been a few years since he viewed it. On the other hand, I was the noob and have only watched the series once before. We all agreed it was a good show by the end of the series. It was different enough; my father-in-law was met with some surprises. We were all bummed to hear it would not be renewed for a second season. In the end, if you want to watch some Cowboy Bebop content, head on over to Netflix.