Shinichiro Watanabe on the Netflix Live-Action Adaptation: “It Was Clearly Not Cowboy Bebop”
Not my jazz.
Back in 2021, the live-action Cowboy Bebop series debuted as a Netflix original, streaming exclusively for the service for one full season. Before its release show garnered a decent amount of online chatter due to its popularity and the love fans have for both the anime and mangas, though most were still hesitant that it could translate to live-action.
Unfortunately for Cowboy Bebop fans, the live-action adaptation failed to capture enough attention when it came to actual viewership, as Netflix decided to cancel the series only a few weeks after it debuted. This was likely further aided by the fact that Cowboy Bebop (2021) received a plethora of reviews that leaned on the negative side.
A few years later, we’re learning that even Shinichiro Watanabe, the director of the original Cowboy Bebop anime, couldn’t even watch the series.
In an interview with Forbes, Watanabe said that after watching the beginning of the first episode, he realized, “It was clearly not Cowboy Bebop.” He then goes on to talk about how he came to the conclusion that because he wasn’t involved with an adaptation, “it would not be Cowboy Bebop.”
Cowboy Bebop fans have been vocal, with a petition to save the show making rounds across social media, which currently has over 150,000 signatures. Notable voice actor Steve Blum, who is the English voice of the anime’s lead character, has also voiced his support for the live-action adaptation, signing the petition.
At the end of the day, though, Netflix is who has the final say on whether or not this version of the series will get to continue. This seems incredibly unlikely at this point, given the overabundance of content that Netflix puts out, along with the fact that they are now infamous for canceling shows, even ones with vocal fanbases.
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