Shinichiro Watanabe, the director who crafted the iconic Cowboy Bebop anime, recently gave an interview to Ollie Barder of Forbes, talking in depth about his journey as an anime director and what went behind each of the titles he worked on.
While talking about the Cowboy Bebop anime, the topic naturally turned to the Netflix live-action adaptation of the series.
Turns out that Watanabe was sent a video to review and check. However, he could not bring himself to continue beyond the opening scene of the video, which was set in a casino.
“For the new Netflix live-action adaptation, they sent me a video to review and check. 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,” Watanabe said.
The director felt what he saw was not Cowboy Bebop, and he realized at that point that the series would not be Cowboy Bebop if he wasn’t involved.
However, due to what he saw, Watanabe felt that the quality of the original anime was way better than the live-action adaptation.
“It was clearly not Cowboy Bebop and 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,” he said.
It seems that majority of the viewers too agreed with Watanabe’s opinion, as the live action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop was shelved after the first season. It was slated to have a second season but it didn’t pan out in the end.
The 10-episode series debuted on Nov. 19, 2021, on Netflix. However, it only garnered 47% critics’ average rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Netflix and Tomorrow Studios co-produced the series starring John Cho as Spike, Mustafa Shakir as Jet, Daniella Pineda as Faye, Alex Hassell as Vicious, and Elena Satine as Julia.
The Japanese dub included returning voice actors from the original anime’s cast. Yoko Kanno returned to score the music for the series.
Based on the worldwide phenomenon from Sunrise Inc., Cowboy Bebop is the jazz-inspired, genre-bending story of Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Faye Valentine, and Radical Ed: a rag-tag crew of bounty hunters on the run from their pasts as they hunt down the solar system’s most dangerous criminals. They’ll even save the world…for the right price.