Shinichiro Watanabe Opens Up About Netflix's Cowboy Bebop
By Yung Namahage • 1 year ago

Man, I just about forgot about the space trainwreck that was Netflix's attempt at Cowboy Bebop. That was until it started making headlines again recently, because the creator of the original anime, Shinichiro Watanabe, shared his two woolong on the adaptation of his beloved series.

In an interview with Forbes, he admitted he couldn't even finish the first episode, turning it off a few minutes in because it simply didn't feel like his original series. In his words:

“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. 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.”

To be fair, the first few minutes of the first episode definitely didn't give the best impression. The Whedon-esque dialogue was bad enough, but introducing Spike & Jet as gunslingers who get excited over killing goons rather than bounty hunters who'd rather capture their targets alive, but often get forced into gunfights is already a far cry from the original series. While I'll say it does get better from there, in some aspects, I wouldn't blame anyone for not lasting a whole episode. Especially if Watanabe clocked out in under 10.

He goes on to talk about his own experience with working with Hollywood producers when he was working on The Matrix's anime spinoff, The Animatrix:

"Working with those kinds of people is always difficult. This is because at the beginning they promised me that I could do whatever I want, but that’s just lip service."

“Actually, I had a big altercation with a Hollywood producer on The Animatrix. He would always come with these stupid requests, just so he could identify his own contribution. As the requests were stupid and made no sense, I rejected all of them. Unfortunately, I couldn’t win in this situation, so I had to concede on some of these things."

Knowing what Netflix are like, I wouldn't be surprised if their Cowboy Bebop was produced by the same kind of producers Watanabe is talking about. It's possible anime & manga creators will be more cautious about giving their endorsements to corporations who won't respect the source material, and hopefully we won't have to hear about that dreadful series again.

Did you think the show had any redeeming qualities at all? Let us know below!