Last month, Netflix showed the first in-costume, on-set photos of the core cast of its live-action "Cowboy Bebop." Here in Japan, reactions weren’t exactly enthusiastic about the upcoming adaptation of the anime classic, but now "Bebop" fans in the franchise’s home country have also gotten a bigger peek at what’s ahead thanks to Netflix revealing its series’ opening title sequence.
We already knew that the live-action "Bebop" will be using music from the anime’s legendary composer, Yoko Kanno, and Netflix seems to have come to the conclusion that you can’t improve on perfection and is keeping “Tank!” as the opening theme. A handful of the live-action opening’s visuals directly recreate segments of the opening animation, while others are slightly altered. The Netflix opening also has a lot of flash-forwards to future storylines, in contrast to the anime opening which focused solely on Spike and his bounty-hunting buddies and kept its stylized look throughout.
As mentioned above, the first still photos for the Netflix "Bebop" didn’t seem to impress fans in Japan, but online reactions to the video, which was also posted on the Netflix Japan Anime Twitter account, were quite a bit more positive.
“I was assuming Netflix was just gonna completely rewrite the series, but I saw a bunch of sub-characters I recognize from the anime, so I’m pretty excited now!”
“They have a ton of characters from the anime in it! Really looking forward to watching it!”
“It’s clever how the anime opening had English text in the background, but this has Japanese.”
“You can really feel the respect they have for the source material by keeping “Tank!” as the opening theme. The visuals still feel a little off, but I think this’ll turn out good.”
“I think it’s going to be like the Nolan Batman movies. If you compare it to the original work, it won’t feel right to you, but you can enjoy it in a different way than the original.”
Praise was far from unanimous, though. Even more than 20 years after it aired on Japanese TV, "Cowboy Bebop" remains a unique and memorable presence in fans’ hearts, and for some people it’s impossible not to compare the Netflix preview to their fond memories for the original.
“It just feels lame.”
“The respect they have for the original really shows, and the [music] is awesome, but it feels off.”
“Is this some kind of fan-made parody?”
“Quit turning anime into live-action, dammit!”
“Watching this really reminds you how great the anime was.”
In terms of casting, many commenters mentioned being pleased with the look of the characters outside the main trio who’re seen in the opening. The most frequent criticisms were of John Cho as Spike, who’s definitely looking several years older than the character did in the anime.
There was one point of universal praise in the reactions, though:
“Excellent job casting Ein.”
“Ein looks perfect.”
“Nominate that pup for Best Supporting Dog.”
Netfix’s "Cowboy Bebeop" makes its worldwide streaming debut on November 19.
Source: YouTube/Netflix Japan, Twitter/@NetflixJP_Anime
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