Here’s the Real Problem with Netflix’s Live Action ‘Cowboy Bebop’


Andre Nemec, the producer of Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop live action adaptation, gave an interview to the shoddy Polygon, where he hinted he lacks confidence in proving he’s not ashamed of the designs used in the original miniseries from over 2 decades ago:


So why remake Cowboy Bebop? Nemec says he wouldn’t dare try. Instead, to bring Cowboy Bebop to Netflix, the showrunner’s writing team studied the stars that perfectly aligned to make the original version what it was, then dared to realign them. If Nemec and his team could draw out the core elements of the anime, in theory, they could tell a new set of stories in the show’s exciting, known universe. The chance to cast John Cho (Star Trek) as Spike, Mustafa Shakir (Luke Cage) as Jet, and Daniella Pineda (Jurassic World: Dominion) as Faye only made the high-risk, high-reward prospects more alluring.

“We would look at sets, we would look at props, we would look at costumes, we would look at the edits, we would talk about all of these things, not to ape the anime,” the showrunner says, “but to live in the spirit of the anime.”


If they don’t have the courage to make Faye Valentine’s outfit look more similar to what’s seen in the anime series, don’t presume to lecture us about living in its spirit. Besides, it’s been revealed that writer Shinichiro Watanabe had little or no influence on Netflix’s development.


“I think anybody who’s a fan of Cowboy Bebop knows that Cowboy Bebop presents a multicultural view of the future,” he says. “And so you will see elements of all cultures. It’s not a dystopian world presented in the anime. It’s a very beautiful imagining of a future. People are more bonded. It’s a cowboy show — so they’re a little violent, and people kill each other, and life is a little cheap — but the multiculturalism of the anime is what we translated to the screen as well.”



The part about multi-culti is also cause for suspicion, certainly if it turns out he’s not talking in science fiction terms. Multiculturalism can easily refer more to ideology than to race and nationality, and indeed, that’s pretty much been the way lot of leftist ideologues have advocated their beliefs over the years. Now, about their rendition of Faye Valentine:


After rewatching Cowboy Bebop, Nemec and the staff’s big takeaway on Faye Valentine, and the key thing they wanted to mine from the animated portrayal, was that she “is a survivor.” Pineda brought the entire, dimensional attitude to the table in her audition. “It became undeniable that she has this incredible effervescence, a quick wit, a wonderful charm, but she also has a kind of take-no-prisoners kick-him-in-the-teeth underbelly to her,” Nemec says. “She has a strength and power, even though she doesn’t lead with that power. To me, that was what it meant to capture Faye Valentine.”

Funny enough, Pineda has already brought the first taste of Faye’s spirit to the small screen: Shortly after a batch of photos revealed the actors in costume for the first time, the actress took to Instagram to sarcastically prod fans who thought she didn’t look the part. “Six foot, double-D sized breasts, two-inch waist […] they looked everywhere for that woman and couldn’t find her […] so they went with my short ass.”

The Cowboy Bebop production team took extreme measures to develop the perfect, practical costumes. Nemec says nearly 20 different cuts of Spike’s suit were produced with variations of his shirt, shirt collar, and tie, all with varying lengths and widths until they nailed down a practical version of his cartoon lewk. “We probably went through 50 different blues to find the blue of that suit that was the right fabric,” the showrunner says. “And we did that every single character. We figured out Jet’s costume and what was going to feel right on Mustafa, to figure out how that arm would work. We did it with Daniella, put her in a dozen different designs, tweaked them a dozen different times until we landed on the one that felt like it was telling the story of that character in the best way possible for us.” As for why Faye’s Extremely Anime Hot Pants were swapped out for a full-body leather suit, Nemec is frank: “If I never saw Cowboy Bebop, this tells me the story that this woman is a survivor.”


I think all he’s doing is, besides signaling lack of confidence with sex appeal, is say that he thinks she should be a literal survivor of violence to the point she’s got almost no confidence? That the actress is wearing a tank top under the jacket does little to alleviate concerns about where this is going, and compounds the perception the producers have little faith in the source material, let alone what it takes to market animation.



It goes without saying the actress herself should not have insulted the audience, as she once did when criticism came about. What does he mean by a survivor? That she’s been victim of her own creators? Talk about insulting the mangakas as much as the audience!


“The greatest part about being able to work on this was that we knew we were being invited to play in somebody else’s sandbox,” Nemec says, referring to Watanabe, who acts as a consultant on the series, “and that sandbox was very generous in saying to us, ‘You tell your story.”


Again, they didn’t really take any consultation from Watanabe, but if he gave his blessing to go ahead and make their take…he honestly shouldn’t have. Hollywood is going to the dogs these days, and there’s no need to be diplomatic to such unconfident people. All this is doing is make me decide not to watch any live action adaptation of a manga/anime series.


Originally published here.

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Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1