Spoilers will disable the tracker.
I had a little skepticism about this show. I’ve seen the anime, I consider it one of my favourites enough to rewatch it from time to time. I don’t know every episode by heart. What I wanted from this show was to at least recognize the characters and the world they live in, and hopefully be entertained. I expect it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, which is what some would say about the anime but for me, it managed to keep me watching and have a good time doing it.
Cowboy Bebop (2021) is developed by Andre Nemec and Christopher Yost and directed by Alex Garcia Lopez and Michael Katleman. It is based on the 2001 anime of the same name created and animated by Sunrise under production team Hajime Yatate. The show follows the exploits of bounty hunters Spike Spiegel (John Cho), Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir) and Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda) as they capture criminals around the solar system. There’s trouble brewing care of the Syndicate, specially for Spike care of his nemesis Vicious (Alex Hassell) and an old flame named Julia (Elena Satine).
In the beginning, I started this show reluctantly. I know every fan of the original anime will be very critical about the way things look and about the casting, but I wanted to try to give it a fair watch. In the beginning, it took me a while to disengage this creation from the classic anime one, but eventually it found its footing with me. Yes, it does look like a cartoon, and that might be both a strength and a weakness. I found it seems to stop certain scenes just to achieve a particular still, specially in fights where action and tensions are created by constantly cutting from one shot to the next.
But eventually I stopped trying to see the anime and watched the show. And I think that it works after a few episodes in. Forget that the events and times in which people meet or things happen are in a different order. Took me a while to warm up to Cho as Spike. Shakir does get Jet Black’s voice and mannerisms from the start. Pineda’s Faye changes from nuisance to endearing. I actually had more issues accepting Hassell’s Vicious and specially Satine’s Julia.
It does work for me. The show starts uncovering each character’s past and present tribulations gradually. I did became invested on each backstory. Eventually Spike’s takes full center stage, and I’m on the fence how it actually turns out but no longer did I think it should match the classic version by any means. The show is has a comic-look neo-noir look with a retro futuristic quasi steampunk interpretation at science fiction where everything is old and beat up. The old time pop culture, specially music, is celebrated and kept alive.
Highly recommended. I’d say fans of the classic anime might be divided, but there should be room for this universe. Consider it an alternative version, parallel storyline if you must. Some episodes might try too close to resemble the original anime and try too hard, but the cartoonish look does have its moments specially when it’s trying to do its own thing. Worth a watch.
That will do for now.