John Cho is perfection as bounty hunter Spike Spiegel. [credit:
It’s a daunting task to create a live action series out of one of the most trailblazing, influential anime series of the last 25 years. That would be Cowboy Bebop, a stylish, genre-busting neo-noir space western that earned universal acclaim when it debuted in 1998. Count yours truly among its many admirers. So I had some reservations about Netflix’s decision to adapt the original into a live-action streaming series—why mess with perfection?
Diehard purists likely won’t be happy; the new series is a different beast. But I found that Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop mostly struck a balance between preserving the most beloved elements of the anime and remixing them in fresh, intriguing ways for a new dramatic format. Is it flawless? Hardly. But it’s still pretty darn entertaining.
(Spoilers for the 1998 anime series below. Some spoilers for the live-action series, but no major reveals—except for one smallish one at the very end. We’ll give you a heads-up when we get there.)