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Cowboy Bebop review: Netflix drops classic anime into wacky cartoons

NS original Cowboy Bebop cartoon like a critically acclaimed band with an impeccable career in defining hits, and 2021 Cowboy Bebop was a ska-funk cover band that played through its hits. Players who take part in Netflix’s new blockbuster series will immerse themselves in the material, and viewers may even feel doubly excited when they see an old favorite reinterpreted with full enthusiasm. colour. But that initial charm couldn’t hide the fact that the singer only seemed to know about half the lyrics, and the guitarist couldn’t keep up with the melody.

The core premise of Cowboy Bebop More or less the same: Bounty hunters Spike Spiegel (John Cho), Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir) and Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda) zip around the solar system in a retrofitted fishing boat called the “Bebop” , hunt criminals for a living. While assassins or mafiosos are often on their tails, each member of Bebop’s crew also overcomes or tries to reconcile with their past traumas. Whether under the grainy crust of Mars or the sun-soaked bubbles of New Tijuana, life is fast approaching them.

From the costumes and makeup, to the set design and the music, this live-action incarnation of Cowboy Bebop prides itself on the original anime’s unflinching attention to surface details in an attempt to take it a step further. Changes to the back stories of the characters give way to new arcs that offer exciting developments and dimensions not seen in the original. The show expands the character of Julia (Elene Satine), who was Spike’s flame, in the way of the original. Cowboy Bebop never does, giving her a sense of history, presence, autonomy, and motivation beyond simply being the object of Spike’s affections or his longtime nemesis Vicious. In the hands of Alex Hassell, Vicious is still an absurd villain, but is expressed as a temper and hasty rather than a full-blown sociopath. More attention is also paid to the motives behind his conquest of power beyond power solely for the sake of power itself. The decision to bring back composer Yoko Kanno to perform the music for this new series demonstrates an understanding of how important her music is to the anime’s identity.

But the stark difference between the exaggerated tone of the Netflix series and that of the 26-episode original anime (and feature film continuity) is more like a decision by host, showrunner André Nemec to interpret the idea. imagine what cartoons would feel like going live- instead of creating a simpler version of Cowboy Bebop. This decision has been hit with the hardest of the series’ comedic endeavors, be it a painful pun about Jet Black’s rogue personality or a character named “The Eunuch” bragging about The power comes from castrating and eating the testicles of your enemies.

Mustafa Shakir as Jet Black in Netflix's Cowboy Bebop

Photo: Geoffrey Short / Netflix

Original Cowboy Bebop anime, conceived and produced by screenwriter Keiko Nobumoto, animation director Toshiro Kawamoto, lead animator Yutaka Nakamura, composer Yoko Kanno, and director Shinichirō Watanabe is a work of satire . The sci-fi westerns became increasingly influential in places as far afield as Aerosmith, Bruce Lee, David Bowie and Jean-Luc Godard, creating a sublime melancholy mixed with moments of action and suspense. lightly. Nemec’s series is more of a compilation of the original anime’s most notable scenes and moments than a point-to-point entertainment, but any references make it dwarfed by its predecessor. its. The new series takes what’s written in the original anime and renders it as text, while leaning towards a more melodramatic, raw, and clearly comical approach.

This is especially obvious in bold, but is ultimately missing Bebop the writers reoriented the character of the trio of men. Pineda’s Faye Valentine appeared significantly less confident. The amnesiac woman, instead of recreating herself after the loss and trauma, seems to be caught in the middle of that reconstruction, always haunted by her quest to reclaim her past and the identity that she lost. Faye in the live-action is clearly more vulgar than implicit, making her dialogue with profanity seem more juvenile than genuine, and generally more eager to maintains a working relationship with Spike and Jet.

John Cho presents himself well in his Spike Spiegel rendition, though his rendition seems more haunting and world-weary than fully resigned to the literal and metaphorical “death” own, in the original series. Jet Black, the former bounty cop who acted as an unofficial father figure for the dysfunctional family dynamics of the Bebop crew in the original anime, is actually a father figure in the live series. -action, tries to mend his relationship with his estranged daughter and ex-wife after his time in prison. These aren’t the sassy souls from the anime who whirl around each other through a wordless sense of loss, but community co-workers who shoot guns and go bowling together as they go Cross the bounty hunting stars. Feelings of disappointment and reflection on the past, qualities that made the Bebop crew feel multifaceted, feeling lost when the actors were tasked with tweaking their looks.

One of the most compelling aspects of the original Cowboy Bebop is its particular description of the future. While humanity has colonized the planets of the solar system after a catastrophe that rendered much of the Earth’s surface uninhabitable, those colonies themselves evolved to resemble terrestrial localities like New York, Hong Kong, Tijuana and Marrakesh. That choice of part of the production team infuses the anime world with a compelling sense of retro realism, allowing the show’s writers to learn about film noir genres and methods West while still existing in sci-fi mode.

While Netflix’s design Cowboy Bebop Strictly simulating some of the locations seen in the anime, the series themselves are often more of a caricature than actual places where people congregate and live. For a live-action production, ironically, the locations the characters visit seem flatter and more superficial than in the anime. Just like tunes, Netflix’s Bebop simulated through magnification and not enough to actually probe and explore its universe. The scenes themselves will feel detached from many contexts: the 10 episodes are shot between so many different planets that it can sometimes be difficult to remember exactly where these characters are at any given moment. or a certain rhythm. Even space travel is introduced so little throughout the series, that the conspicuous absence of any air combat involving Spike’s Swordfish II or Faye’s Red Tail itself can’t help but feel like a missed opportunity for the season.

The cast of the Netflix adaptation of Cowboy Bebop

Photo: Geoffrey Short / Netflix

Throughout season 1, Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop didn’t feel bored outside of Kanno’s soundscape and the company returned to contributing several tracks, new and old, to the live-action series. But even that only underscores how indebted the Netflix show is to the 1998 original – as much as the live-action. Cowboy Bebop trying to create its own identity and take on the characters and its respective universe Cowboy Bebop anime, the strongest part of the show is not what it adds, but what it derives from the original. It doesn’t have to be anime, it can’t be; but the key element that the new series lacks, and the original anime has shown so much, is confidence in one’s own voice. For all the inspiration it has drawn from other art and music forms, 1998 Cowboy Bebop feels organized into something entirely of its own. The new program only increases the volume.

There are weird colors, neon mixes and exaggerated action, real people Cowboy Bebop The series is an ambitious project in its own right. The creative team iterated on the storytelling and style geared towards Shinichirō Watanabe’s personality while trying to keep that story up to date for a global audience, ready to indulge. But in the process, the selections never found their own rhythm, and fans of the anime were forced to compare. Divorces with memories of the 1998 series might see something different in their humorous yet overly violent interpretation of the material, but as a blip in the timeline of the show. Cowboy BebopNetflix’s legacy, Netflix’s first live-action series is a failure, however noble and enjoyable. The truth may be, what works in cartoons often doesn’t, or simply can’t, work in live-action without consciously mocking itself at its own expense. Cowboy Bebop new evidence.

Cowboy Bebop premieres on Netflix on November 19

https://www.polygon.com/reviews/22778708/cowboy-bebop-review-season-1-netflix-2021 | Cowboy Bebop review: Netflix drops classic anime into wacky cartoons

Aila Slisco

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