For those who know me, you know I was going to say something about this. Cowboy Bebop is one of the first anime series and movie that I fell in LOVE with completely, to the point where I purchased the movies and had the soundtrack. (I really need to get the series, manga, soundtrack, and movie when we get a place.)
The series was the perfect mix of sci-fi, action, and slice-of-life show I had ever seen. The soundtrack was AMAZING. Now that Netflix is going to release a live-action adaptation, I am going to look at the first-looks and give my impressions.
So, saddle up Space Cowboy, and let’s get to it.
Spike, like all the characters in the anime, has a signature look. This look is crucial to nail for the live-action to feel authentic.
His leisure suit and palette are there. The pistol is NOT his signature pistol. They missed the mark on that one.
Now for the actor and the overall look, I KNOW you are not going to find someone that will look EXACTLY like Spike, and I could be disingenuous and say if the MCU can do it with Tony Stark, Netflix can do it here, but a true spitting image of an animated or drawn character is like catching lightning in a bottle. It is VERY rare.
Yes, I am going to be a LITTLE nitpicky here. It is Spike, the main character, after all.
First, Spike looks more European than Japanese, but when you factor in he was inspired by a Japanese persona, I will let this slide.
Suit and gun aside, what stands out to me is the hair. Spike has disheveled hair. It’s straight, not curly. Spike does NOT have an afro. This is not good for me.
I’ve seen Cho in the JJVerse Star Trek and he was decent, but it has yet to be seen if he can pull off Spike’s laid-back, aloof manner.
Also, he doesn’t have a cigarette in his mouth. This is also part of the signature look.
Overall, this is meh for a first impression. It’s average and nothing to write home about.
I am not usually one to throw around buzzwords, but they blackwashed Jet. Sorry, but they did. I don’t really know how I feel about that.
For those of you who are not familiar with the lore, Jet is a former police officer, strategist, and pilot of the Bebop, which is the ship. He has wisdom that he shares and is backup when needed.
He is gruff, grizzled, and the oldest member of the Bebop crew.
He doesn’t look older than Spike. This is a problem.
Palette is there. The signature facial hair is not quite what I would like. I like his arm.
The belt should not be there.
This is off to me.
IF the actor proves to have the attitude needed to pull Jet off, then I might let the blackwashing slide.
I will have to wait and see.
Faye, the Controversial One
Ah, Faye, the Femme Fatale, the lady with no luck, the woman out of time.
It seems like every time there is a reboot or live-action adaptation, there is ONE character that is singled out to be inaccurate or “manly”.
Faye Valentine struck the chord loudly.
There is nothing of Faye in the live-action adaption’s first look.
I did this one backward for a reason. This is Faye in the anime.
This is the toned-down version of Faye in the series. The palette is not vibrant. It’s not really there AT ALL. It’s drab, dull, and washed out.
When you look at a live-action character, you WANT to be able to recognize who it is. I look at this rendition and would NOT have a clue as to who it should be if it was taken out of context.
For all intent and purposes, it’s just a model in a photoshoot showing off an outfit. This is not Faye.
BUT YOU CAN’T MOVE IN THE ANIME COSTUME!!!
I’ve seen the above excuse many times. If the costume is impractical, HOWEVER do cosplayers get around cons? How do they cope? How do they WALK, POSE, or even BREATHE? Give me a break.
Most of us who have seen this happen before with a character KNOW why Netflix did this. We know it was to “avoid the male gaze”. It’s the only explanation.
Now, if the actress didn’t feel comfortable wearing it, maybe they should have gotten someone else.
If they wanted to change the outfit, they should have kept the elements that screamed femme fatale and the palette. You CAN make a sexy costume that covers a bit more, but if you take away the signature palette and the signature look, you have erased the character completely. They can CALL her Faye, but it’s not Faye.
At least Ein is still a Corgi and the soundtrack will be there. They haven’t shown us Ed, and that makes me nervous.
Until next time,
Anissa “Maddy” Walker