It could be one of Netflix’s biggest flops: here are some of the reasons for the resounding failure of the Cowboy Bebop series. Three weeks later, Cowboy Bebop will not make a date on Netflix. Except, maybe, in the book of platform chess. Canceled after season 1, the series received very strong reviews.
Cowboy Bebop: Too American For An Adaptation?
Because with Cowboy Bebop, success seemed assured. Among the favorites in Japan, this anime mixes suspense, humor. Above all, it is full of styles that directors would have enjoyed exploring. But the adaptation did not work. However, Netflix had given itself the means to achieve a real coup. First, by securing the services of the original creator, Shinichiro Watanabe. But also by engaging Yoko Kanno, a famous composer for much-renowned anime. A shock team.
Despite everything, the very American side of this anime seems to have caused some concerns. This explains the buzz during the first week after the release, before interest collapsed, leaving room for fairly sharp criticism. Fans accuse the Netflix screenwriter of having changed the mind of Cowboy Bebop far too much. And first that of its flagship character, Spike Spiegel. Loved in the anime, he makes himself a little hateful on the show.
Indeed, fans have known him as a bounty hunter to earn money when he has no other choice in his spare time. Neither very lively nor hardworking, he becomes endearing to all anime fans with a very marked antihero side.
Netflix: Too Far From An Original?
This time around, the Cowboy Bebop hero looks a far cry from who he was in the anime. He was almost happy to kill, and he didn’t keep the character traits that made him so famous with fans. He doesn’t look alike anymore. Hungry for bounties and revenge, he suddenly becomes much less likable. Still, Netflix had scored points. Mainly by having the actors dub by the voice actors of the original anime. But success in form is not worth that in substance.
Fans have therefore struggled to immerse themselves in history. A lot of them find it too far from the original. While animes are often built in the opposition between the hero and his rival, this one loses its flavor. Fans saw nothing but the daily life of three bounty hunters and one web hacker. Not enough to make it a star series. Especially since Netflix has tried to make a very inclusive series with Cowboy Bebop, the fans got a bit lost in it.
Faye Valentine and Gren thus become queer through the eye of the camera. Jet Black and Annie, for their part, become colored characters. At the same time, they weren’t in the anime. What still forces the trait of an Americanized series.
Change of physique, change of character: it doesn’t seem very easy to follow. Even the performances of the chosen actors, in particular Daniella Pineda, Mason Alexander Park, or Mustafa Shakir, will not change anything: Cowboy Bebop will have lasted three weeks.