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Netflix released its first look at the live-action reboot series, Cowboy Bebop. The series was first announced in 2017 and picked up by Netflix in 2018. Fans of the original 90’s Japanese anime finally get a look at how the show’s creators will bring to life the popular outer space-set western and its main characters. The series stars actor John Cho in the title role of Spike Spiegel. Alongside Cho is actor Mustafa Shakir as Jet Black and Daniella Pineda as Faye Valentine.

John Cho 'Cowboy Bebop' wearing headphones dressed as Spike Spiegel
John Cho as main character Spike Spiegel in ‘Cowboy Bebop’ | via Netflix

‘Cowboy Bebop’ was a 26-episode anime from 1998

The Japanese anime is a jazz-inspired and mind-bending neo-noir story of a team of bounty hunters who hunt the solar system’s most dangerous criminals. The Japanese anime was only on air for 26 episodes. But its success led to two mangas and an animated movie.

The series takes place in 2071 where the Earth is no longer inhabitable. Humanity has colonized neighboring rocky planets and moons. With the crime rate rising, the Inter Solar System Police (ISSP) creates a contract system allowing bounty hunters to bring criminals in for profit. The main protagonists are an exiled hitman, a former ISSP officer, a con artist, and a hacker working from a spaceship called BeBop. Interwoven in their journey as bounty hunters, they must confront their dark pasts and Spike’s enemy, Vicious, an ambitious criminal affiliated with the Red Dragon Syndicate.

John Cho leads the cast as Spike Spiegel

Turning an anime into a live-action comes down to how the characters look on screen. Cowboy Bebop has a distinct look as a sci-fi series. To ensure the live-action stays close to its original anime, Screen Rant confirms the show’s original producers, Sunrise Inc., are part of the project. In the first public photos of the live-action Cowboy Bepop reported by Variety, John Cho’s transformation into Spike is impressive.

Cho wears a replica of Spike’s suit from the anime, complete with his disheveled tie and collar. The anime character is known for his suave demeanor and crisp yet messy way of dressing. While Cho grew his hair to match Spike’s, the live-action version does not have the green tint like the anime character.

Netflix made one change to the character Jet Black, played by Mustafa Shakir. The original anime character has metal plates protruding from his shoulders, while the live-action version has the metal plates infused underneath his skin. Shakir perfectly portrays Jet Black’s long vertical facial scar and muscular physique.

Just as fans are captivated by con artist Faye Valentine in Cowboy Bebop, the live-action version stayed true to the character. Actor Daniella Pineda wears the same iconic yellow shirt and purple-tinted hair synonymous with Faye Valentine. Instead of Faye’s red shawl, the live-action version wears a red leather jacket.

Fans want to hear the anime’s original music and see certain characters

The released stills of the live-action Cowboy Bepop already gave hints that it will closely follow the anime. On Reddit, fans want to see the series include many of the anime’s original songs. As previously confirmed, fans get their wish that the anime’s composer, Yoko Kanno, is part of the project. One fan says, “Now give us some trailer with the music! It’s not Cowboy Bebop without some good Yoko Kanno’s music.” It is accurate as fans also hope to hear about Green Bird (Ballad of Fallen Angels) from episode 5.

Spike’s nemesis, Vicious, is confirmed to be played by actor Alex Hassell. But amongst the original characters, fans were surprised to learn the series has yet to include and cast Radical Ed. The anime character is picked up by Bebop early on in the series, along with super-corgi puppy Ein. Ein is already in action in the new series of photos.