‘Cowboy Bebop’: Where to Watch the Anime Before the Live-Action Series Comes Out

With a live-action Cowboy Bebop coming to Netflix in November, the anime is likely to see a resurgence in popularity. Released in 1998, the original series has become something of a classic. With only 26 episodes, it told a story that stuck with viewers long after the final installment ended. Now, longtime fans and newcomers alike will be able to revisit that tale in live-action. Before they do, they might want to watch the original Cowboy Bebop — but where can they find it?

Netflix’s live-action ‘Cowboy Bebop’ will expand on the anime

'Cowboy Bebop' live-action stars Daniella Pineda as Faye Valentine, John Cho as Spike Spiegel, and Mustafa Shakir as Jet Black
‘Cowboy Bebop’ live-action stars Daniella Pineda, John Cho, and Mustafa Shakir | Nicola Dove/Netflix

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Netflix’s live-action iteration of Cowboy Bebop won’t be an exact copy of the anime. In fact, the show’s creators have repeatedly emphasized their desire to build on the events of the original — not rehash them frame by frame. Showrunner André Nemec believes it will successfully pay homage to the anime without changing or directly copying it.

During a conversation with Entertainment Weekly, Nemec promised to dig more deeply into the characters and storylines introduced in the original Cowboy Bebop:

“I think that the poetic nature of the anime absolutely allowed for us to mine the archetypal nature of the characters and dig out deeper histories that we wanted to explore — and answer some of the questions that the anime leaves you with.”

Of course, if the live-action Cowboy Bebop will differ slightly from the anime, viewers will need to be familiar with both in order to compare them. Where can they find the original ahead of the Netflix show’s premiere?

The anime isn’t currently streaming on Netflix, but it will be soon

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Despite the live-action series being a Netflix original, the Cowboy Bebop anime isn’t currently streaming on the platform. Having both iterations of the story in the same place would certainly prove convenient, and Netflix plans to bring the anime to its platform on Oct. 21.

Subscribers who want to watch Cowboy Bebop in the meantime will need to track it down on another service. It complicates the matter of preparing for the new release, but several other streamers do have the anime.

Where to watch ‘Cowboy Bebop’ before the live-action series

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Those hoping to find Cowboy Bebop on one of the more mainstream platforms can stream the 26-episode anime on Hulu. The streamer offers a month-long free trial, which should give viewers enough time to finish the show. Unlike the live-action Cowboy Bebop, which will feature hour-long episodes, the anime proves a pretty quick watch.

Anyone subscribed to Crunchyroll and Funimation will also have access to the anime ahead of the Netflix show. The series is available in its entirety on both platforms.

Finally, those who’d rather not deal with a subscription can rent the original Cowboy Bebop using Google Play or purchase the series on Amazon Prime Video for $5.99.

Whatever route viewers take, they’ll want to get started on the anime before the adaptation comes out. Netflix’s live-action Cowboy Bebop arrives on Nov. 19, 2021.

This article was updated with new information on Oct. 14 at 5:05 p.m.