Netflix’s ‘Cowboy Bebop’ Adaptation Will Make a Necessary Change to a Key Character

Cowboy Bebop is one of the most beloved Japanese anime of all-time and is credited for helping the genre gain increased popularity in America. The 26-episode, or sessions, anime follows futuristic bounty hunters Spike Spiegel and Jet Black as they travel through space in their ship the Bebop. The duo meets a variety of eccentric characters, both friends and foe, as they hunt the most dangerous criminals in the galaxy. The anime is currently streaming on Hulu, but another streaming service, Netflix will soon have a live-action adaptation. Remakes of anime shows with real actors are a rising popular trend in the entertainment industry, especially by the evolving content creating platforms. The remake’s creative staff has created waves with recent comments about changes that will be made to characters in the live-action version of the show. This has caused fans to ask, what changes will be made and why are these changes needed? 

Cowboy Bepop still
Cowboy Bepop Still/ cowboybebop via Instagram

What are the challenges of adapting anime to live-action? 

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Anime shows and movies are popular because of the limitless possibilities that the form allows. When an anime show is remade with real people, there are many changes that must be made. One of the main changes that has to be made is to the look of adapted characters, which can be a challenging aspect. It is very difficult to cast an actor that looks exactly like the animated character that they play. Even if they look similar, the voice, mannerisms, and overall feel of a character are just as hard to capture. Many animes are written in Japanese, which can cause nuances in the story and dialogue to be lost in translation, as these remakes are mainly in English. This has caused a push against live-action remakes by long-time anime fans. One beloved anime adaptation that hopes to avoid this trend is Cowboy Bebop, which is set to become a Netflix live-action original in 2021. 

Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop adaptation 

The streaming giant has released the live-action adaptation versions of popular animes Death Note, Bleach, and FullMetal Alchemist, and is set to release a remake of Cowboy Bebop. As are required for all live-action adaptations, there will be changes made in the Netflix version of the show. A major part of the original anime is the heavy cigarette smoking habit that almost all the characters share. This will not be included in the Netflix version, which will be changed in order to reflect modern feelings about the dangers of tobacco use. There will be more broad challenges for making an effective live-action remake of the anime. Creating an adaptation that is an exact shot for shot remake of any piece of media is boring, and largely ineffective. Many of the Netflix anime adaptations, and other original series, have been dismissed by fans and critics alike. Both the streaming service and fans hope that Cowboy Bebop remake is a step up from some of the other live-action adaptations that have been previously released. One of the changes that will certainly be included in the Netflix adaptation is a costume change for one of the animes most prominent female characters, Faye Valentine. 

Needed changes for the character Faye Valentine 

One of the biggest, and most necessary, changes that will be in the Netflix remake is different costuming for the character Faye Valentine who will be played by Danielle Pineda. Faye is a bounty hunter and one of the main characters in the anime. She joins forces with the Spike and Jet, much to the dismay of the two men. The character is known for her revealing costume in the original anime. The scanty outfit is one of the changes that will be made in the upcoming Netflix adaptation. In an interview with Gizmodo, the show’s writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach said that Faye’s costume has to be different from the animated version as “we need to have a real human being wearing that.” The new costume will be a toned-down version, and the character of Faye should remain similar. Fans of the original Cowboy Bebop will have to wait and see how the changes to the show will look and affect the popular anime.