Cowboy Bebop Creator Avoided Netflix Adaptation

Shinichiro Watanabe, the creator of the acclaimed anime series Cowboy Bebop, admitted that he couldn’t bring himself to watch the Netflix live-action adaptation beyond the opening scene. In an interview with Forbes, Watanabe shared his experience with the adaptation and his reasons for not continuing.

Netflix had sent Watanabe a video of the adaptation for his review and feedback. However, he found it difficult to proceed after witnessing the casino scene that marked the beginning of the series. Watanabe decided to stop there, revealing that the opening scene clearly deviated from the essence of Cowboy Bebop. It was at that point he realized that without his involvement, the adaptation would never truly capture the spirit of the original. Watanabe expressed a sense of regret, contemplating whether he should have taken a more active role in the project. He also acknowledged that the value of the original anime had become even more evident in light of the adaptation.

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While Watanabe was initially brought on as a consultant for the Netflix adaptation, he mentioned in a 2019 interview that his suggestions and comments on the manuscript were likely not taken into account. Despite his concerns, he expressed hope that the adaptation would turn out well, acknowledging that he had no choice but to rely on faith.

Unfortunately, Netflix’s live-action Cowboy Bebop failed to win over fans and received a lukewarm reception from critics. The series was met with mixed reviews and ultimately faced cancellation before a second season could be produced.

Watanabe’s admission highlights his deep connection to the original anime and his disappointment with the adaptation’s departure from its essence. His hesitance to watch further serves as a reflection of his belief that without his involvement, the true spirit of Cowboy Bebop could not be captured on screen.

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