Cowboy Bebop creator despised Netflix version after one scene

Cowboy Bebop anime director and creator creator Shinichiro Watanabe did not like the live-action Netflix version and could not watch past the first opening scene.

Renowned animation director Shinichiro Watanabe, known for his work on Macross Plus, Cowboy Bebop, and Samurai Champloo, among other projects, recently sat down for an interview with Forbes. The conversation naturally gravitated towards Cowboy Bebop, delving into the topic of the live-action Netflix adaptation. Watanabe’s sentiments regarding the series were far from positive, as he revealed that he couldn’t bear to watch beyond the opening scene. In fact, he outright expressed that the Netflix version could not truly be considered Cowboy Bebop.

When discussing the live-action adaptation, Watanabe shared, “For the new Netflix live-action adaptation, they sent me a video to review and check. It started with a scene in a casino, which made it very tough for me to continue. I stopped there and so only saw that opening scene. It was clearly not Cowboy Bebop, and I realized at that point that if I wasn’t involved, it would not be Cowboy Bebop. I felt that maybe I should have done this. Although the value of the original anime is somehow far higher now.” The final sentence of his statement carries quite a subtle yet potent critique, doesn’t it?

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Watanabe’s clear disapproval of the Netflix adaptation sheds light on the fact that he had minimal involvement in the series, despite being credited as a consultant. As early as 2019, he had already expressed reservations, stating, “I read the initial concept and provided my opinions, but I’m not sure if they will be reflected in the final product.” Ultimately, the intellectual property of Cowboy Bebop belongs to Sunrise, meaning Watanabe has never had any legal ownership of the show.

It is worth noting that Netflix canceled the series after just one season, indicating that Watanabe’s reservations may not solely stem from resistance to change. Nevertheless, there were defenders of the show. Have you watched more of the Netflix adaptation than the creator of Cowboy Bebop himself?

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