'Cowboy Bebop' Review: A decent watch aside from the odd wig choices

Netflix's 'Cowboy Bebop' certainly deviates from the source material, placing focus on Spike's time in the Syndicate

                            'Cowboy Bebop' Review: A decent watch aside from the odd wig choices
Alex Hassell as Vicious and John Cho as Spike Spiegel in 'Cowboy Bebop' (GEOFFREY SHORT/NETFLIX 2021)

When it comes to anime live actions, there isn't so much good as the bad and the ugly. Fans have been burned far too many times to trust any remake (yes, we're looking at you, 'Dragonball: Evolution' and Netflix's 'Deathnote'). But then again, it would be unfair to give an adaption a fair chance without seeing what it has to offer (or doesn't). Curious to know if 'Cowboy Bebop' breaks the curse? Continue reading to find out.

If you'd rather stick to animes than live-actions, here are a few you can check out on Netflix -- 'Yasuke', 'Castlevania', 'Record of Ragnorok' and 'Seven Deadly Sins'.


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With a total of 10 episodes, there is a fair share of reasons why this live-action adaption doesn't fair too well, to begin with. The CGI seems lacking, even though it is a bit exciting to see Bebop and The Swordfish II in action. Then there are the odd wig choices -- a strange thing to pick up on but be it Vicious (Alex Hassell), Faye (Daniella Pineda) or Julia (Elena Satine), it's all a bit too hard to ignore. And then there is the acting. In 'Cowboy Gospel', both Jet (Mustafa Shakir) and Spike (John Cho) seem stiff -- it just doesn't translate into the relationship the anime established between the two. That being said, there is a bit of an upward progression as the series ventures further on. The source material diverges in terms of storyline, choosing to focus on the relationship between Spike, Julia and Vicious. Not much is known about Vicious in the anime. It is heavily implied that he does have a connection with Julia. However, the anime keeps it ambiguous, while people have speculated it might have been romantic. The series doesn't take such liberties as it paints a clear picture of the love triangle between Vicious, Julia and Spike.


Moreover, it breaks down Vicious as a character himself. His main goal is to be head of the Syndicate, even though he is heavily incompetent, always in need of saving by Spike. On the other hand, Spike believes he owes his life to Vicious, as he is the one who saved him back when they were kids. This co-dependent relationship is put to the test with Julia thrown in the mix. Vicious's need to be on top and loyalty to the Syndicate is not far from his anime counterpart, although the live-action version takes on a life of its own beyond that. Overall, the series certainly picks up towards the second half of the episodes. The key takeaway is that it makes for a decent watch if you judge it as a standalone, with the shadow of its immensely popular source material hanging overhead.

'Cowboy Bebop' preimeres on Netflix on November 19, 2021. 

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