Netflix is adapting one of the most iconic anime of all time, Cowboy Bebop, and for fans, that’s both an exciting and nerve-wracking idea. Luckily, most footage we’ve seen so far indicates Netflix did right by the iconic series, even if Ed hasn’t made a grand appearance yet. The latest look at the series gave a ton of great callbacks, all of which have me hyped for the live-action adaptation.
Cowboy Bebop looks breathtaking and full of style, and it also has callbacks to the anime that show we’ll see some familiar settings, scenes, and characters along the way. If the series is half as good as these callbacks featured in the latest trailer, this is going to be a hit series for more than just fans of the original. Check out some of those callbacks!
New Tijuana is, perhaps, the area of Cowboy Bebop I’m most excited to see in live-action. The asteroid colony is the setting for the adventure “Asteroid Blues,” the first episode in the anime. In that episode, Spike and Jet pursue a drug smuggler who is in possession and using a highly dangerous combat drug known as “Red Eye.” It’s the episode that made me fall in love with the series when I randomly caught it late-night on Adult Swim in middle school, and it’s also just an excellent episode from start to finish that shows the magic of this series.
Spike Looking At A Picture Of Julia
There’s a couple of quick shots of Julia throughout the Cowboy Bebop trailer, but the best clear shot we have of Spike Spiegel’s mystery girl comes in the bar scene. Spike gazes at the picture of Julia before explaining why he had to step away from the Syndicate, and what he’s up to now. There’s a lot about Julia that we don’t need to spoil in this feature but suffice to say, she’s a big factor in a lot of what Spike does in the series.
The Head Of The Red Dragon Syndicate
I was curious about how Cowboy Bebop would represent the head of the Red Dragon Syndicate, as in the anime, they were three identical short big-headed old men. It’s the type of portrayal that translates very well in anime, but doesn’t look natural in something like a live-action series. With that said, Netflix made a great compromise in giving the Syndicate Head a giant mask that resembles the classic look.
The Rose From Spike’s Flashback
In the original Cowboy Bebop, the series opens with a scene from Spike’s past in which he’s walking down an alleyway with a bouquet of roses. A single rose falls into a puddle, and over time, we see that Spike had a gun inside the bouquet the entire time. The rest of the scene isn’t too important for what we’re discussing now because that scene with the rose in the puddle is shown in the anime at the end of almost every episode. When I saw it, I couldn’t help but sing “The real folk blues” because I so heavily associate it with the ending theme. I can’t wait to see the memory play out in live-action.
Mad Pierrot is one of the few recognizable bounties that appear in Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop trailer, which is interesting because he doesn’t arrive until relatively late in the original series. Pierrot underwent intense scientific experimentation, and as a result, he can fly and has basically the powers of a superhero. The bad news is that he had a real ax to grind against those who did experiments on him and murdered just about everyone involved or laid eyes on him. He’s absolutely one of the most notable bounties of the series, so I can’t wait to see how on point the portrayal is and why he’s arriving so early in this version.
Jet With His Bonsai Trees
Jet Black is, without a doubt, the most level-headed member of the Bebop crew. He used to be a cop, so he tends to be the one to rein Faye and Spike in when a mission gets too wild or is the voice of reason when the team needs to regroup and rethink things. A great indicator of Jet’s calm (or attempt to be calm) character was the bonsai collection he cultivated on the ship, so it’s cool to see some on the table in one of the scenes in the trailer. I expect Jet to remain the voice of reason in the adaptation and hopefully get one of his few standalone adventures featured in this series.
The Bebop Landing In Water
Spaceships typically fly in space, so it may be weird to see Cowboy Bebop’s ship, The Bebop, landing in water. This is actually not some grievous error, however, as the Bebop is actually an interplanetary fishing trawler which was obviously converted to do a lot more than just that. Seeing the Bebop pull out of space and into the water was always such a cool visual for me watching the anime, so it’s cool to see it looks just as awesome in the live-action series as well.
Vicious And Spike’s Iconic Showdown
Cowboy Bebop fans are likely salivating at each and every interaction between Vicious and Spike in the trailer, for reasons anyone who hasn’t seen the anime likely doesn’t want to know until they too know the full story. Suffice it to say, though, the scene shown in the trailer in front of stained glass is something that happens early in the series and part of the main reason Spike is on his journey. I’m beyond excited to see it play out in live-action and hope every interaction between these two characters is as epic as it was in the anime.
Spike And Faye At Each Other’s Throats
It wouldn’t be Cowboy Bebop if there wasn’t animosity between Faye and Spike. It’s hard to say if they ever come to a mutual understanding through this entire series, though they do have their moments of understanding from time to time in the original. Outside of those moments, it’s usually one stepping on the other’s toes, griping to Jet about something the other one did, or just playful ribbing. I’m glad to see the Netflix series kept this part of their relationship the same, as the streamer's track record with anime adaptations hasn’t been that great after Death Note.
The live-action Cowboy Bebop will premiere on Netflix on Friday, November 19. Get ready for some high-flying bounty hunting action by streaming the original in the meantime on Netflix (opens in new tab), Hulu, or Funimation!
Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.