The Problem with Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop

… is not Faye’s costume and totally changed character. Neither is it John Cho’s age, Jet Black’s failed family man or Radical Ed’s gender swap from girl to non-binary. Nor any of the other swapped characters. All that wouldn’t stop Cowboy Bebop from being an enjoyable show, if you’re not a die-hard fan of the anime. Coz in that case nothing could be done and you should never ever even attempt to watch a live action adaptation. Clear, no?

Kinda good people: Spike, Faye and Jet

What is really in the way of Bebop becoming a truly exciting show is its structure and story-telling. Lifting two characters from Spike’s criminal past, namely Vicious and Julia, that mostly stayed in the background as looming threats, into almost each and every session of the Netflix show. In the original they only became real parts of the show in the the last two sessions. And they sealed Spike’s unfortunate end. And this is a shame for more than just one reason. They were also completely wrong typed. The sinister, dark Vicious, a character we didn’t need to know anything about other than he’s really vicious. Well as a fleshed out character he looks more like a drama queen, a little crybaby. And little helpless and downtrodden Julia, under Netflix’ reign, turns out to be a scheming bitch. That takes away from both figures and makes the whole show so much less endearing.

Vicious ahole: Vicious

Although Cowboy Bebop always had the Vicious/Julia storyline providing a kinda breadline all the way through the series, the structure was very episodic. You could, for the most part, watch the show in no particular order. Another thing that made it so great and easily digestible. Don’t get me wrong, the Cowboy Bebop Movie has its place in between both seasons, as episode 13b. But it’s not too important to watch it out of succession either.

Manipulative bish: Julia

Well, we can’t be this free-floating with the Netflix Bebop, can we. This adaptation follows the Vicious/Julia plot more closely than our 3 always broke bounty hunters, which takes a lot of fun out of the concept.

Hey, you’ve watched Cowboy Bebop? The anime or the live action, or both? What do you think? Comments go, as always, in the love letter section below this writeup.


  1. I haven’t seen the anime. I did watch the Netflix version. I thought the betrayal by Julia was forced as was a lot of the “what should have been great” humorous dialog. It didn’t flow. The betrayal just sort of flatlined the entire series. I always felt pulled out of the immersion. I wanted to love the show. I’m sort of indifferent about it now. I can’t quite figure out why it didn’t gel in post production editing. Maybe the next episodes can pull it out of the circular file.

    Liked by 1 person

    • /me nods in agreement. The Vicious/Julia ark was totally overdone. Dark threats are best kept in the dark. Only there they can fully unfold their evilness. Darth Vader lost a lot of his appeal when they flashed out his character and showed him as a young jedi. Did you know the greatest villain of all times had a combined screentime of 7 minutes in the first trilogy? Use evil sparsely for better impact. One of the few things George Lucas did right.
      And all the WW2 films work best without having to show Hitler in each and every scene.
      Otoh I gotta say Julia’s betrayal was clear to sense already some episodes before the finale. Hubby and me were not surprised … but also not amused.
      The whole dramatisation didn’t gel for us.

      Now is the time for you to finally watch the anime series, Kewl ToyZ in the Attic. πŸ™‚

      And the movie, to play in between both seasons:

      And, as always, don’t forget to activate your VPN! πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

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