Cowboy Bebop Anime Creator Shinichiro Watanabe Was Not A Fan Of The Netflix Adaptation

The opening scene Watanabe mentions is an abridged version of the opening for the “Cowboy Bebop” movie, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” (Watanabe directed said film). In both scenes, our anti-heroes Spike Spiegel and Jet Black are capturing a gang with bounties on their heads. Spike wanders into the scene, wearing headphones and cool as a cucumber, before they get caught in a stand-off.

In the movie, the setting is a convenience store, but in the Netflix version it’s Watanabe Casino — the director either didn’t notice or didn’t care for the compliment. The scene includes verbatim dialogue from the movie, but that just makes it feel uncanny, not faithful. Rather than the fluid fight choreography of the anime, with often unbroken coverage, the Netflix show has frequent cuts and close-ups to hide the obvious staging of the action.

Poverty and corrupt corporations were themes of the original “Cowboy Bebop,” but in the Netflix version, the leader of the bounties says out loud multiple times how much he hates big corporations. Rather than trusting its audience to pick up on themes, the Netflix “Bebop” tries to hold their hand and spell it out with dialogue (more on that later).

The scene diverges when one of the crooks blows a hole in the casino’s hull. From there, the scene homages the climax of “Aliens,” with the characters holding on as the vacuum of space grabs them. Apparently, the scene in “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” wasn’t sci-fi enough.

By turning off the series after this scene, Watanabe avoided the worst the show had to offer.

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