Cowboy Bebop creator admits that Netflix live-action film is a disaster

Daniella Pineda (Faye Valentine), John Cho (Spike Spiegel), and Mustafa Shakir (Jet Black) as seen in the Cowboy Bebop’s Netflix adaptation (Image via Netflix)
Daniella Pineda (Faye Valentine), John Cho (Spike Spiegel), and Mustafa Shakir (Jet Black) as seen in the Cowboy Bebop’s Netflix adaptation (Image via Netflix)

Shinichiro Watanabe's Cowboy Bebop is a highly lauded cult classic sci-fi anime series that retains a huge fan base worldwide. Due to interminable admiration for the series, fans were immensely excited about the 2021 Netflix adaptation and had high expectations. However, the series eventually got on the list of the worst live-action adaptations and substantially fell short.

With Cowboy Bebop garnering a poor reception worldwide, Netflix canceled the adaptation three weeks after its debut. In a recent interview with Forbes, Watanabe shared his distaste towards the live-action adaptation, which sparked a controversy after he revealed he couldn't even make it past the opening scene as it was an unpleasant experience for him.


Cowboy Bebop Netflix adaptation is yet another live-action disaster, Watanabe claims

Netflix's 10-episode Cowboy Bebop received a 47% positive critics rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and a 60% positive audience score on the site from the fans. Moreover, the viewership plummeted 59% from its second week, starting November 29, 2022, and it became hopeless to expect the series to recover from the massive drop.

In a recent interview with Forbes, Shinichiro Watanabe, the director of the original Cowboy Bebop anime series, revealed that despite Netflix's request to review the adaptation, it was difficult for him to continue past the starting scene, which takes place at a casino.

Here's what Watanabe had to say about the Netflix adaptation:

“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.'”

He further added:

"I felt that maybe I should have done this. Although the value of the original anime is somehow far higher now.”

As Watanabe claims, despite being the critically acclaimed director of the original anime series, he wasn't made a part of the project, which is why the adaptation turned out to be a substandard live-action series like Dragon Ball: Evolution and Netflix's Death Note. Watanabe was only asked to be the project's consultant, and his comments on the manuscript were completely overlooked.

The creator finally resorted to just waiting and watching, hoping the adaptation miraculously doesn't disappoint the audience. Here's what he had to say about the adaptation during the 2019 interview:

“I have no choice but to pray and hope that it will turn out good.”

Shinichiro Watanabe was not bothered by the Netflix adaptation's poor response. However, he is hopeful that fans who were utterly disappointed will be back to binge on the classic anime to relive the old days.