This November, Netflix will unveil its long-gestating, live-action adaptation of the Cowboy Bebop anime. And if the opening credit sequence, which premiered throughout Netflix’s Tudum fan occasion in September, is any indication, the present will introduce audiences new and outdated to John Cho, Mustafa Shakir, and Daniella Pineda’s mirror renditions of Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, and Faye Valentine, together with a bunch of supporting characters.
Premiering on Japanese tv in 1998 earlier than airing within the West throughout the late-night animation block Adult Swim in 2001, Cowboy Bebop is considered a cross-cultural milestone within the historical past of Japanese animation. The sci-fi neo-noir sequence directed by Shinichirō Watanabe facilities on the misadventures of a band of bounty hunters with an infectious soundtrack that mixed jazz numbers with scintillating rock ballads and melancholic acoustic guitars. The unique 26-episode sequence is hallowed floor for a era of anime followers who got here of age across the flip of the century, and has been broadly hailed as one of many definitive gateway titles to the medium of anime.
Replicating the distinctive visuals of the sequence’ iconic opening title sequence with a brand new orchestration of composer Yoko Kanno’s theme music “Tank!,” the live-action sequence’ title trailer dropped a number of tantalizing visuals of a number of the unique anime’s most memorable characters and storylines. Poring throughout the trailer with eagle-eyed consideration, we’ve give you an inventory of eight must-see episodes of the unique anime sequence that you must watch earlier than the live-action adaptation premieres on Nov. 16. Then once more, you could possibly all the time simply watch the sequence in its entirety; it’s nonetheless wonderful even in any case these years, and streaming on Funimation, Hulu, and on Netflix beginning Oct. 21.
“Asteroid Blues,” the primary episode of the unique Cowboy Bebop anime, is alluded to with the looks of Asimov and Katerina Solensan, a pair fleeing an unnamed crime syndicate after stealing an experimental performance-enhancing drug referred to as “Bloody Eye.” Looking to promote sufficient of the brand new drug to their contacts on the asteroid of Tijuana (aka “TJ”), the pair inevitably cross paths with bounty hunter Spike Spiegel and his associate Jet Black as they flee to Mars in hopes of beginning a brand new life. Asimov’s proclivity for violence, exacerbated by his private use of Bloody Eye, drives a wedge between him and his spouse Katerina, who needs to do solely what is important to construct a greater life. It’s unknown how early within the live-action sequence the pair will make their look, however provided that their bounty within the sequence isn’t a very excessive one, one imagines they’ll be launched comparatively early on. As for the episode itself, “Asteroid Blues” is a wonderful introduction to the universe of Cowboy Bebop and sequence’ lead characters Spike Spiegel and Jet Black, establishing the sequence’ attribute mix of suspense, intrigue, and motion.
The menacing-looking lady within the floppy hat flanked by gasoline mask-wearing gunmen is Maria Murdock, the chief of an extremist animal rights group within the fourth episode of the sequence, “Gateway Shuffle.” Murdock, being a famous legal with a considerable bounty on her head, is taken in by Spike and Jet after she and her underlings inadvertently kill the goal they’d initially been monitoring. As calculating as she is deranged, Murdock makes for a harmful enemy for the Bebop crew whose ambitions are nothing wanting cataclysmic. “Gateway Shuffle” is probably finest remembered by followers of the sequence for for its pulse-pounding finale the place Spike and Faye Valentine, aboard their respective ships Swordfish II and the Red Tail, desperately try and shoot down a barrage virus-touting missiles launched by Murdock earlier than beating a hasty escape by means of a hyperspace gate solely seconds away from closing. That form of last-ditch, last-minute victory is what cements the Bebop crew because the form of protagonists you wish to root for. They could also be losers, however they get the job achieved.
“Ballad of Fallen Angels”
The picture of Spike Spiegel locked in a lethal draw together with his former friend-now-nemesis Vicious illuminated in opposition to a stained glass window, as seen within the fifth episode “Ballad of Fallen Angels,” ranks simply one of the crucial putting iconic pictures from the unique anime. The episode is thought primarily for introducing Vicious, a ruthless member of the Red Dragon Syndicate and Spike’s former pal, and for providing a number of the first glimpses of Spike’s previous earlier than he teamed up with Jet and have become a bounty hunter.
“Jupiter Jazz (Part 1 & 2)”
Mason Alexander Park, a non-binary actor recognized for his or her function within the National Broadway Tour of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, performs the character of Gren within the live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop i, and is briefly seen brandishing two pistols from behind a nightclub bar within the trailer. As seen within the two-part episode “Jupiter Jazz,” Gren is a saxophone participant for a bar on the moon of Callisto who beforehand fought in a struggle on the moon of Titan alongside Vicious, Spike’s nemesis and the sequence’ antagonist. Gren was implicated as a spy by Vicious and sentenced to jail. Unable to deal with the concept his former comrade betrayed and falsely accused him, Gren agreed to an experimental drug remedy to calm himself down, solely to develop breasts as an unintended aspect impact of the remedy. When his secret is found by Faye who confronts him about his gender, Gren replies, “I’m both at once and neither one.” Speaking of their function, Park describes their rendition of Gren as, “a Bowie-esque embodiment of 22nd century handsome and seductive beauty.”
“Jupiter Jazz” represents a turning level for Spike, Jet, and Faye; forming a rift between the trio that units every of them out on their very own journeys throughout Callisto earlier than bringing again collectively in a method that clarifies how these lonely, damaged individuals ever discovered one another within the first place.
The man with the afro doing cartwheels and karate stances is Shaft (no, not that Shaft), a bounty hunter who options prominently within the seventeenth episode. “Mushroom Samba” is without doubt one of the few episodes within the unique sequence to prominently heart on Ed, the child prodigy hacker who finagles her method aboard the Bebop, and Ein, the “data dog” that Spike and Jet rescue on the finish of “Stray Dog Strut,” the second episode of the sequence. We haven’t seen disguise nor hair of the live-action sequence’ rendition of the Ed character — we don’t even know the actor who performs them, not to mention whether or not they present up within the season in any respect. But the looks of a one-off character recognized fully for his function in an Ed-centric episode is a promising trace that we could not have to attend lengthy for the character’s introduction. “Mushroom Samba” is a hilarious mash-up of cartoon slapstick meets loving Blaxploitation homage that transforms a low-stakes bounty into an exhilaratingly madcap chase throughout the desert plains of Io.
“Pierrot Le Fou”
The ghoulish pale-faced determine seen sporting a prime hat and a Victorian neck ruffle is the psychic murderer “Mad Pierrot” Tongpu, who seems in “Pierrot Le Fou,” the twentieth episode of the unique Cowboy Bebop anime. The episode opens with the mysterious Tongpu floating above a nondescript Martian metropolis earlier than descending on his goal and his entourage of bodyguards, pelting their armored car with bullets fired from the bottom of his cane. Tongpu isn’t even a bounty goal within the episode, however when Spike inadvertently crosses paths with the murderer after an innocuous night time out capturing pool, he turns into the killer’s latest fixation and solely narrowly manages to flee together with his life. One of the few episodes of the present that dabbles in outright horror, “Mad Pierrot” is an iconic episode for its fierce cat-and-mouse climax whereby Spike and Tongpu have interaction in a cat-and-mouse combat throughout an deserted amusement park referred to as Space Land.
The man with the large Teddy Bear masks and the smiley-face bomb detonator is an allusion to the twenty second episode of Cowboy Bebop, “Cowboy Funk.” The episode opens with Spike about nab Ted Bower, an anti-capitalist terrorist who goes by the pseudonym “Teddy Bomber,” earlier than being interrupted by Andy; a wealthy, oafish, and stubbornly selfish bounty hunter who absolutely commits to the “cowboy” little bit of being a bounty hunter, white stallion and all. Andy confuses Spike for the Teddy Bomber, thus sparking an episode-long feud between the 2 as they frequently spare whereas trying to gather the true Teddy Bomber’s bounty. It’s comical for the truth that regardless of ostensibly being the antagonist of the episode, Ted is kind of handled as an afterthought — a truth which irritates nearly as a lot as being interrupted throughout his long-winded speeches.
The stack of televisions that appear like a Nam June Paik artwork exhibit are a visible reference to “Brain Scratch,” the twenty third episode of Cowboy Bebop, by which Faye, unbeknownst to remainder of the Bebop crew, goes undercover as an acolyte of the doomsday cyber-cult SCRATCH. The group’s led by the elusive Dr. Londes, a sinister self-help guru who mainly boils all the way down to a cross between Heavens Gate founder Marshall “Do” Applewhite meets Dr. Brian O’Blivion from 1983’s Videodrome. After catching wind of Faye’s plot to gather the bounty on Londes, Spike ventures on-foot to rescue Faye as Jet and Ed use a brand new VR-game headset to trace down clues to Londes’ whereabouts in hopes of nabbing him. It’s a enjoyable, albeit very freaky episode, one which faucets into the identical zeitgeist of turn-of-the-century tech anxiousness as related anime of its time like 1998’s Serial Experiments Lain.