Shinichiro Watanabe: It was ‘tough’ to watch Netflix’s ‘Cowboy Bebop’

“It definitely wasn’t ‘Cowboy Bebop,’ and I realized at that point that it wouldn’t be ‘Cowboy Bebop’ if I wasn’t involved.”

Right after 3, 2, 1, Shinichiro Watanabe couldn’t walk anymore.

The Cowboy Bebop anime creator revealed the Netflix live-action adaptation of the noir series is “tough” to watch. The short-lived series, starring John Cho, was canceled by the streamer three weeks after it premiered in November 2021.

“For the new Netflix live-action adaptation, they sent me a video to review and review,” Watanabe told Forbes. “It started with a scene in a casino, which made it very difficult for me to continue. I stopped there so only saw this opening scene. It definitely wasn’t ‘Cowboy Bebop’ and I realized at that point that it wouldn’t be ‘Cowboy Bebop’ if I wasn’t involved.”

He added: “I felt like maybe I should have done that. Although the value of the original anime is somehow much higher now.”

The series was billed as not a remake and received poor reviews.

“Once you have a successful title, you get a lot of requests to do something similar, and in this case something like ‘Cowboy Bebop,'” Watanabe said of his career. “I’ve been getting requests like this for more than 20 years. I understand the reasons behind these requests, but if I went down this path I would end up doing the same thing over and over again. Eventually people would get tired and lose interest in my work. I also feel like I have more variety to offer in myself. With that in mind, I have avoided trying similar things.”

Cowboy Bebop star Cho spoke about the shared fandom of the 1990s anime series, which debuted in the US in 2001, and the live-action remake.

“I was very touched by the response [to the show]. I wish I could have reached out to everyone and gotten hugs,” Cho said, adding of the cancellation, “I’m a little confused about how you can connect with people you don’t know at work, but I will i don’t question it. I will cherish and cherish. I’m just really deeply grateful that someone would take care of it. It’s overwhelming to me… It was very shocking and I was devastated.”

Shortly after its cancellation in December 2021, more than 145,000 fans signed a petition to bring “Cowboy Bebop” back for a second season. But the series’ limited fan base wasn’t enough to convince Netflix to reverse its decision.

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Lindsay Lowe

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