Netflix gets criticized for not pushing its original content hard enough, but it’s putting a lot of work into making sure you know about its live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop. And now, with the first trailer, it’s easy to see why. This trailer comes with a title (“The Lost Session”) and operates more like a mini-movie, designed to show us just what we’re in for. The innovative style is sure to draw comparisons to other comic book properties like Scott Pilgrim VS. the World, but this trailer has clear roots in the science fiction/western/neo-noir anime genre mashup that made the original so beloved. Our bounty hunter heroes Spike Spiegel (John Cho), Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir) and Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda) exist in comic book-like panels, but they can interact with them, move between them and even use them as weapons. It is, as series showrunner André Nemec recently explained, a style meant “not to ape the anime but to live in the spirit of the anime.”
Looks pretty fun! Past attempts at adapting anime to live action have been a pretty mixed bag, from the big budget flop of Ghost in the Shell to 2019’s Alita: Battle Angel. Then again, the Wachowskis’ Speed Racer was a triumph, and utilized similar innovative filming techniques we’re seeing in the trailer for Cowboy Bebop so, who knows? Maybe this will be the one that breaks the curse.
The original series, currently available on Netflix, is a classic of the medium. It takes place in a not-so-distant future in which most of humanity has abandoned earth for the relatively more livable colonies on Mars and the moons around Jupiter. But wherever humanity goes, crime must follow, and rogue-ish bounty hunters called cowboys roam the spaceways, looking to bag crooks for big rewards.
Cowboy Bebop will drop on Netflix on November 19.