Adapting anime and manga properties is no easy feat. Not only do you have to overcome adapting a project from a different medium, but you also have to adapt it from an entirely different culture. Something that makes sense to a Japanese person may come across as stupid and illogical to an American viewer, and that’s not even taking into account the cultural mythology that a lot of anime pulls from. As such, the studios need to be picky about what they decide to bring over. What can they adapt that is both popular and not so reliant on knowing Japanese culture?
Hollywood is trying their hand with a few properties right now. Earlier this year, we saw the release of the underwhelming Ghost in the Shell, but later this year, we’ll be seeing the release of the Netflix original movie, Death Note. However, one series that’s always been prime for a live-action treatment is Cowboy Bebop. The series is pretty much a western in space (set to jazz music), and as such, has a great deal of crossover appeal — in fact, the original series didn't do so well in Japan, and only became a classic once it hit Western audiences.
Variety is now reporting that the show is set to be adapted by Tomorrow Studios, the company responsible for the upcoming Snowpiercer series.
On board to write the series is Chris Yost, best known for his work with Thor: The Dark World, as well as upcoming films Silver & Black and Thor: Ragnarok. Given the writer’s ties to animation, one can assume he may have a bit of a reverence for the source material, which is definitely a good thing.
The official synopsis for the original anime series is below:
“Explore the far reaches of the galaxy in this undeniably hip series that inspired a generation – and redefined anime as an indisputable art form. The Bebop crew is just trying to make a buck. This motley lot of intergalactic loners teams up to track down fugitives and turn them in for cold hard cash. Spike is a hero whose cool façade hides a dark and deadly past. The pilot Jet is a bruiser of a brute who can’t wait to collect the next bounty. Faye Valentine is a femme fatale prone to breaking hearts and separating fools from their money. Along for the ride are the brilliant, but weird, hacker Ed and a super-genius Welsh Corgi named Ein. On their own, any one of them is likely to get lost in the sprawl of space, but together, they’re they most entertaining gang of bounty hunters in the year 2071.”
Obviously, there are very few details as to what this series will entail, but it will be interesting to see if they’ll work to extend its run to multiple seasons, as the 26-episode series closed things out pretty hard. But we’re sure they’ll find a way to make it work. They’ll likely just play out that overarching storyline over the course of the entire series, embellishing on it as they go and eventually closing out the series with it, as the original did.
This isn't the first time Cowboy Bebop has been looked at for a live-action adaptation. Back in the late 90s and early 2000s, there was going to be a live-action film starring Keanu Reeves in the role of Spike Spiegel, but that (thankfully) got canned due to budget concerns. It'll be interesting to see how this turns out, as TV is a much better medium for the property (though the 2001 animated film wasn't half bad, so long as you already know the characters).
What do you think of this news? Are you excited to see Cowboy Bebop in live-action form, or does this show have absolutely nothing to gain from a new interpretation? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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