Netflix's 'Cowboy Bebop' Reboot Is a Careful Homage to the Original Anime

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

When it comes to the world of anime, Cowboy Bebop isn't a name you casually toss around. No, the ne-noir science fiction series is in the most beloved, upper echelon. The original 26 episode run that debuted at the turn of the millennium has been lauded as something close to a masterpiece. Which is all to say, Netflix's live action reboot, which drops on the streamer this week, is lurking in dangerous territory. How do you take a series with such a fervent fanbase and try match the original?

The series follows the original plot pretty closely, as the super chic Spike Spiegel (played by John Cho) navigates the universe as a bounty hunter alongside Jet Black (played by Mustafa Shakir). It's clear Netflix wanted to try to capture the series' most recognisable moments and give them a new fully human look, which should be endearing to longtime followers. Add that in with a costuming and make-up department that has made a painstaking effort to nail the stylings of everyone's animated counterparts and you have at least half the equation down.

As the series makes its rounds over the next few weeks, here's a guide to who is bringing the world of Cowboy Bebop to life and how they stack up against their inspiration.

John Cho as Spike Spiegel

John Cho is sliding into the cool, oversized suit of Spike Spiegel. He even grew his hair out to fully embrace the aesthetic.

Mustafa Shakir as Jet Black

You can't have Bebop without a captain, which is where Jet Black steps in. Mustafa Shakir fits the role perfectly, cybernetic arm and all.

Daniella Pineda as Faye Valentine

Does Spike want to kill Faye most of the time? Sure. But you can't take away from how important she is to the team. Daniella Pineda steps into the bombastic character's shoes.

Alex Hassell as Vicious

Nothing is worse than when your high school friends don't get along with your college friends. Or in this case, your super dangerous criminal friends meeting your crime-fighting bounty hunting friends. You get the metaphor. Spike's nemesis is being played by Alex Hassell.

Elena Satine as Julia

Julia is a woman caught in the middle. Satine brings the femme fatale to life, as she traipses between Spike and Vicious's affections.

Charlie & Harry as Ein

Charlie, Harry, and Ein are too good for this world. Ein is the best character in the series (don't come for me), so Charlie and Harry: don't fuck this up.

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