Netflix’s 2021 live-action “Cowboy Bebop” remake faced cancellation after its first season, comprising 10 episodes. This marked a significant setback for a project intended to be a flagship series for the streaming service. Shinichirō Watanabe, the original director of the Japanese anime series, revealed in a recent Forbes interview that he discontinued watching the live-action Netflix remake after just one scene, as it failed to capture the essence of the anime classic he had contributed to.
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Watanabe shared, “For the new Netflix live-action adaptation, they sent me a video to review and check. It started with a scene in a casino, which made it very tough for me to continue. I stopped there and so only saw that opening scene.”
Watanabe expressed his dissatisfaction further, stating, “It was clearly not ‘Cowboy Bebop’ and I realized at that point that if I wasn’t involved, it would not be ‘Cowboy Bebop.’ I felt that maybe I should have done this. Although the value of the original anime is somehow far higher now.”
John Cho, who led Netflix’s remake, voiced his surprise and disappointment over the streaming service’s decision to cancel the show. He mentioned, “I was very warmed by the response [to the show]. I wish I could have contacted everybody and gotten hugs. I’m mystified a little bit about how you can connect with people that you don’t know doing your work, but I won’t question it. I will value it and treasure it. I’m just really deeply appreciative that anyone would care. It’s stunning to me…It was very shocking and I was bummed.”
Netflix’s “Cowboy Bebop” faced criticism from reviewers, with Variety’s Caroline Framke describing it as “Netflix bloat” and noting, “It tries to be so much all at once, and appeal to so many different potential audiences, that it ends up struggling to forge an identity of its own.” Despite a strong start with 74 million viewing hours in its first week, the series experienced significant declines in subsequent weeks, with a 59% drop in viewership in the second week.