'Cowboy Bebop' Will Be Adapted Into a Live-Action TV Series

Tuesday, 06 June 2017 - 12:23PM
Tuesday, 06 June 2017 - 12:23PM
'Cowboy Bebop' Will Be Adapted Into a Live-Action TV Series
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Image credit: Sony Pictures
As comic book adaptations continue to dominate both the big, and, increasingly, the small screen, studios are continuing to push forward with their efforts to make adaptations of manga and anime properties the next big thing.

Just days after Katsuhiro Otomo provided an update on the upcoming live action Akira movie, Variety has announced that Cowboy Bebop is getting a similar treatment, albeit in the form of a television series, rather than a fully fledged movie.

As a science-fiction series about a ragtag group of bounty hunters, there's a lot of similarities between Cowboy Bebop and Firefly, a show which debuted just a few years after the anime series, and which has left audiences wistfully wanting more sci-fi Western hijinks ever since. This being the case, there's definitely a precedent for a show like Cowboy Bebop doing well in live-action.

That said, there's more to Cowboy Bebop than just the potential to appease space western fans. The show is well known for its ridiculously catchy soundtrack, as well as its collection of colorful (and tragic) characters. What's more, the show's episodes often take long, meandering paths that end up feeling more like shaggy dog stories than tightly plotted adventures, which lends somewhat to the charm of the anime, but which, in the wrong hands, could be destined for simplification in order to meet the expectations of the typical American viewer.

Thankfully, from a writing perspective, it seems that this new show is in good hands. The adaptation is being penned primarily by Chris Yost, a comic author himself of no small reputation, who's familiar with writing characters that leap off the printed page. So skilled is Yost with these kinds of character-driven stories that he worked on the script for Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok, which, based on evidence from the trailers, is about as big, colorful, and over-the-top as any viewer could hope for.

The success of this Cowboy Bebop series is dependent on the new show capturing the spirit of its source material, rather than taking the easy route of framing itself as a new Firefly. Bebop was as much about style as it was about substance, and the subtleties of the characters, especially Spike and Faye, added more to the show than the space battles. If the show is given the freedom it needs to live up to its namesake, this might just be the breakthrough live-action anime adaptation that Western audiences have been waiting for.
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