Cowboy Bebop Anime Director Shares His Thoughts on the Netflix Series

Netflix’s live-action update of Cowboy Bebop didn’t go over well with viewers when it premiered in 2021. The general response from fans was that it failed to capture the spirit or excitement of its critically-acclaimed source material. However, no one sounds more disappointed than the original anime’s director, Shinichirō Watanabe, who helped launched the series via Sunrise in 1998. As it turns out, he couldn’t bring himself to watch anything beyond the new show’s first few minutes.

Watanabe is credited as an associate producer and consultant on the Netflix remake. Regardless, this may have been an overly generous appraisal of his actual involvement, because in a career-spanning interview with Forbes, he confessed that the producers didn’t give him much to do at all. 

“For the new Netflix live-action adaptation, they sent me a video to review and check,” said Watanabe. “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.”

“It was clearly not Cowboy Bebop and I realized at that point that if I wasn’t involved, it would not be Cowboy Bebop,” added Watanabe. “I felt that maybe I should have done this. Although the value of the original anime is somehow far higher now.”

Less than a month after the series premiered, Netflix officially cancelled Cowboy Bebop in December 2021. But in spite of the show’s critical failings, the streaming service remains undeterred from producing even more adaptations of beloved anime programs. Currently, Netflix is developing live-action takes on Avatar: The Last Airbender, One Piece, and YuYu Hakusho. A new series based on Death Note is in the works as well.

Do you agree with Watanabe’s thoughts on the live-action Cowboy Bebop series? Let us know in the comment section below!

Recommended Reading: Cowboy Bebop: The Anime TV Series and Movie: Pocket Guide

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.