Landmark anime’s reimagining isn’t winning over everyone in the franchise’s home country.

To slightly tweak the old saying, when it comes to Western-produced live-action adaptations of anime franchises “Pics or it isn’t really happening” is a philosophy that won’t often steer you wrong, as there’s a long list of series whose promised human-actor versions never materialized. Netflix’s live-action Cowboy Bebop, though, is going to avoid that fate, and the streaming service has finally released its first photos of the core cast in costume.

Right there we see bounty hunter buddies Spike (played by John Cho), Jet (Mustafa Shakir), and Faye (Daniella Pineda), plus data dog Ein, strolling down a back alley of what fans with good eyes and good memories will recognize is Mars, as evidenced by the neon sign for the C’est la Vie pool hall, as seen in Episode 20, “Pierrot le Fou,” of the original 1998 anime TV series.

▼ The Bebop crew chilling on the couch of the Bebop starship

As for costuming, Netflix is staying loyal to Spike’s side-buttoned suit jacket, popped collar, and lazily loose tie. There’s also a shot of the mafia enforcer-turned-cowboy striding through the aftermath of a gunfight in a church, which brings to mind the fantastically kinetic action scene in the anime’s “Ballad of Fallen Angels” episode where Spike squares off against his nemesis Vicious.

Jet, complete with prosthetic arm, is also dressed pretty closely to how he was in the anime, though with drabber fabric colors…

…while Faye’s costume has gone through the most extensive retooling, either because Netflix felt the anime version’s revealing getup is no longer appropriate or simply because the threshold at which an amount of on-screen exposed skin becomes distracting is lower for live-action than it is for anime.

While the live-action series is being produced by Netflix’s U.S. arm, it’s attracting lots of attention in Bebop’s original home country of Japan. Japanese-language Twitter comments reacting to Netflix Japan’s tweets, though, haven’t been particularly positive, and have included:

“This just looks somehow off to me.”
“Spike doesn’t have his messy hair of world-weary expression, so I’m really worried about this.”
“Spike isn’t handsome enough.”
“Faye doesn’t look sexy at all.”
“Looks like some sort of gag cosplay session.”
“I’ve actually seen cosplay that looks better than this.”
“They look more like the cast of Black Lagoon.”
“Looks more like City Hunter to me.”

Yet another critical comment came in regards to the overall color pattern looking much decidedly drab and shadowy compared to the anime’s. While Bebop’s whole thing is that its set in a future that’s rough around the edges, there was still plenty of light and color in its world, far more than what can be seen in Netflix’s photos, though the noticeable difference could be the result of the producers simply sharing photos only from the live-action series’ darker scenes at this point.

The reaction in Japan’s hasn’t been 100-percent negative, either, with a spattering of more positive reactions such as:

“So looking forward to this! I know there are a lot of different opinions, but it’s good for Bebop to be back in the spotlight in the current era.”
“Hmm…not entirely sold, but I’ll probably watch it to see how it is.”
“It’s good to see they’re trying to stay close to the original work and not making all sorts of weird changes. Not sure if I’m confident they can pull it off, though.”
They’ve got [original anime composer] Yoko Kanno doing the music, and [original anime director] Shinichiro Watanabe involved [in a consulting role], so it can’t be all that bad, can it…”

Netflix’s live-action Cowboy Bebop will begin streaming on November 19.

Source: Twitter/@NetflixJP_Anime via Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@NetflixJP_Anime
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