Anime fans are sounding more likely to heed the call when it’s coming from the voices of the original Spike and Faye.

Netflix has been gradually pulling back the curtain on its live-action adaptation of anime hit Cowboy Bebop, recently at a pace of about one big reveal a month. With the series set to finally premiere on November 18, you might have assumed that last week’s mini-episode, titled “Lost Session,” was the last preview we were going to get, but Netflix has gone ahead and released a full trailer for its version of Bebop.

Unlike “Last Session,” which had footage shot for it specifically and told its own self-contained story in roughly two-and-a-half minutes, the new video is a traditional trailer, composed of clips pulled from different episodes of the series. As such, it’s a more revealing glimpse of the live-action Bebop’s overall tone, and that tone seems to be all over the place.

That’s by no means a criticism, though. Arguably, the original anime’s most defining characteristic was its ability to switch between gritty, hard-boiled action, goofy slapstick hijinks, introspective drama, and quirky comedy with aplomb, much like the franchise’s eclectic jazz-fusion soundtrack. The new Netflix trailer looks to be trying to incorporate all of those elements, which is a welcome contrast to some anime-to-live-action adaptations, like Dragonball Evolution or Ghost in the Shell, which latched on to one aspect of the original work and largely ignored the other facets of their appeal.

▼ The Japanese-language version of the new trailer

As with “Lost Session,” Netflix Japan has also released a version of the new Bebop trailer dubbed into Japanese with the anime’s original voice actors, but even after watching it, there’s a sizeable contingent of commenters who remain unimpressed.

“Yeah, this looks weird.”
“It’s, it’s just cosplay.”
“Spike’s actor seems to be struggling with the physical demands of the role. His action scenes here look more like dress rehearsals.”
“You can tell he’s trying his best, but still…”
“I liked Faye better when she was a little more girlish.”
“It feels like they’re trying to make Spike more bloodthirsty here.”

At the same time, reactions overall are a shade more accepting towards Netflix’s creative vision than they were for the earlier sneak-peeks.

“This is looking better and better! The original anime’s music and Japanese voice actors really are awesome, and it was a brilliant call not to change them.”
“I’m happy they’re staying true to the original work’s tone!”
“I watched the English version of the trailer and it seemed off, but the Japanese one has that proper Bebop feel. The character voices really have a huge effect!”
“The voices are great…but it still looks like cosplay to me.”
“If the quality of the Japanese dub is like this, then I totally want to watch it! Spike still looks like a celebrity impersonator to me…but maybe I’ll get used to it?”

The comments do show a unique advantage the Japanese-language version of Netflix’s Bebeop has over the English one in trying to win over preexisting fans of the original work. When watching the live-action Bebop in English, you’re getting characters who both look and sound different from their original versions, regardless of whether you’re accustomed to the anime’s original Japanese voice cast or its English-dubbed one. With the Japanese dub of the Netflix Bebop, though, Spike and Faye sound exactly like they always have to Japanese fans, with the voices of voice actor A-listers Koichi Yamadera and Megumi Hayashibara replacing a potential mental disconnect with a dose of prime-grade nostalgia (though with the passing away of Jet’s original Japanese voice actor, his replacement, Taiten Kusunoki, is as new to the part as on-screen actor Mustafa Shakir).

▼ As for the sets and CG, they’re looking impressive, with an aesthetic that’s both futuristic but lived-in.

Perhaps the most level-headed reaction to the Japanese trailer was the commenter who wrote:

“For people who don’t know about the original anime, this probably just looks like a pretty cool live-action show.”

Of course, the whole point of an adaptation is to channel the goodwill towards the existing work into something new, and it’s pretty much impossible not to invite comparisons when you’re adapting one of the most respected anime of all time.

Source: YouTube/Netflix Japan via Otakomu
Images: YouTube/Netflix Japan
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