Netflix’s 2021 live-action “Cowboy Bebop” remake was canceled after one season and 10 episodes, a big failure for what was supposed to launch a blockbuster new series for the streaming platform. In a new interview with Forbes, Shinichirō Watanabe, who served as the original director of the Japanese anime series, said he stopped watching the live-action Netflix remake after just one scene because it didn’t feel like the anime classic he helped create.
“For the new Netflix live-action adaptation, they sent me a video to review and check,” Watanabe said. “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.”
He continued, “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.”
Netflix’s remake was led by John Cho and developed by Christopher Yost. Cho said last year that he was shocked by the streamer’s decision to cut the live-action remake short.
“I was very warmed by the response [to the show],” Cho said. “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.”
Critics were not kind to Netflix’s “Cowboy Bebop.” Variety critic Caroline Framke criticized the series as “Netflix bloat” in her review, adding, “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.” While the show earned strong ratings in its first week with 74 million viewing hours, it had sharp declines in the weeks after. Viewership dropped 59% in its second week.