Netflix's Cowboy Bebop Reboot Is a Careful Homage to the Original Anime

The cast of the streamer's live action rendition go the distance to honor the much loved classic.

When it comes to the world of anime, Cowboy Bebop isn't a name you casually toss around. No, the neo-noir science fiction series is in the most beloved, upper echelon. T

he original 26 episode run that debuted at the turn of the millennium has been lauded as something close to a masterpiece. Which is all to say, Netflix's live action reboot, which drops on the streamer this week, is lurking in dangerous territory.

How do you take a series with such a fervent fanbase and try match the original? How do you capture Spike and Jet, perfectly? And where the hell is Ed?

The series follows the original plot pretty closely, as the super chic Spike Spiegel (played by John Cho) navigates the universe as a bounty hunter alongside Jet Black (played by Mustafa Shakir).

It's clear Netflix wanted to try to capture the series' most recognizable moments and give them a new fully human look, which should be endearing to longtime followers.

Add that in with a costuming and make-up department that has made a painstaking effort to nail the stylings of everyone's animated counterparts and you have at least half the equation down.

As the series makes its rounds over the next few weeks, here's a guide to who is bringing the world of Cowboy Bebop to life and how they stack up against their inspiration.


John Cho as Spike Spiegel

Photo by Netflix.

John Cho is sliding into the cool, oversized suit of Spike Spiegel. He even grew his hair out to fully embrace the aesthetic.

Mustafa Shakir as Jet Black

Photo by Netflix.

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The face behind Ed was kept secret until the premiere of Cowboy Bebop (and presumably wasn't supposed to be fleshed out until Season Two), but the series has confirmed that newcomer Eden Perkins will step into the role of Ed.

Daniella Pineda as Faye Valentine

Photo by Netflix.

Does Spike want to kill Faye most of the time? Sure. But you can't take away from how important she is to the team. Daniella Pineda steps into the bombastic character's shoes.

Alex Hassell as Vicious

Photo by Netflix.

Elena Satine as Julia

Photo by Netflix.

Julia is a woman caught in the middle. Satine brings the femme fatale to life, as she traipses between Spike and Vicious's affections.

Charlie & Harry as Ein

Photo by Netflix.

Charlie, Harry, and Ein are too good for this world. Ein is the best character in the series (don't come for me), so Charlie and Harry: don't fuck this up.


FromEsquire US

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About The Author
Justin Kirkland
Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment, television, and pop culture. Prior to Esquire, his work appeared in Entertainment Weekly, Hollywood Reporter, and USA Today. He is from East Tennessee and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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