Live Action

Because I love Bebop so much, I have a lot of feelings about the live action spin-off. A lot of mixed feelings. Also, I say spin-off because supposedly the creators have stated it's not supposed to be a remake per say, and more of a re-interpretation. Which does make me feel a bit better about the direction they took it in. Unfortunately, some of it still sucks even through that lens.

What I Dislikied

My first and probably biggest issue with the show overall is that the exposition is so god damn heavy-handed. For example, in the first scene of the first episode when Spike offs a bounty, Jet immediately says something along the lines of "you have to keep them alive if we want the bounty, remember?" and IN WHAT WORLD WOULD SPIKE NOT REMEMBER THAT? They could have used a very similar line there such as "god damnit Spike you just lost us 20 thousand woolongs" which would feel wayyy more in character and give the same exposition without spelling it all out. We see it again at the end of this episode when Spike pulls up on Katerina and Asimov trying to make their getaway and instead of sharing meaningful looks that we later understand are because Spike related to what the pair were going through, Spike stops to have a whole ass conversation with her. With a bonus Julia flashback to make it all the more obvious. To build on that point, another issue is that they bring up the syndicate and Julia and Vicious way too early and way too much. I have mixed feelings about this because I think using them as a B Plot is a clever way to extend the episode length, but the flashbacks and hints at what actually happened give away a lot, and the mystery of it all in the anime is what keeps the audience hooked and wanting more!

Also, I find the writing for Julia and Vicious to be absolutely awful. At first I figured it was because they had to make this Julia capable of taking over the syndicate, meaning that they had to make this Vicious capable of being overthrown. But the more I think about it, the more I believe that Vicious is a character that doesn't translate well into an actual human being. He works in the anime because he's a cartoon caricature that we see very little of, so he can be a spooky and spit out quotable one-liners every time we see him and still seem interesting. For live action that would probably be even more cringy than what they did end up doing with him. So at this point I don't like what they did with his character, but I also don't know what would have made him better. By incorporating this storyline as a B Plot, they also reimagined a few other characters in ways that I didn't appreciate. Most of all I was disapointed with Gren. I appreciated their idea to include some nonbinary representation, but the original Gren was a fascinating and complex character. This version of Gren seemed to exist only to serve looks and be sassy, making them more of a token queer character than anything.

Finally, on my initial watchthrough I found the ending to be horrible. It was such an unexpected deviation from the original and I hated it. Now after some time I hate it less, and I think they made an interesting and perhaps even smart choice in having Julia become hungry for power after what she experienced with Vicious. On the other hand, and especially now not being able to see what direction they were going to take the show in next, it felt like they wrote themselves into a corner.

What I Enjoyed

Overall I was very satisfied with the set design and art direction. The inside of the bebop looked awesome, and the environments had a ton of cool details just like they did in the anime. I've heard it mentioned that a few of the medium-sized sets looked obviously like sound stages, and while I'm sure that they did, I really didn't notice all that much.

While there were a lot of story changes that I dislked, such as the entire Dog Star Swing plotline, there were some that I found really great. My favorite has to be the Perriot La Fou adaptation, which stays pretty faithful to the original, but adds some interesting backstory on Perriot, gives him a more concrete reason to be chasing Spike, and does a great job of leading us into the final two episodes. I also really enjoyed this version of the Brain Scratch story, which was always one of my favorite episodes because of how bizzare it is. I think they played the groundghogs day trope surprisingly well, and I loved the insight it gave us into Spike's feelings for Julia. In a way it reminded me of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in the scenes where Joel is trying to hide Clementine inside of his memories.

There are many moments in the show where the main cast gets along and acts like a little family. This was a change I enjoyed for the live action because it was sweet and made me happy, but it's also something I'm glad we didn't get in the anime. In the anime I wanted so badly for the crew to like each other and be a found family, only to realize at the end that they absolutely were a family, albiet a dysfunctional one. The realization that they do secretly care for eachother, but just don't know how to epress it feels so good and bittersweet and perfect, but it's nice to see them act it out more in the live action.