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Why Cowboy Bebop's Opening Credits Has Fans So Divided

The opening credits of "Cowboy Bebop" are one of the beloved anime's greatest assets. It sets the tone perfectly, informing the viewer that this particular animated series will be a jazzy space romp full of kung fu fights, guns, and smoking. The openings credits feature the toe-tappingly fun song "Tank!" performed by Seatbelts. The opening also clearly shows off the pop culture that inspired its look and sound, like the Saul Bass opening sequences for Alfred Hitchcock flicks "Vertigo" and "Anatomy of a Murder" (via BFI), the credits for "Tokyo Drifter," and jazz album covers from the '50s and '60s. Additionally, the "Cowboy Bebop" credits have been memed to filth. Among the best examples of "Bebop"-ified credits are ones for "Star Wars" (via YouTube) and the "Steamed Hams" sketch from "The Simpsons" episode "22 Short Films About Springfield" (via YouTube).

At Saturday's Tudum virtual fan event, Netflix released the opening credits for their live-action adaptation starring John Cho, Mustafa Shakir, and Daniella Pineda (via YouTube). Fans shared their reactions on the show's Twitter post featuring the clip. Many fans offered praise, but there were some readily voicing their ambivalence. While the Netflix credits echo the original anime in both the sound and visual style, it varies wildly regarding which "Cowboy Bebop" characters do (and do not) appear.

Cowboy Bebop fans noticed Radical Edward's absence in the opening credits

When it comes to the live-action "Cowboy Bebop" opening credits, the one thing fans found most upsetting is the lack of Radical Edward, the teenage hacker who rounds out the anime's core quartet. Clearly shown in the credits are Alex Hassell as Vicious and Elena Satine as Julia. Julia and Vicious have ties to Spike's past, and the Netflix show's plot will lean into that tragic melodrama. We also see Tamara Tunie as jazz club impresario Ana and Mason Alexander Park as Gren, the saxophone-playing vet.

On the subject of Ed's absence in the opening credits, Twitter user @fkaKarolinaVega exclaimed, "I'm loving this tbh but where's Ed?" while another Twitter user, @Zigisstardusted, replied to the official Netflix account for the show, asking, "[W]here is Ed? Is this like a marketing thing, or are they literally just removed?" To the latter comment, @MagnumOpus27 attempted to assuage anxiety. They noted, "Ed doesn't appear until the half[way] point in the original show, and here they are stretching it to fit multiple seasons, so it's a good guess to think that Ed will only appear in Season 2."

In Season 1 of "Cowboy Bebop" anime, the motley crew assembles slowly over time. The first few episodes are just Spike Spiegel and Jet Black, played in the Netflix adaptation by John Cho and Mustafa Shakir. Data dog Ein joins the crew in Episode 2, and then Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda) enters the "Cowboy Bebop" group in Episode 3 (via IMDb). As for Ed, she doesn't show up until Episode 9. A casting announcement for the Ed character has yet to materialize, so it's unclear when — or if — the fan-favorite character will ever appear on the Netflix live-action adaptation.