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The Big Problem Cowboy Bebop Fans Have With The Netflix Adaptation

The live-action adaptation of popular anime "Cowboy Bebop" has been fraught with controversy from the beginning. Variety reported that filming was delayed for months in 2019 after John Cho tore his ACL during a nighttime shoot. Since then fans have been criticizing the show for the re-imagining of Faye Valentine's (Danielle Pineda) look. All of this occurred even before the show aired.

"Cowboy Bebop" dropped on November 19th with divisive reactions from critics and fans alike. IGN's Adam Bankhurst is only one critic out of many who found the show cringe-worthy. The fans should not be discounted either. The 1998 anime is dear to many. According to The Verge, fan appreciation has only increased since the announcement of the live-action series, but after the show premiered, some felt baffled by the decisions made. Apart from Faye's look and awkward lines of dialogue, fans of the animated series have further issues.

Netflix's Cowboy Bebop looks fake

Not only has there been concern over the look of some characters, but many fans also have issues with the look of the show itself. "Everything on Netflix looks cheap to me. It's all clean and crisp but there is something cheap about it," said Reddit user gamma-factor. They were not alone in this opinion. "I think i know what you mean," stated epidemicsaints. "I would argue that the clean crispness is what makes it cheap. It doesn't have the immersive 'experiencing a memory' look of cinema and it comes across like a high quality news broadcast. Aesthetic sense is behind the available camera technology and needs to catch up."

Fans seemed to agree that there is something about the aesthetic of the show that removes it from reality. Sci-fi is already a version of reality viewers don't see in their day-to-day lives. There should be something connecting the fans to the show, but with flat landscapes, "Cowboy Bebop" appears to be exactly what it was. Shot on a soundstage.

The camera work is distracting

It is hard to ignore many of the filmmaking decisions in "Cowboy Bebop." Fans wanted an adaptation that would honor the original and some did not feel that was the case (via DigitalSpy). Instead, as one Redditor commented, thinking outside of the box was a strange choice. "The overuse of Dutch angles is only one aspect of how cringe the cinematography of the show is," commented maritimelight. "Fish-eye lens close-ups on campy facial expressions (actually, fish-eye everything); slapstick tracking; bouncy, cartoonish zooming; the way everything is centered and symmetrically framed at the most boring distances from the subjects, and from unimaginative or outright unflattering angles" — it all added up to an overall cheap feel.

They pointed out that none of these aspects appeared in the original anime. Showrunner Andre Nemec has explained how "Cowboy Bebop" relates to the anime, saying that this is a different version of what fans have loved, even telling Entertainment Weekly that he chose to make it more optimistic. Dutch — or oblique angles as they were once known — are typically used to disorient the audience. In this case, it seemed to have worked, but fans do not appreciate these changes.