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The Cowboy Bebop Scene That Went Too Far

Netflix's "Cowboy Bebop" had the challenge of carrying all that high expectation weight set by a generational anime classic. On paper, the show contained the ingredients to create a stellar adaptation worthy of Shinichiro Watanabe's anime series. With a talented and passionate cast combined with a solid respect for the source material, Netflix's "Cowboy Bebop" seemed set to break the curse of mediocre to abysmal live-action media based on anime. However, the series got a mixed response from critics. And the most dedicated fans of Netflix's take on the series got the worst possible news when a planned Season 2 got canceled.

That's a shame, as, despite its undeniable flaws, Netflix's "Cowboy Bebop" proved that there is so much of the old anime that translates well into a real-life series. For instance, the charming comedic banter between Spike Spiegel (John Cho) and Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir) in Netflix's version expertly captured part of what made fans fall for the bounty hunting duo in the late '90s. The series also did justice to the original's neo-noir futuristic world, making it so vibrant and unique that some fans got the same sense of fictional wanderlust as they had on those hazy nights of Adult Swim viewing. That said, Netflix's "Cowboy Bebop" could get a little too ambitious for its own good whenever it strayed far from the source. In fact, one attempt at trying to outdo an anime episode resulted in a scene that might have gone too far.

Callisto Soul shows one of the cruelest deaths

Suppose Poison Ivy is ever in the market for a new terrifying way to frighten her enemies in Gotham. In that case, we'd highly recommend she view the "Callisto Soul" episode from Netflix's "Cowboy Bebop." The episode's feat of murdering a person by a tree will grow a few ideas. The episode mainly focuses on a group of eco-terrorists called the Callisto Liberation Front, led by Maria Murdock (Adrienne Barbeau). And in no time during one of the opening scenes of the episode, the group immediately shows why no one wants to be on their bad side. The terrorists' initial goal is to kidnap a CEO whose company is responsible for the deforestation of their home. Instead, they let off a gas grenade that causes a body-horror moment so nightmare-inducing, we're sure David Cronenberg would smirk.

The CEO inhales the gas and violently turns into a tree. It's a moment that takes seconds, but as tree limbs erupt from within and rip the victim open from the inside, time shifts into a torturous crawl. And for anyone with exceptional surround sound, the scene only reaches another level of disturbing. It's difficult to describe the sound of a tree relentlessly sprouting from a human body. And the agonizing screams during this moment won't make it any easier to define. But rest assured, it's a sound combo you won't forget. Netflix's adaptation could get bloody, but it didn't need to get this brutal, especially when it could have just been clever like its source.

The anime source isn't as a bad

Clearly, the creators of Netflix's adaptation wanted to jazz up the original anime episode it's based on, as that version is more forgiving than its live-action counterpart. Titled "Gateway Shuffle," the original "Cowboy Bebop" episode also serves as the fourth entry, much like its Netflix cousin. It also shares the basic plot of a matriarch-led band of eco-terrorists causing havoc with some transformative device or instrument. Delve in deeper, and their differences become apparent. In "Gateway Shuffle," the terrorist group is called the Space Warriors. And instead of some special pollen, they come equipped with a virus that turns humans into monkeys called "Monkey Business."

"Monkey Business" is still a viable threat, but unlike the gas grenade in "Callisto Soul," there's no cruel fatality moment worthy of an entry in "Mortal Kombat." The virus' effects are implied by a subtle scene of an angry monkey in human clothes thrashing about in a cage. It's a fantastic moment that hints at the danger of the virus, especially as Spike unknowingly almost causes it to spread in the Bebop. Few scenes masterfully capture comedy and tension simultaneously, but when Spike shoots at the vial containing the virus in "Gateway Shuffle," everything crescendos into a relaxed sigh and some bemused laughter. Netflix's attempt at this episode would have arguably benefitted from this approach instead of blatant shock.