It looks like live-action adaptations of anime are getting more and more popular. Tomorrow Studios has recently announced plans for a live-action Cowboy Bebop series for television. The bounty hunting space western (with one of the best soundtracks in anime) has been a cult hit for years now. It follows the story of Spike Siegel and the crew of the Bebop as they chase criminals for cash across the universe (think Firefly with jazz and a hyper-intelligent dog). It only ever aired 26 episodes and one animated film, but being in short supply probably helped it build such a rabid fan base.
The decision to adapt it into live-action will probably be pretty divisive among anime fans. We haven’t exactly seen the best track record in projects like this. I mean, I can’t think of anyone who could pull off Spike’s haircut or Faye Valentine’s outfit. With source material like this, it could turn out to be something amazing and I have high hopes. Cowboy Bebop was one of the biggest gateway shows for American anime fans when it started airing in the U.S..
I know it will be difficult to capture the same jazzy charm, but this is still exciting news; I’m choosing the optimistic outlook on this. According to Deadline, this new series will be executive produced by Sunset Inc., the same company that made the animated original. Christopher Yost is one of the writers they’ve already hired. He has a tall pedigree in writing comic books and film screenplays for Marvel Studios. Marty Adelstein with Tomorrow Studios has stated,
We are excited to work with Sunrise in bringing this beloved anime to the U.S. and global marketplace as a live-action series. The animated version has long resonated with audiences worldwide, and with the continued, ever growing, popularity of anime, we believe a live action version will have an incredible impact today.
It sounds like a pretty standard sales pitch for a beloved anime, to me. There is no reported network that is picking up the series and there’s been no casting news, so this whole thing is still a long way off. It remains to be seen just how close to the source material this adaptation will be. The original series had a short run and a definitive ending, so if this thing is going to series I imagine they’ll have to find ways to expand the plot and story lines. If the anticipations of anime fans are to be met, then hopefully they create a whole new set of outer space adventures for Spike and the gang.