Seminal 1990s anime/manga series Cowboy Bebop is now being adapted into a live-action TV show for the small screen. Ever since the debut of the original twenty-six animated Cowboy Bebop episodes in 1998, critics and general viewers alike have taken to the franchise, praising it for its superior style, characters, and existential themes.
Originally conceived as a joint effort between director Shinichirō Watanabe, screenwriter Keiko Nobumoto, character designer Toshihiro Kawamoto, mechanical designer Kimitoshi Yamane, and composer Yoko Kanno, the first twelve episodes of Cowboy Bebop initially aired in Japan in 1998. Centering around a crew of roving bounty hunters – known as Cowboys – roaming the galaxy in the spaceship Bebop in the year 2071 in search of adventure, Cowboy Bebop aired in full in 1999 after an initial controversy over the show’s adult-themed material subsided.
In 2001, Cowboy Bebop finally made its way stateside, and became the first anime title to be broadcast on Adult Swim. From there it quickly became a gateway production for American audiences otherwise unfamiliar with the Japanese animation style and genre. The news of the live-action TV adaptation comes after years of rumors about a Cowboy Bebop live-action film gaining limited traction.
According to Variety, the live-action Cowboy Bebop TV show is being developed by Tomorrow Studios – itself, a partnership between ITV Studios and Marty Adelstein. The new series will be adapted by screenwriter Christopher Yost (The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Thor: The Dark World), and executive produced by Sunrise Inc. and Midnight Radio.
Whether or not the live-action Cowboy Bebop will live up to the reputation of the original anime – as well as the animated Cowboy Bebop movie – remains to be seen. Given how important Cowboy Bebop has proved to be some ten-plus years on, many viewers who discovered the franchise at the turn of the twenty-first century will likely want to find out what a live-action adaption looks like, as a small screen production.
Cowboy Bebop – alongside such contemporary masterpieces of the anime genre as Akira – may very well be the next property of its kind to receive a live-action update for twenty-first century audiences on the big screen in time too, joining this past spring’s Ghost in the Shell film and the upcoming Death Note movie from Netflix. Only time will tell how fans of the original show and film will respond, of course.
Screen Rant will bring you more information about the live-action Cowboy Bebop TV show when we have it.