Sunday, December 19, 2021

Cowboy Bebop

      At last mention, Tam and I had seen all of the live-action series and were starting on the anime.

      We have now seen all except the last episode and--

      It's pretty darned good.  The people complaining about the live-action series?  Nuts.  Yes, it's a bit of a mixmaster of the characters and themes of the original.  Yes, it's a bit uneven.  So what.  The TV-series version of The Expanse is also a mixmastered version of the books, and the first couple of episodes were very much feeling their way in terms of tone, setting and verisimilitude -- so much so that I watched an episode and a half and set it aside for a few months.  It got better, fast. 

      I think the live-action Cowboy Bebop would have gotten better, too.  But it never got the chance.  One of the more common criticisms was that it "lacked the essential weirdness of the original."  I think that is specious; what I saw in the anime was a cultural difference in expectation, dramatic conventions and interpersonal relations, which is a fancy way of saying that particular angle of "weird" wasn't a result of directorial intent or apparent to the home-market audience.  Yes, shoot the thing with a Hollywood-tradition director and cast, get a subtle shift in tone: that's Art. 

      But we've got 26 episodes of the anime, a modern season's-worth of the live-action and a movie, which is pretty good body of work as such things go in TV science fiction.  The five seasons of The Expanse or however many of Star Trek you personally count as canon are exceptions and the two-season run of Altered Carbon is about typical.



Tam said...

Absolutely agree. But you knew that. The people whingeing about it are being silly.

Paul, Dammit! said...

I concur.

I was VERY pleasantly surprised by the live action version... once I got past the first 2 episodes. I genuinely can't tell if they were generally weaker or if it took me that long to adjust my expectations, but I enjoyed each episode more than the last... and really, that's damn good. I'm not sure how having watched (and only vaguely enjoying the anime; it was more arthouse and less juvenile than 'Trigun' for example, but less satisfying IMO) the anime beforehand complicated my appreciation. Either way, I am bummed that it was ganked.