Ok, I’ve noticed that ever since anime has been socially accepted among the ranks of mainstream media (and pop culture), everybody and their mama has been trying to cash in on its profitable success. Sony bought FUNimation to help expand its brand globally and even get several anime movies into theaters, while another streaming giant we all know as Netflix has been throwing their hat into the ring with their own anime catalog. The once niche medium that I used to get bullied over back in high school is now stompin’ with the ‘big boys’, and for me and any other fan; that’s both a blessing and a curse.
It’s a blessing because every other person I’ve talked to has seen at least one or all of hit titles; Dragon Ball, One Piece, Naruto, Sailor Moon, Demon Slayer, and My Hero Academia! Those titles are hot on the market right now. If you’ve been to a movie theater lately (or just recently) you might have come up against one of these titles in a movie. Anime is so mainstream, that it has crossed over into other fandoms like professional wrestling and football. (Hell, even rappers like Megan Thee Stallion talk about it through her lyrics and has probably seen a LOT of My Hero Academia.) In the last decade or so there were probably so many people who were afraid to come out as anime fans due to the ridicule they might receive. Now that its poppin’, they’re coming outta the woodwork like ants at a summer picnic. Anime is now one of the ‘cool kids’ at the party, however everything that glitters…is not gold.
Growing up in the 90’s was a fun time; Nintendo and SEGA we’re battling it out for childhood video game supremacy, Gushers were more fun to eat than Skittles, the TGIF lineup was the best primetime lineup in all of television, and Saturday Morning Cartoons were the best invention a kid could ask for! It was also back during this time that the franchises you know and love today decided to take a shot in the world of Live-Action Adaptation. I think the first video game to receive one during this time was Super Mario Bros. with its own movie. Then I think there was the live-action Mortal Kombat movie…um, okay.
Remember when I said that anime being mainstream is both a blessing and a curse? Well, here’s the problem with anime being mainstream. I’m not saying I have an issue with production studios or streaming platforms doing live-action adaptations of anime titles that I (and many other fans) grew up on, but unless you got the original Japanese creator and director as part of the production crew; along with a movie budget that’s somewhere between Pixar and MCU, I’d keep away from that avenue if you don’t know what you’re doing.
So now this brings me to the fallout on Netflix’s live-action Cowboy Bebop. One thing I will applaud them on is the fact that they paid homage to the original anime opening and even kept the original opening theme by TANK. Since Netflix’s track record with live-action anime is shaky at best, many hardcore fans of the series we’re already praying for its downfall…and it did just that after one season. This of course lead to some division amongst fans saying that the toxic portion of the fandom is the reason why the live action failed, while others stated that Netflix didn’t see it as profitable as they’d hoped it would be.
In the director’s defense they we’re trying something a little different out that didn’t match the exact plot of the anime series, nor didn’t want it to be a carbon-copy of it. Even the Mortal Kombat live-action movie of the 90’s had ‘B-Movie’ scripting, but its still beloved by the former children of that decade. Anime on the other hand is a whole other monster when it comes to live-action adaptation. So yeah, Netflix tried to stay true to the original (and in some aspects they did) but due to what I heard in many of those comments is ‘lack of emotion’ and ‘poor direction’, Netflix Bebop never made it past season one.
I’ll say this and then I’ll wrap it up; being an actor, voice actor, director, costume designer or script writer is not an easy job. Sadly social media and other digital outlets don’t make it easy for them mentally when the project they’ve worked on flops, but even so, they get back up and try it again. Netflix tried a live-action Bebop, and it flopped after the first season. Even though there’s a petition to try and make Netflix make a second season, I don’t see Netflix making that happen…especially if they said it was in their words ‘unprofitable’. I think that may be the other reason why it might’ve flopped; because just like another live-action movie I won’t mention, it was all about collecting the check! I dunno Netflix; maybe try being more like Paramount with the Sonic Movie franchise and put people in the production crew who are hardcore fans of the series, who knows what the fans like and wanna see. That’s just me.
Anyway that’s it for my thoughts. Until next time guys.