Life isn’t easy for interplanetary bounty hunters, even if they’re extremely (and stylishly) capable, violence-ly speaking, as we see very clearly in the fantastic first teaser for Netflix’s live action adaptation of “Cowboy Bebop.”
In the clip — actually a stand-alone mini-episode entitled “Cowboy Bebop: The Lost Session,” directed by Greg Jardin – our bounty hunters Spike Spiegel (John Cho), Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir), and Faye (Daniella Pineda) have picked up a new job, and proceed to bicker about every aspect of it, from who and how to fight, to the speed at which they should get it all done. Unfortunately, in the end someone — either Jet or Spike, though neither will admit it — shoots the target in the face, invalidating the score and keeping all of their pockets empty. Whoops.
And yes, that was definitely Vicious who Spike saw when he momentarily got lost in some highly traumatic memories. Alas, those of you hoping things might turn out a little better for live action Spike than they did for anime Spike should probably get your tissues handy, just in case.
Watch the video:
But the short and sweet plot is less important than how the story is told — via an alarmingly entertaining take on the hyper-stylized, effects-heavy, medium-violating techniques seen in films like “Sin City,” “Speed Racer” or “Scott Pilgrim.” In this case, the characters exist in what amounts to living comic book panels, yanking each other from location to location by pulling screen borders to them, using those borders as weapons, and somehow still inhabiting unique, visually distinctive aesthetic universes.
We’re still a month out from the show’s launch date, but if “The Lost Session” — and that amazing opening title sequence Netflix released earlier this month — is any indication, “Cowboy Bebop” is trying as hard as it can to capture the letter and the spirit of the original. Right down to a delightful appearance of the track “What Planet Is This” from the soundtrack of 2001’s “Cowboy Bebop: The Movie.”
Incidentally, if you’ve never seen the original anime, which ran for 26 episodes in 1998 and 1999, it’s coming to Netflix this week. In the meantime, a full trailer for the live action “Cowboy Bebop” drops next week, and the show premieres November 19.