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When Woke Goes For Broke: Why Netflix's Cowboy Flopped Instead of Bebopped

After the initial tidal wave of hatred for a certain live-action adaptation came crashing over the internet, a second wave has been quickly emerging to come and justify what is easily one of the biggest abortions in cinematic history. It's right on up there with “Somehow, Palpatine has returned” or the Game of Thrones conclusion, but there's a really specific reason why Cowboy Bebop did so poorly and it goes beyond derailing from the source material.

Now, admittedly there were aspects that I really enjoyed about the series, their subtle nods to the original content was well done, the cinematography was delightful, the costuming for the most part (Lookin at you Faye) was on point, they even found the absolute embodiment of Jet Black, but somewhere in the middle they went off the rails.

So...why was it so bad? The first few episodes were true enough to the original, until...the queuing of the lesbian wind chime scene and complimentary forced gayification of Faye Valentine. Sorry, not sorry, but this was a blatant fuck you to the audience members who were die hard fans to the source material (who, were your main audience, you fucking morons at Netflix), and I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way. For those who don't remember in the original anime Faye has a clear love interest and former lover just after she had awakens from cryosleep, a male lawyer: Whitney Haggis-Matsumoto. However in the Netflix version of the events that followed Faye's wakening, Whitney was needlessly re-imagined as a domineering female who poses as Faye's mother to steal her identikit. Now, I don't know if this was a blatant grab by Netflix at a new audience, or if they thought it would add depth to her character, but I assure you Faye Valentine was an already extremely deep character. The whole idea of the show is how one's past would come back to haunt you, the characters as they existed in the anime had plenty enough skeletons in their closet. Now, this alone was not enough to hate the show completely, and to be honest, when it comes to this new era of script writing, there seems to always be a certain amount of this woke trash that we've all come to expect at this point.

However, I found this to be the specific turning point of when this show took a nosedive, but let's move past the Penthouse forum version of Faye Valentine for a moment and take a look at the absolute butchering of the relationship between Spike and Julia. In the anime, they seem to be star crossed lovers who could never be, and the hardships and loss that resided in Spike was the pain of his past, which his whole character was built upon. This was the reason he left the Syndicate, became a bounty hunter, how he found Julia, and ultimately the cause of his downfall. His final attack on the Syndicate and battle between Vicious is what made him the hero of the story, the reason the original was so damn good. But now, in what is supposed to be the apex of this show, the very crescendo, the iconic showdown in the cathedral, we find an emasculated Spike and Jet helplessly, awkwardly tied to pillars. I sat, wondering how Spike was going to use a daringly cunning way to escape this situation and save the day, like he's known to do. But... that didn't happen, and instead the most grotesque, poorly written, bullshit happens. The day is saved by the agenda with “Welcome to the ouch, motherfuckers” as a forceful rewriting of canon, Faye bounds in and gracelessly saves the day.

Now, when I say the agenda, I already hear the clamoring of feminists crying “YoU JuSt FeAr StRoNg RoLeS FoR WaMan” to these cries, I say, “shut the fuck up”. These characters were incredibly strong on their own and there's even a scene in the original anime where Faye and Julia fight off members of the Syndicate together in a more than heroic fashion that was in line with their actual character arcs. Which felt more like character building than lazy approval seeking “white-knight-writing”. Cowboy Bebop was originally written in 1998, but the source material for Cowboy Bebop's universe was already peppered with openly gay, trans, and even intersex characters most notably Grencia Mars Elijah Guo Eckener, or as Faye admiringly dubs him “Mr. Saxaphone” the musician from Jupiter Jazz. After Faye rips away the shower curtain revealing Grencia's nudity We see breasts, Faye looks down and becomes confused, stating “A woman? Which one are you?!” Grencia smirks and replies “I'm both at once and I'm neither one”. Which we then discover was due to hormone treatments after his incarceration as a war criminal post war on Titan, making him intersex. Making pretty progressive writing for the 1990s.

In my opinion, the biggest mark missed was the last five minutes of the series which could have been an opportunity at redemption. However, the long awaited glimpse of the character Ed, left me feeling a little more than let down. Ed, who is easy enough to fall in love with, and didn't even need to be altered to appease both the fans of the original and new comers alike. Shes goofy, bubbly, intelligent, charismatic, and an overall great character by her own right, a true, strong, female lead. We won't even get into the fact that she was completely androgynous, making her a truly progressive character. But, somehow, I was left feeling like Ed from Netflix's live-action adaptation was more a mentally handicapped child abandoned in an alley way, instead of the galaxy renowned hacker that she is.

Lastly, I want to make one final point about this whole woke agenda bullshit that's plaguing media. If you want to do it, do it fucking right, outside of the fact that the original anime was already inclusive and had more than its fair share of cross dressers, transsexuals, and homosexuals, the anime didn't need to force it down your throat. The characters were real, they didn't feel out of place, and the story was set in a galaxy where people could truly be themselves. The original was executed with class, and that is what this Netflix adaptation was missing. Class.

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