So … what did I think?
Y’all, I loved it. I even liked the whole eco-terrorists episode! And you guys know how I feel about Mrs. Murdock and her band of moron children. Spoilers ahead:
The cast was absolutely perfect, other than Vicious’ actor (I dunno, I just didn’t buy it, and also he looks like he’s straight out of a bad Harry Potter porno), and I loved a lot of the changes that the live-action chose: making Gren non-binary (and a bigger role!!), changing up the order in which characters were introduced (!!!!), tree people instead of monkey people, the Punch and Judy segments, Spike is Fearless, Jet has a daughter and ex-wife, etc.
It’s not exactly like the anime which is wonderful. I don’t want a direct adaptation; I mean, I can just pull out my Blu Ray collection and watch Cowboy Bebop if I want that. I want them to play with the story, the setting, the themes … I want it to be something different, with maybe a bit of fan service.
For example, I loved Daniella Pineda’s interpretation of Faye. I like that she’s … softer? We get to know more about her, despite her not knowing anything about herself prior to 3 years before the story starts. She’s not nearly as sexual, which I actually prefer; the fact that she relies on her wits and resourcefulness is such an improvement on her character, especially with Pineda portraying her. (This is not to shame women who use their sexuality to survive – do what you gotta do.) And that scene where she watches an old video recording of herself? Somehow, that scene affected me more than the original anime did. Just seeing Pineda’s face with tears flowing down it was *chef’s kiss*.
Hell, I even liked Julia’s turn at the end, which is apparently a contentious opinion for some reason. Julia was constantly in a state of fear from Vicious’ cruelty, was lied to by Ana (who knew Spike was alive), was abandoned by Fearless/Spike, etc., so it’s only natural that she would seize the power that would prevent her from being in such a vulnerable place again. I wish it could have been revealed a bit more gradually than suddenly, oh, Julia’s the Mad Queen? Cool, I guess? There were seeds that she was capable of betraying the men in her life (when she convinced Mao to kill Vicious instead of the Elders), but I feel like her desperation could have been presented a lot more vividly in other episodes.
Now, I’m not so sure about Ed, who had this weird 90s commercial feel about her the whole time, but we’ll see how I feel when Season 2 comes out (hopefully it does!).
All in all, I will likely watch this show again. It was delightfully fun, with enough similarity to the original that I didn’t feel completely lost, and now I’m wondering how if they’ll delve more deeply into the Titan War (especially since Gren is a major player now and since they introduced the idea of Vincent in the last moments of the finale). I feel like a lot of the criticisms came from a place similar to people who don’t like adaptations of other works of fiction (Wheel of Time, anyone?) instead of appreciating the fact that this is a completely different medium with different creators. If it’s not your jam, then don’t watch it and go read/watch the original. But don’t expect that it’s bad just because it doesn’t fit your exact vision of whatever.
End rant! Basically, watch this show with an open mind, and I’m certain you’ll enjoy it! If you like sci-fi noir with quips, of course.