Netflix will become a one-stop Cowboy Bebop shop by adding original anime series
Netflix is positioning itself as the go-to destination for fans of Cowboy Bebop.
Ahead of the streamer's live-action adaptation, starring John Cho as bounty hunter Spike Spiegel, Netflix has officially acquired the streaming rights to the original Cowboy Bebop anime, EW has learned exclusively.
All 26 episodes of the anime, which is currently available to stream on Hulu, will make its Netflix debut on Oct. 21.
Directed by Shinichirō Watanabe, Cowboy Bebop is set in the year 2071, decades after a cataclysmic event forced humanity to colonize surrounding moons and planets. This new age of lawlessness led the Inter Solar System Police force to legalize a contract system so bounty hunters could turn in criminals for rewards. Former Red Dragon crime syndicate henchman Spike Spiegel, ex-cop Jet Black, and con artist Faye Valentine are three of these bounty hunters thrust together by circumstance, along with kid hacker Radical Ed and "data dog" Ein.
The show premiered in Japan in 1998 and became the first anime to be broadcast by Cartoon Network's Adult Swim in the U.S. in 2001. This was followed by Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, premiering in Japan in 2001 and the States in 2002.
In the live-action series, which premieres on Netflix this Nov. 19, mere weeks after the anime moves over, Cho plays Spike, Mustafa Shakir plays Jet, and Daniella Pineda plays Faye. André Nemec serves as showrunner.
EW can also exclusively reveal that the original voice cast of the anime are involved in the live-action rendition, reprising their roles for the Japanese dubs of the show.
Confirmed are Koichi Yamadera as Spike, Taiten Kusunoki as Jet, Megumi Hayashibara as Faye, Norio Wakamoto as syndicate hitman Vicious, Gara Takashima as Spike's love interest Julia, Tsutomu Taruki and Miki Nagasawa as TV hosts Punch and Judy, Takaya Hashi as the Teddy Bomber, Kenyu Horiuchi as Rester House sax player Gren, Masako Isobe as Spike's former mentor Mao, and Romi Park and Hikaru Midorikawa as Vicious' twin enforcers Shin and Lin.
"For me, it's a great surprise and honor that the Cowboy Bebop universe has thrived for over 20 years and will continue onward," Watanabe, who also consulted on the live-action Cowboy Bebop, said in a statement.
"Cowboy Bebop is an important work for me," Yamadera said. "I have long anticipated a live-action version. I can feel the strong respect it has toward the anime. I hope that viewers will see the atmosphere of the Spike character that I previously portrayed in John Cho's performance, who is skillfully taking on the role in this version. There are also many settings and developments that can only be pulled off in a live-action series. I hope that both people who love Cowboy Bebop and those who are new to the title can enjoy this new series!"
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