Cowboy Bebop Anime Coming to Netflix; OG Voice Actors Dub Live-Action

There's always been a divide among the American anime community concerning those who prefer watching the series in English dub or listening to the original Japanese audio with English subtitles. Netflix is giving one added incentive for those skeptical about their live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop by bringing most of the series' original Japanese cast to voice the American live-action counterparts for those who long option for the nostalgia spin, according to Entertainment Weekly. The 26-episode anime series, which is currently available to stream on Hulu, officially makes the move to its new streaming home on Netflix starting on October 21.

Cowboy Bebop OG Japanese Voice Actors Dub Netflix Live Action Series
Image courtesy of Netflix

Directed by Shinichiro 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.

Cowboy Bebop Anime
Image courtesy of Sunrise/Bandai

The series originally premiered in Japan in 1998, heavy on Western themes proved to be a tremendous success in the U.S. becoming the first anime to be imported over to Cartoon Network's Adult Swim in 2001. Its popularity led to a theatrical standalone film Cowboy Bebop: The Movie released in 2001. The Netflix live-action series stars John Cho, Mustafa Shakir, and Daniella Pineda as Spike, Jet, and Faye. Kochi Yamadera, Unsho Ishizuka, and Megumi Hayashibara voiced the respective roles on the anime along with Aoi Tada, who played Ed. Taiten Kusunoki takes over the role of Jet with Ishizuka's passing in 2018. Also in the Japanese cast are 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 (taking over for Kazuaki Ito) as Spike's former mentor Mao Yenrai, and Romi Park (taking over for Nobuyuki Hiuama) and Hikaru Midorikawa as Vicious' twin enforcers Shin and Lin.

"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!"

"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. The Netflix live-action Cowboy Bebop premieres on November 19.

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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