Netflix Cancels Cowboy Bebop After One Season
See you, space cowboy.
While the adventures of Spike, Faye and Jet didn't end on Netflix quite how they did in the anime, it seems the crew of the Bebop is being grounded for good. Netflix has canceled its live-action Cowboy Bebop adaptation after one season, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Cowboy Bebop hit Netflix just before Thanksgiving, on November 19, and struggled to gain traction with fans and critics alike. As THR notes, the show has a 56% rating with the audience and a 46% rating with critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Critical responses called out confusing changes to the original story, pacing, and overly faithful adherence to the original as some of the major things holding the show back.
This was always going to be an uphill battle for the streaming service. Shinchiro Watanabe's original 26-episode anime series, which debuted in 1998, is regarded by many western anime fans as the height of the medium. Years of airing on repeat on Adult Swim during that network's early years also drilled the show deeply into the minds of an entire generation. GameSpot's own review looked favorably upon the show, calling out the production design and core cast of actors as standout elements of the show, while pointing out Netflix's mishandled marketing and difficulty keeping characters straight with the show's fast pace.
THR also notes that while the show initially performed well, with 74 million hours viewed since its debut, viewership plummeted by 59% the following week. That put Cowboy Bebop on the edge of renewal or cancelation, as 60% is typically the threshold that Netflix uses to make that decision.
This isn't the only anime adaptation on Netflix's plate. The service recently announced new casting for its planned adaptation of pirate-themed anime One Piece. Whether this cancelation will affect One Piece is unknown. Netflix previously also adapted the popular Death Note anime into a live-action film. Anime adaptation has long been a difficult nut for Western directors to crack, with movies like Dragon Ball Evolution and Ghost in the Shell bombing critically and financially alike.
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