Well, the writing was already on the virtual wall from the beginning. The anime had only one season.
White fanboys got butthurt by the use of diverse actors – anime is anime, but live action is real actors in the real world where “race” and ethnicity are still issues and women don’t actually look like hourglasses.
Ratings plummeted after the initial hype. Netflix always panders to the masses, so this is not surprising.
I was lucky: I got to watch Cowboy Bebop (the classic anime) in 2000.
I had just moved to Japan to teach English as an ALT the previous year. Stuck in the countryside with no friends and very little to do when not working, I immersed myself in Japanese language study.
Part of that involved keeping the TV on in the background, even though I couldn’t understand any of it.
After a few months of studying, I got help from a student in the English Speaking Society (a club at the high school where I was working) in getting a membership card at the only video rental store in town. At the time, the owners weren’t so keen on allowing a foreigner to rent videos; they even asked how I could guarantee that I wouldn’t simply up and leave and take their videos back to my home country.
Over the three years I was in the town, I borrowed hundreds of videos from that little store. None of the Japanese-language ones had English subtitles (obviously), and Cowboy Bebop was a series I must have borrowed at least three times, understanding more each time I watched it.
In the anime, the primary characters all have katakana names – Spike, Faye, Jet, Edward – and their computer screens always show English. The opening credits are in English, and the text behind the credits is also in English, even as the characters use Japanese (it’s never said, but we can assume universal translators in action). The show features multiethnic interaction with no hints whatsoever of racism or prejudice. A show way ahead of its time.
As various websites have pointed out, it was originally designed to sell Bandai toys, but the director had other ideas.
Episode 5 explains, with text behind the characters: “This is not a kind of space opera.” It slips in references to shows and movies like Star Trek and Star Wars, but it’s really an angst-ridden, existentialist space western with misfits galore.
Based on jazz.
“Space jazz,” really, is a better description of the show (even though pop, funk, and even heavy metal are played — entirely made by Kanno Yoko’s band, which she specifically created just for the show).
The live action remake version was just released on Netflix on November 19th (EST; click on the link to see the trailer on YouTube), who I sincerely hope do it justice (most, if not all, of their recent remakes of anime have quite frankly sucked donkey).
It’s not supposed to have a happy ending. I hope it doesn’t.
And I hope there’s no second season. The anime is brilliant. Don’t ruin its legacy.
“But decoding and storing memories raise a new set of ethical, moral and legal questions. For instance, who would own these memories after a person has died? Could the police obtain warrants to search through memories? Given that memory itself isn’t completely reliable, could memories be used in lawsuits? How could we ensure that unscrupulous professionals don’t sell or share them?”
Hm, I think I can see another direction this might eventually take…
This is not a complaint about Netflix in general (well, not necessarily, but anyway). Without Netflix, I might have gone, shall we say, a little…
…this past winter. I’ve been working temporarily in Montréal, several thousands miles of miles apart from my family, and being able to watch movies and older TV shows has been a great escape from the depressing monotony of single life.
But I feel the need to tell Netflix that I do not appreciate their use of the word “original.” Continue Reading
Although the book Er Ist Weider Da (Translated into English as “Look Who’s Back,” although literally it should be “He’s here again”) was published in 2012, the German language movie released in 2015, Netflix picked it up in early 2016, I just now stumbled across this movie over the weekend. Probably an algorithmic thing (don’t ask).
Normally, I blog about either family history or science/science fiction. But in this case, let’s just call it science fictiony-historical satire with a dark edge.
It’s good. Scarily good. Hysterically funny in parts. Deeply, darkly disturbing in many others.
And completely misunderstood by most reviewers. Especially the ones writing only in English. Continue Reading
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