Inquiring Minds Want to Know 2019 #2

Inquiring Minds Want to Know Feature Image

Continuing the ‘Inquiring Minds’ series of posts for 2019 I’m taking on my second question for the year and this one is sure to divide opinions. As always if you have something to ask you can send the question my way by filling in the simple survey at the end of the post or you can use this link to the inquiring minds survey.

How do you feel about Netflix creating live action adaptations? Especially thoughts and feelings towards the new Cowboy Bebop live action?


I’ve covered a few live action adaptations on the blog previously, including the Netflix adaptations of Death Note and Bleach. I also looked at the live action Erased series that aired on Netflix. So clearly I don’t hate the idea of anime being made into live action given I keep giving it a go.

However, like with most adaptations, sequels, spin-offs, re-imaginings and other things, I end up wondering what the point of a lot of it is and why we can’t just be happy with the story as it was told and move on to telling a new story. Not that adaptations are new and even classic authors and the stories they told were frequently adaptations of earlier works, myths, fairy tales and other stories so to claim that I’m looking for something original would be pretty hypocritical. I think I’m just looking for a story told well, whether it is new or a retelling but if you are going to retell something I really think there should be some thought put into why and how.

Netflix, needless to say, has been pretty hit and miss in most of their work. Other than Stranger Things, I can’t say I’ve been a huge fan of a lot of their originals, their anime has very much not been really the sort of style or tone I like, and their movies are of incredibly varying quality. The same is true so far of their live action anime adaptations.

Death Note as an adaptation was terrible. There’s no real getting around that. As an individual movie, it was decidedly average (assuming you compare it to other thriller/horror stories and not every movie ever made). While I enjoyed aspects I felt it didn’t go far enough to make the story its own so it neither followed the source well enough for fans to be happy, nor cut itself free from the restrictions of the source to tell a good story.

bleach movie training

Bleach I liked much more and felt they made some fairly good decisions about what to include and what to leave out and how much to adapt. Still, I’d strongly recommend the anime over the live action adaptation.

When it comes to Cowboy Bebop I’m just kind of shaking my head. Sure it is a popular commodity so people will watch it regardless, but the fans of Bebop are unlikely to be happy with any modifications to the story or tone so they are really just setting themselves up for a mountain of criticism. Maybe they are working on the theory that any publicity is good, but that seems fairly pointless. They might actually make a decent series. Bebop certainly has some great ideas behind it that could easily make a decent live action. But hampered by fan expectations and trying to please everyone by leaving in certain elements even if they don’t fit the new format will probably kill it.

Cowboy Bebop
Who knows how this will turn out?

That said, I still haven’t finished the anime series (I know, that’s almost a crime) so I don’t have a lot of personal investment in it. I’m just waiting for the Twitter tirades and I’ll be pleasantly surprised if people can just accept that even if this is a bad adaptation, it doesn’t take anything away from the original series. See, a bad adaptation doesn’t kill something. You can just not watch it.

Let’s be honest, love it or hate it, adaptations just keep on coming out and while the occasional one hits the right notes, most really are just compressed and sub-standard retellings of a story that was fine as it was. Still, I’ll probably keep watching them just hoping that eventually someone will figure out how to do it well because that will be something worth seeing.

Thanks again Rise for the great question and now I will turn it over to the readers. How do you feel about Netflix and their live action anime adaptations?

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8 thoughts on “Inquiring Minds Want to Know 2019 #2

  1. I’m always take the approach that most adaptations/remakes/revivals are lazy cash ins with a fraction of the creativity, originality or passion behind them that the original works had.

    Which was also the thing that made them stand the test of time enough to warrant an adaptation. So you’re doomed to fail from the start really.

    That being said, I don’t get upset about them and I’m always willing to give something the benefit of the doubt. Especially when creators do try and reinvent the source material rather that emulate it whole cloth.

    1. Getting upset about adaptations isn’t going to make them go away and at the end of the day people can choose not to go watch them. So I’m with you, in that I’m happy enough to give them a go but I’m not overly surprised if they don’t end up being particularly good.

  2. i thought the bleach one was really well done. the erased i was meh about, i think that was the first time i wish it had content cut out, it felt slow (i’m still “watching” it), death note is uh not very good, and the fma one was decent up until we got to the end battle (tho i guess it could have been worse, lol). i didn’t know cowboy bebop was made into a liveaction :00 i also haven’t finished the anime but it was one i watched as a kid when it aired on tv so i watched some episodes. i think that i would still check out liveactions even though they haven’t been the best so far, i think it’s mainly curiosity, i always want to know how they will be adapted. mm i always feel like a non-fantasy title would be better adapted but i haven’t watched many of those??

    1. It (Cowboy Bebop) hasn’t been made yet but it’s been announced.
      Yes, curiosity is a good reason to check them out. While not a lot have been good, it is interesting to see how they bring it to life sometimes.

  3. It’s a tough one, similar to American remakes of foreign films like The Ring or Let the right one in. The originals are far superior, but there’s an audience that will not watch foreign films with subtitles, no matter how well it’s received.

    Personally it feels like a waste of time and effort, and even more annoying if you don’t know going in because they changed the title. Rec to Quarantine for example.

    It kind of feels like they can’t come up with anything original which is hard to believe.

    1. But original isn’t safe and a lot of producers want safe. If they can use a title or a story that has already achieved success in a different form they think it improves their likelihood of success, though one could argue actually making a good movie would be a better way to go still box office numbers don’t really support that theory.

      1. True, but very few big hits are remakes or adaptations. It seems to be a very American thing. You don’t see many anime based on Western media.

        1. Unless its Alice in Wonderland. In which case it pops up literally everywhere for some reason. And there’s been a few Shakespeare adaptations.
          And I hate to say it, but all the big hits last year seem to be based on comic book heroes.

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