Cowboy Bebop: What’s up Sweet Cakes?

So I wrote this right after watching the Netflix version and I was pretty incensed because of the differences but over time my views have changed and I feel if some people are enjoying the Live Action as it is then they should. It’s a different flavour. Not my cup of tea at the moment but I don’t feel it’s anyone’s right to dictate it.

So I couldn’t watch much of the live action show when it came out because I had an eye injury. By the time I was able to actually watch it in pieces, it was a couple of weeks old already. Initially, there were some good reviews floating around pre-release but during my hiatus these were quickly overtaken by a deluge of horror and hate from loyal fans. When I finally watched it, I understood why. I didn’t read any reviews till I watched to stay objective but…the moment where Vicious breaks out Pierrot Le Fou from the lab and asks his help to kill Spike broke my will to watch further. All I could recall was anime Vicious telling Spike he was the only one who could kill him. I could go no further. I eventually did…in bits and pieces….and a LOT of fast-forwarding. The last two episodes I finished in a neat four minutes.
I don’t doubt that the intention of the makers was good but they definitely missed out on a lot of very crucial subtleties. Or rather, they missed out on understanding what made Bebop amazing. They made a good TV show definitely but, to me, it wasn’t Cowboy Bebop…perhaps a parallel story running in the same universe. 

Anyway, I got to know Yoko composed some new music for this one so went to go check that out on Spotify. It’s probably the only thing about this new show which I feel is still Bebop. I went through the tracks and then ended up looking up Butterfly from the original which am currently listening to….the contrast is quite stark. This new version’s OST consists of just a few jazz numbers, one waltz and a couple of other random tunes. They are still gorgeous but nowhere near as sophisticated as the anime OST where there is so much diversity it boggles your mind. 

The gap here is not at her end in any way. She is, of course, amazing and I am yet to find anything composed by her which I didn’t love the first time I heard it but it’s like….if I commission Da Vinci to paint me a fruit bowl that’s what he will give me…versus if I do something which capitalizes on his genius and utilize it more fully. The tracks here sound exactly like any of the numerous jazz/musical numbers from the original which play in the background of chase/fight scenes but I found nothing to even remotely compare to a “Words That We Couldn’t Say,” “Pretty with a Pistol,” “No Reply,” “Don’t Bother None”….and any of the other two dozen tracks which are just so good and tell half the story in their lyrics alone. 

One could argue that they did not need them because they had the originals but do I really feel that anyone built the narrative of the live action around its music? Not really. If the showrunners decided to rewrite the original, then why not come up with music which lines up with the new story and characters? Do I really resonate with ‘No Reply’ when I think about the narrative of the new Julia? Not really. I can but it would be forced. They did try to do something original with the song she sings in the bar but honestly, every single time she sang “Honnnee” I died a little on the inside with cringe…

If you have not heard the original OST and want to hear something really beautiful go hear ‘Elm.’ Also, “What’s up, sweet cakes?” is a lyric from another cool track ‘Ask DNA’….hear that too….hear it all!!

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