After months of highly questionable production stills and an equally dubious ‘teaser’ trailer, Netflix has finally released the first full trailer for their live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop – and the results are about as expected.
Offering little in terms of actual plot details, with Netflix seemingly expecting every member of its potential audience to have already watched the original anime, Cowboy Bebop’s first trailer instead opts to present viewers with a montage of scenes showing off both the neo-noir aesthetics of the series and the flamboyant nature of those who populate its world.
While little is shown in its two-and-a-half minute runtime that audiences haven’t seen in previous previews, particularly in terms of the series’ cosplay-accurate costuming of its villains and its use of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World-esque framing techniques – though, admittedly, the quality of the series’ CGI spaceships looks much better than fans were first led to believe – the trailer does give a better look at Netflix’s absolute butchering of Faye Valentine’s character.
Unsurprisingly, as was surmised in Bounding Into Comics’ previous coverage of the ‘Lost Session’ teaser, Netflix has blinked in the face of keeping Faye accurate to her original character, choosing to move away from the now-considered ‘problematic’ femme fatale she was conceived as in favor of presenting her as a social-media-approved generic ‘strong female’ character.
In the original anime, Faye was shown to be a clumsy con-artist with less-than-the-best of luck, constantly relying on her ‘feminine wiles’ and quick wits to pull off her jobs and escape from danger rather than brute force.
However, the series appears to have elected to ignore her unique personality in order to show her as generically ‘tough’, as the trailer shows Faye wielding a palm knife and taking down Spike in a street fight in Tijuana, indicating that she is a skilled hand-to-hand combatant capable of going one-on-one with even the most skilled of martial artists.
Further, Faye’s new ‘generic strong female’ characterization can be seen in the moment when she proposes joining the Bebop crew, asking Spike and Jet, “Waddya say, fellas? Wanna team-up? I was thinking a 60-40 split. Going my way, of course”.
While Faye assisted and joined the crew of the Bebop under a similar promise of a 60-40 split on a job in the anime, her negotiation with Spike – who actually offers Faye the 40% in an attempt to talk her down from 80% – was originally presented as more of an opportunistic scam than an instance in which she could self-insert herself into the team.
It’s clear that Netflix is attempting to capture the self-assured and conniving nature of Faye’s original depiction, yet in doing so, they’ve conflated her fast-talking nature and aforementioned wits with quippy, Marvel-style snark.
In the end, this ‘ball busting’ dialogue trope not only grates on the nerves of audiences who have grown more than tired of its overuse in every movie since Guardians of the Galaxy, but also ditches the nuance of her character in favor of presenting casual viewers with a more socially palpable female lead.
Interestingly, given how hard Netflix has tried to make their live-action series as accurate to the original anime as possible, Faye seems to be the only player to receive such a major character revamp – which seems a more than a little misogynistic, especially from a company that virtue signals as loudly and proudly as the streaming giant.
The first season of Cowboy Bebop is set to release on Netflix on November 19th.
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