In one of the least inspired and predictable changes made by Netflix to the source material during its transition to live-action – of which there are many, nearly all received poorly by general audiences – the streaming giant’s adaptation of Cowboy Bebop has changed Faye Valentine’s sexuality from straight to bisexual.
Faye’s new sexuality is revealed in the widely-panned series’ sixth episode, ‘Binary Two-Step’, wherein the purple-haired bounty hunter meets the Netflix original character Mel (Jade Harlow), a mechanic hired by Jet to repair the Bebop.
Upon meeting for the first time, the two briefly exchange small-talk before Mel begins flirting with Faye, first taking note of the latter’s new ‘railgun’ and asserting, “Whenever I see a good looking piece, I just have to touch it,” while twinkling music suddenly begins to play.
“Yeah,” replies a flustered Faye, before stammering back, “Touch away.”
Eventually, Mel informs Faye that she’s “just waiting for the part your boyfriend is out scrounging for,” to which the Bebop member replies, “Oh, no, not my boyfriend. Just some guy who thinks you’re ripping him off.”
“Yeah, there’s nothing here worth taking,” Mel says of the ship before giving Faye a beckoning look. “Except maybe you.”
As the scene abruptly cuts, the episode then turns to its main story, proceeding to spend a majority of its run time on Spike’s search for Julia.
When Mel and Faye are next shown on-screen, they are seen lying nude in a bed following an implied sexual encounter, with the two in the middle of a post-coital conversation about orgasms.
As the camera pans up from the women’s feet, Mel can be heard saying to Faye. “You’re kidding,” before repeating in disbelief, “You’re not kidding.”
“I don’t know, maybe?” replies Faye. “So I was your first?” asks Mel, prompting Faye to admit, “Okay, yeah. You’re the first. At least, that I can remember.”
Eventually, Mel prepares to leave the Bebop, to which Faye asks, “Can I call you sometime?”, only for her new lover to reply, “Yeah, but first you gotta figure out who the real you is,” before departing.
As noted above, in the original anime, Faye is never shown to have any romantic or sexual inclinations for the fairer sex.
Rather, she is shown to solely have an interest in men, only ever expressing outright romantic feelings for the man who conned her upon waking from cryosleep, Whitney Haggis Matsumoto.
The swapping of Faye’s sexuality was explained by her live-action actress, Daniella Pineda, during an interview with Variety published on November 19th.
Asked about the production staff’s “decision to code Faye’s sexuality as one of being a queer woman,” Pineda replied, “Well, I’ll tell you where I think the creators or the writers were coming from: This was a young woman who was cryogenically frozen, so she doesn’t know anything about herself and she doesn’t know who she was or where she came from. ”
“So, everything she is experiencing is for the first time, and I think that under that umbrella of ‘first-time experiences’ is sexuality,” the actress continued. “They wanted to make a realistic scenario of someone who was discovering themselves and trying to understand who they were, and I think that sexuality was also something that was part of this character’s journey to find themselves.”
The live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop is now streaming on Netflix.
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