Primarily based on reactions from followers of the OG 1998 neo-noir western anime directed by Shinichirō Watanabe, Netflix’s new live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop could also be a worthy blended bag or a forgettable cash-in. However those that binge the sequence to the top might have questions after the flesh-and-blood iterations of Spike Spiegel and Jet Black, as performed by John Cho and Mustafa Shakir respectively, half methods on account of private rifts. Season 1 ends on Spike wandering drunkenly in an alley till he collapses to the pavement. Then we hear a voice chirp his identify.
[Ed. note: The rest of this post contains major spoilers for Cowboy Bebop season 1]
When Spike cracks open his eyes, he finds an oddball child dishing out some gibberish about assigning Spike a potential bounty. Subtitles establish the particular person as “Ed” and viewers of the anime can establish the quirky determine because the one and solely Radical Edward.
Having debuted within the unique anime’s ninth episode, “Jamming with Edward,” Ed, quick for Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV, is a crazy 13-year-old hacker who joins the Bebop staff in trade for serving to the crew attain a bounty that seems to be an AI. (Technically, they add the AI’s unique character to security elsewhere and provides the Bebop a duplicate of the AI.) Ed’s well-known for her kiddish one-liners, a crazy lens on life, and cartoony mannerisms (primarily based on the dancing actions of sequence’ composer Yoko Kanno).
After a conspicuous absence in Netflix advertising and theories in regards to the iconic child hacker’s look, Ed, together with Ein, the corgi who was deserted by the Bebop crew on account of his hackable mind implants, pops up within the live-action present with their white crop prime, black pants, green-tinted goggles, and purple hair lifted from the anime. The character just isn’t listed within the credit, however Netflix famous in a tweet that this Ed is performed by newcomer Eden Perkins, who makes use of they/them pronouns. (Netflix couldn’t affirm to Polygon whether or not the character makes use of the identical.)
When Ed ought to enter the image of the live-action sequence was some extent of dialogue, since they weren’t a part of the anime’s unique lineup both. “I wished to make it possible for we have been giving sufficient dramatic actual property to the character of Ed, as a result of Ed is the nice disrupter,” says showrunner André Nemec. He wished respiration area to ascertain the world with Spike, Jet, Faye, and Vicious earlier than “dropp[ing] the atom bomb that’s Ed into that world to create chaos.”
In Ed’s massive ending scene, they inform Spike — by way of hard-to-decipher glee — that the bounty is “Volaju,” referred to as the “Butterfly Man.” And so one other Cowboy Bebop season 2 plot thread is spun…
Who’s Volaju aka the Butterfly Man?
Within the unique anime canon, Volaju is the antagonist of 2001’s Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, or recognized within the U.S. as Cowboy Bebop: The Film, a facet story set between episodes 22 and 23 earlier than Spike’s fateful mission to obliterate the Syndicate. Just like the sequence characters Wen (a person trapped in a toddler’s physique) and Mad Pierrot (the clownlike murderer), Volaju was an antagonist on a tragic tier: a guinea pig for wartime experimentation, compelled by way of bodily abuse to mildew him right into a supersoldier.
Which brings us to the live-action script referring to its yet-to-be-seen Volaju because the “Butterfly Man.” Within the anime film, Volaju’s mind was drugged with nanomachines, which entered his mind as shapes of sunshine that resemble butterflies, “probably the most lovely butterflies conceivable.” Each time individuals are injected along with his blood, they will see the butterflies as nicely and change into resistant to mentioned nanomachines. He ruminates, “Numerous in numbers, butterflies can’t exist on this world, however I’ve misplaced reminiscence of the world wherein they belong.” The hallucinations of butterflies are sprouted from his struggle and laboratory trauma, reminding him that he’s in a continuing nightmarescape, a limbo. (Spike attempting to know an imaginary butterfly on the post-end credit scene of the film illustrates his personal imprisonment in a dreamstate like Volaju, surrounded and mocked by seemingly reachable magnificence but unable to really feel it.)
Volaju is about to commit “spooky dangerous issues” in accordance with live-action Ed. Within the anime film, a vengeful Volaju sought to contaminate complete populations with nanomachines—which he’s resistant to—on Halloween. Whether or not live-action Ed’s rambling in regards to the Butterfly Man is a homage or foreboding for the live-action universe is up within the air. If Vincent Volaju pops up within the flesh, it’s possible he’ll get a personality revamp or his story altered like the opposite bounties in Half 1. However it might possible nonetheless contain butterfly imagery.
You would possibly ask too: How does Ed even know Bebop? In “Binary Two-Step,” they appear to have been a supply of bounty ideas for Jet for an period of time who by no means met them face-to-face, which fuels Spike’s distrust. (“The hacker? Making [the tip] tremendous dependable,” he replies sarcastically.)
The ending textual content “See You House Cowgirl, Sometime, Someplace!” (the top credit score textual content used when Ed departs Workforce Bebop within the previous anime) factors to extra Edward weirdness sooner or later if the sequence continues onwards to Half 2 for higher or worse. A follow-up might make clear live-action Ed’s motives to ship staff Bebop on their mishap of a mission after the AI.
Nemec shares that they timed Ed’s final second look as Spike is present process a downward spiral as a result of “it felt like after the load of episode 10 that somewhat breath of Ed contemporary air was actually proper to remind the viewers that: and issues will go on, and possibly in a approach you could’t even start to take a position on.”
And if the live-action Cowboy Bebop just isn’t your jam, excellent news: you possibly can all the time watch the unique Cowboy Bebop: The Film.