As many might’ve noticed, we’ve covered Cowboy Bebop and Tomorrow Studios’ next project, One Piece, quite extensively. The studio is tackling some of the most popular IPs and bringing them to life in a new format. Netflix is no stranger to it with their attempts at Death Note and the upcoming Avatar: The Last Airbender series. The future seemed too bright with the release of Bebop‘s release, but barely a month after its release, the series was canceled by Netflix. Of course, it opens up the question, what does it mean for the future of Netflix’s adaptation wave and, especially, Tomorrow Studio’s next project.
Short term, this won’t have any effect on any upcoming projects. It’ll certainly shake things up and there will be fears instilled that series with seasons mapped out will suffer a similar fate. One Piece‘s manga spans 1,000+ chapters with no true ending in sight as of yet. So, they’ll manage to map out seasons of content as they explore different parts of the Grand Line. Yet, the challenge is that the series has to get over the Red Line after the first season explores the East Blue.
That’s where the uncertainty lies. Even Cowboy Bebop ended on a cliffhanger that’ll remain unresolved with the arrival of Ed. There were plans to build upon what the season has offered. So, it means that even if the creatives behind the series have big plans, it’s not a confirmation that it’ll continue with a full adaptation. Yet, it’s understandable as Netflix puts a lot of value into their productions and has very specific expectations going in. If a product is expensive, they’ll try to get the most viewership numbers out of it.
No matter what your opinion is on the live-action Bebop series is, it’s very likely that the critical reception didn’t play directly into its cancelation. It simply didn’t get the audience that Netflix expected due to the popularity of the IP, the lack of word-of-mouth and positive buzz surrounding the series didn’t add any favors. It may partly be due to a very late marketing campaign with official trailers not releasing until long after its release date announcement. There is also the fact that the franchise may not have a broad of an appeal as one would think considering its standing in specific circles.
As the adaptation moved further away from its roots, choosing a serialized drama format over the bounty-of-the-week structure, it struck a nerve with fans in a negative way. The fact it tries to balance “both” aspects may also have also lost its appeal for viewers going through the ten-episode run. That one point might be One Piece‘s biggest advantage. Unlike Cowboy Bebop, the series was already made with serialization in mind. While the East Blue didn’t include many references to later storylines, the team will likely dip their toes into foreshadowing more and they have quite a bit more to play with.
Luffy’s eventual reunion with Shanks and his brother, who are making waves out in the Grand Line. The possibility of different and creative Devil Fruit abilities that come in countless varieties. Then there’s the history that led to Arlong’s actions and how the Marines play into this world. The dangers of the Grand line are heavily hinted at through Don Krieg during Baratie.
If they hide away enough details and hint at future storylines, may it be as small as Germa 66 posters in the background, there is quite a bit more build-up to the future of the franchise. Most of Cowboy Bebop‘s storyline focused on his time with the Syndicate that technically was mostly resolved outside of a left-field twist in the finale. We learn very little about the world outside of its underworld and our main casts’ backstories. One Piece, however, is all about world-building and letting its characters set out on a voyage to explore every corner of it.
There are mysteries that still haven’t been answered and certainly something that’ll grab people’s attention. Many fans are still discussing the mysteries of the weapons and the Void Century. I would dare say it’s a mystery on the same level as John Snow’s heritage that’ll have newcomers guessing what it may potentially be about and even visit the manga or anime adaptations to find out more. Cowboy Bebop is more straightforward in its approach, as there isn’t much to theorize. Ed’s arrival at the end doesn’t foreshadow any plotline, but rather gives fans the character’s long-awaited arrival.
Plus, there’s one last effect that may have also become a hurdle for new viewers to the anime adaptation. While the original 90s anime was a new benchmark within the industry, it was THE entry that defined future additions to the genre. Sadly, as time went by, we’ve seen plenty of entries that shared similar visual styles, storytelling concepts, and more. So, Cowboy Bebop also isn’t as new as it once was and the live-action adaptation may have suffered as a result.
One Piece, on the other hand, might seem like a pirate story similar to Disney’s Pirates of the Carribbean, there aren’t many “pirate” elements in the story. Once viewers meet the Straw Hat pirates and the wacky world they live in, the unique aspect of the show might draw in viewers that thought they were just going to see something in the vein of Black Sails or the Pirates franchise. One Piece is still even unique among other Shonen series and that may be to its advantage once it premieres on Netflix.