Cowboy Bebop's Live-Action Ed Backlash Explained | Screen Rant

Of all of the divisive aspects of Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop, the show’s interpretation of Ed, AKA “Radical Edward”, has been the most universally disliked, for several reasons. Ed’s quirky and energetic personality made her a fan favorite in the original anime, but her brief appearance at the end of season one seemingly served to turn people off to both her and the show, as a whole. While this comes off as an extreme reaction, its also one that has many reasons behind it.

From the very start, Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop had received mixed to negative reviews from fans and critics, alike. While some people appreciated the show’s attempts at capturing the energy of the original anime while adding its own spin on things, others hated it for trying to make homages to the anime on purely a surface level, in addition to its original elements detracting from the things that people liked about the original anime and some very controversial changes to the story, such as the way Vicious and Julia’s characters are reworked. People ended up becoming of a very mixed mind about the show, and its merits - or lack thereof - are still a topic of discussion.

Related: Cowboy Bebop: How Ending Twist Completely Changes Spike & Vicious' Story

However, even many supporters of the show are in agreement that its depiction of Ed, played by Eden Perkins, doesn't quite work for the Netflix adaptation. First and foremost, people have been highly critical of Ed’s costume design in the show. While her outfit and hair largely match her design from the original anime, this works against the character because of the changes made to the rest of the show. The other characters had their designs tweaked in various ways in the transition from animation to live-action, and so Ed looking exactly the same made her come off as hitting the uncanny valley, looking all the more out of place given the redesigns given to the majority of the rest of the cast.

The other contributing factor to the backlash against live-action Ed stems from the quirky and energetic personality they exhibited in their one scene. Anyone who’s watched the original Cowboy Bebop anime would know that Ed is an extremely eccentric character who’s responsible for a lot of the comedic moments of the show, said eccentricity even coming out through her name being a pseudonym that’s short for “Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV”. Perkins’ single scene as Ed at the end of the show does a good job of capturing the character’s bizarre personality - but at the same time, that also ended up working against the show. Ed’s quirkiness worked in the anime because anime is a medium that makes it easy for characters to behave in silly ways, but when given a one-to-one translation into a live-action anime adaptation, that same silliness can look weird, because an actual person doesn't work under the same suspension of belief that animated figures do.

In short, the reason for all of the backlash directed at the live-action version of Ed largely stems from her being too similar to the original. Perkins’ costume and performance are on point, but neither one worked in live-action simply as they were, and as a result, the character hit the uncanny valley for many people. As a result, the single scene featuring her became the go-to example for detractors of Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop to decry the show as another bad live-action anime adaptation, something that will probably stick for a long while.

More: Why Netflix's Cowboy Bebop Isn't As Good As The Anime



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