Animated classics are usually best left alone. Live-action versions seldom live up to the original.
In rare cases, though, one does manage to reach that same level of brilliance. One of these is the Netflix live-action adaptation of that classic animated multi-genre space Western, Cowboy Bebop.
Cowboy Bebop only loosely follows the anime. Many characters are similar and some plot lines are repeated, but overall it can and does stand on its own. I have watched the anime (several times) and can assure you that you can go into this not having a clue as to what it’s about.
The series does not, as the name might suggest, revolve around a cowboy named Bebop. It refers to the fact that interstellar bounty hunters are nicknamed cowboys and the ship of this particular crew is called the Bebop. The initial two-man crew — Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir) and Spike Spiegel (John Cho) — are as cliché as it sounds: men on the run from their past and making a living apprehending bad guys for the fare. With limited succes. Add in Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda), a con-girl with a spotty past and a corgi, and you get a bunch of misfits that roam human-inhabited planets fighting evil, trying to find love and often literally themselves.
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David Holland is a British digital artist, whose cyberpunk cityscapes combine Blade Runner and BioShock influences.
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“DarkEnter” is a digital artist from Austria, many of whose paintings are set in a cyberpunk world that doesn’t look pleasant at all!
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It’s 2045. War is the main industry and cryptocurrencies are invalid, leading to even more conflict and civil unrest.
Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 doesn’t start with a bang. It takes several episodes before the plot gains momentum and you’ve seen enough of the world, and the people in it, to really get into it. But it’s worth sticking with it.
Unlike such dystopias as Mad Max, the post-apocalyptic world of SAC_2045 is familiar to ours. It’s about real people. The series shows the impact of a large economical crisis and currency devaluation on average people.
The impact of the United States as a global power on other countries is another nice touch. It’s a bit of a cautionary tale, and this aspect of the anime is very well done.
What is less well done is the animation. I am not a fan of this style of cheap and basic-looking CGI at all, and I feel the anime deserves better.
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In our tradition of keeping reviews spoiler-free, you won’t find anything about the plot of Altered Carbon‘s Season 2 here. But to summarize: the Netflix series, based on the book of the same title by Richard K. Morgan, is set in a cyberpunk future where those of means can literally live forever. They store their consciousness on “stacks” and jump from one body — real or synthetic — to the next, indefinitely, never experiencing real death.
The story centers on, Takashi Kovacs, “the last envoy”, what that means, and his place in a society he doesn’t quite fit into.
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The cyberpunk adaptation of the beloved manga is definitely a step up from many other anime adaptations we’ve seen. With names such as Christopher Waltz and Jeniffer Connely, you know that at least the cast is strong and there to support the story.
You don’t have to be familiar with the setting of Alita, although you may be left with some questions if you aren’t. The entire history of the setting isn’t explained very well.
All we know is there’s a post-apocalyptic war and people are scrambling to survive in a mostly mechanical city. Cyborgs are common and some kind of evil villain lives in a splendid city in the sky.
It’s all a bit Hollywood-esque popcorn entertainment with, to be perfectly fair, a run-of-the-mill action/love story.
Continue reading “Alita: Battle Angels”
High Tech Low Life, the cyberpunk band from Okinawa, Japan, came as somewhat of a surprise to the European scene.
Not just a band, but an entire worldbuilding setting with their own characters and concept. Which is in itself nothing new, as many steampunk bands have done that. But their intent on doing better and saving the future is something done so well, I had to go and investigate.
So I sat down with the guys from High Tech Low Life to find out more about them and the terrible possible futures converging in 2069, which is, let’s face it, not that far away!
Which you can read right behind the piece about their music and concerts I witnessed. Stick with it til the very end, because there is a little giveaway!
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Mute is a neon-noir futuristic detective story in which we follow mute bartender Leo on a desperate search through the gritty underbelly of an almost dystopian Berlin for his missing girlfriend Naadirah.
Throw in all kinds of criminal underworld types and random characters and you have the story.
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Today we have a cyberpunk novel by Jacob Prytherch: The Real Thing.
Roman Rasnic, “The Black Cat,” is a chemist turned black market peddler of a drug he invented called Cupid. It allows people to experience the sensation of intense love toward whomever they want. This has proven quite profitable to him in future Japan.
Unfortunately, it also causes him plenty of problems.
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It’s unclear who coined the phrase “biopunk,” but presumably the term was invented after steampunk had been established as a genre. At least, it was not until steampunk had entered the mainstream that biopunk emerged.
Like steampunk, this proposed literary genre finds its origins in cyberpunk. It replaces the information technology of cybernetics with the synthetic biology of genetic engineering, but maintains most of the other elements of the genre.
Which begs the question: Should biopunk be considered a genre of its own? And if not, are steam- and dieselpunk really genres in their own right?
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