Cowboy Bebop Creator Stresses Diversity's Importance In Anime

The creator of Cowboy Bebop stands as one of anime’s greatest series. Creator Shinichiro Watanbe changed the game with the anime masterpiece, and it has since gone on to bolster a life of its own. With Netflix working on a live-action adaptation of the series, Watanabe is back in the public eye in a big way, and fans are taking time to praise the creator for something very important.

When it comes to crafting stories, Watanabe always keeps an eye on diversity, and he has spoken several times on why the decision is an important one.

Recently, resurfaced interviews featuring Watanabe hit social media, and the broke down his stance on adding racial diversity to anime like Cowboy Bebop.

“I paid a lot of attention to skin color. Also to using multiple languages. Lots of times when you watch anime, the characters all have white skin — all the characters in fantasy stories all have white skin, which I never liked,” Watanabe said in Cowboy Bebop: The Jazz Messengers.

“I wanted to have lots of characters in Bebop without white skin, and if people weren’t used to that, well, maybe it would even make them think a little bit about it. The same was true for languages. I wanted to have lined uttered in multiple languages, but that would have been just too difficult.”

Continuing, Watanabe kept this idea moving forward with Samurai Champloo. The acclaimed series may be about the samurai, but the creator said he made sure the anime involved various foreigners, immigrants, and people of different color.

“National borders have always been arbitrarily drawn by people, and in ancient times there was a lot of exchange of people and culture with the continent,” Watanabe shared.

Of course, this diversity if hard to miss when you watch Watanabe’s series, and it has been praised again and again. Now, this truth will be carried on as Netflix’s take on Cowboy Bebop has already assembled a diverse lead cast with John Cho heading the whole thing up. So, here is to hoping Watanabe will see his beliefs reflected in the highly awaited live-action series.

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So, what do you think of these comments by Watanabe? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!

Cowboy Bebop was an original anime series first produced by Sunrise in 1998. Directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, with scripts written by Keiko Nobumoto, characters designed by Toshihiro Kawamoto, and songs composed by Yoko Kanno, the series explores many existentialist philosophies as it follows the adventures of Spike Spiegel and a group of bounty hunter misfits aboard the titular Bebop spaceship in the year 2071.

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