HomeBad Ass AsiansJohn Cho & Steve Aoki talk Cowboy Bebop and anime memories.

John Cho & Steve Aoki talk Cowboy Bebop and anime memories.

By Erin Chew, AsAmNews Staff Writer

With the upcoming release of the live action Cowboy Bebop on Netflix’ on November 19, what is there to not be excited about? An iconic anime classic, it follows a group of bounty hunters as they chase down the galaxy’s most dangerous criminals – and they’ll save the world for the right price.

Its starring character is Spike Spiegel which is played by John Cho in the Netflix live action adaptation. Cho really looks the part as Spiegel with the puffy hairstyle, blue suit and charismatic charms.

In celebrating the upcoming release, Cho appeared with Japanese American DJ Steve Aoki and conducted a casual question and answer session with Aoki in discussing how significant Cowboy Bebop is in invoking treasured childhood memories.

Cho willingly took a back seat to Aoki and deferred to him for most of the Q&A.

They also introduced Tank, the opening song for the Cowboy Bebop series created by Aoki. His remix pays homage to the original composer Yoko Kanno.

Cho starts off by discussing what an honor it was for him to play Spike Spiegel and went into asking Aoki how did he react when he heard Cowboy Bebop was getting a live adaptation?

“When I heard that you John was going to be a part of it, I thought – wow this is the perfect pairing. The question I had was, will you have the puffy hair like Spike? And low and behold, you didn’t disappoint,” Aoki said pointing at Cho’s puffy hairstyle.

“Growing up, I loved Cowboy Bebop and could sing its opening song Tank. Its one of those songs that when you hear it, you know straight away that its tied to this iconic Anime.

DJ Steve Aoki with John Cho. Netflix photo

For Aoki, Cowboy Bebop is an opportunity to showcase the vibrancy of Japanese culture and to remind the world at how prominent the home of Anime and Manga is.

“I love it, when Japanese culture is being heralded and showcased on a global scale. To be honest, anytime Japanese culture comes out in the world, it is always exciting.

“When I think of Cowboy Bebop and Anime as a whole, it brings out the little kid in me. I get excited watching the Anime classics like Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell etc and I religiously follow Studio Ghibli. During the COVID pandemic, I took a break and Anime nostalgia was a big thing for me and I went back in time and saw all the Anime collectables, films and series I used to love as a kid.”

A huge topic of conversation between Cho and Aoki was about the opening theme song Tank – with both the original and the live adaptation created by Kanno. Aoki’s DJ remix uses the original as the foundation and adds his own unique touches which pays homage to Kanno’s original that mixes both Western genre music with Japanese sounds. Aoki talks about the thought processes he went through in composing his Tank remix.

Well, I wanted to respect and pay homage to Yoko Kanno’s skills with the original but still add my own touches to that with electronic music. At the core, electronic music is a fourth language. Because Yoko Kanno’s music for Cowboy Bebop has elevated the series to another level, I needed to stick to this standard and create something where anyone can relate to it, no matter where you come from or what language you speak.

Cho continues to mention that the Tank Aoki remix may be the first introduction for some to Cowboy Bebop, particularly with Aoki’s younger generation of fans who didn’t grow up with some of the iconic Anime series like Cowboy Bebop.

Aoki added that when he was creating the remix, he never thought about it that way, and if that does inspire any of his younger generation fanbase, then he would have achieved a goal. In addition he said;

It is not just the music John, but for young kids who are not familiar with the original Anime series, they will know it now and see you as the eternal Spike Spiegel.

Netflix’ Cowboy Bebop will be released on the streaming service on November 19, 2021.

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