Netflix Japan released the Japanese dubbed version of the Cowboy Bebop teaser “Lost Session” on the same day as the English version. To stay true to the spirit of Cowboy Bebop , Netflix brought back the anime’s original Japanese voice cast to voice the American actors who portray its characters in the live-action adaptation.
For the Japanese dubbing, Koichi Yamadera, Unsho Ishizuka and Megumi Hayashibara reprise their roles as Spike Spiegel, Jet Black and Faye Valentine respectively. Considering that it has been more than 20 years since Japanese voice actors first portrayed these characters in the anime, fans were naturally curious as to what they would sound like when re-portraying these characters in their new form. In “Lost Session,” the Japanese voice actors sound like they’ve never left their roles.
To capture Spike’s cool and laid-back demeanor in the anime, Yamadera features Spike in a calm and gentle voice, not like many other bishounen characters. Even during fight scenes, Yamadera’s Spike doesn’t usually scream like many male characters in anime do. When angered or provoked, Yamadera’s Spike tends to sound more energetic in his voice, but never harsh or rough.
Spike is also a character who carries a lot of emotional scars, as a result of his past in organized crime. To capture those scars, Yamadera also portrays Spike as someone who has nothing to lose and who is fine with death if it comes to him. For the live-action adaptation, Yamadera continues to bring these aspects of the character to life with Spike’s version of John Cho.
In Faye’s case, Hayashibara’s portrayal of the character is very different from her English dubbing actress Wendee Lee. While American fans are more used to Lee’s more mature and seductive voice as Faye, Hayashibara’s Faye is more cynical and playful in her voice, which makes sense for her character.
As a woman who nearly died in a space shuttle accident and was subsequently the victim of scammers in her past, Faye deeply distrusts people, which Hayashibara conveys flawlessly in her performance. Since Faye is very reactive to situations and is known for her mind games with her peers, Hayashibara conveys it in her voice acting as well. This seems to be the interpretation of the character that Daniella Pineda looks for in her portrayal of Faye, which makes Hayashibara’s voice fit naturally with Pineda’s. In this way, Hayashibara effortlessly recovers the original essence of his character in the anime with the interpretation of Pineda on screen.
In the live-action version of Jet, Ishizuka’s portrayal hasn’t changed much from her original portrayal of the character in the anime either. As the oldest member of Bebop, Jet brings with him years of experience and many emotional scars. After all, he was a former police officer who worked for the ISSP and was betrayed by his own partner, costing him his left arm. He also had a relationship with a woman named Alisa, who ended up breaking up with him over irreconcilable differences.
To capture Jet as an emotionally beaten man, Ishizuka endows him with a deep-sounding voice that is also harsh in the anime. Whether he’s angry, calm, or happy, Jet’s emotional scars are always transmitted with varying variations of roughness. Ishizuka continues to convey these aspects of the character with the version played by Mustafa Shakir, also hinting at the character’s past.