The Creator Of Cowboy Bebop Is Making A New Show, And The Director Of John Wick Is Designing The Action

BY SANDY SCHAEFER/JULY 20, 2023 12:47 PM EST

Whether you're a die-hard consumer of all things anime or a complete novice to the medium, odds are fair you've at least heard of "Cowboy Bebop." Director Shinichirō Watanabe's genre-blending touchstone anime has provided inspiration for numerous other projects since its release in the late '90s, including the "John Wick" films. In fact, series director Chad Stahelski has confirmed the conclusion to "John Wick: Chapter 4" was a deliberate homage to the (dare we pull out the big guns and use the word iconic) ending of Watanabe's space Western/neo-noir/Blaxploitation mashup.

In an example of things coming full circle, Adult Swim has now greenlit Watanabe's new series "Lazarus," a show that will feature "high-octane action with sequences meticulously designed by Chad Stahelski" (per the official announcement). Described as a sci-fi globe-trotting thriller set in the foreseeable future, the series will be produced by anime studio MAPPA and follow in the footsteps of "Cowboy Bebop" (a show renowned for, among other things, its toe-tapping jazz music) by featuring a score by "a collection of renowned jazz and electronic artists." Their ranks include the jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington (West Coast Get Down); producer, DJ, and musician Floating Points (Floating Points Ensemble); and producer, DJ, and musician Bonobo.

'Death is coming for this sinful world'

"Shinichirō Watanabe is simply one of the greatest living artists, and it's a dream come true to be able to collaborate with him on a new original series," said Jason DeMarco, SVP, Head of Anime and Action Series at Adult Swim. Watanabe himself was far more humble in his own statement, referring to the series as "a culmination of my career so far" before adding, "I hope you enjoy it."

The official synopsis for "Lazarus" reads as follows:

Watanabe, whose other famous works include "Samurai Champloo" (a personal favorite of mine when I was younger), has never been one to shy away from darker subject matter, so "Lazarus" ought to be very much in his wheelhouse, by the sound of it. Those in the San Diego area can get an early sneak peek at the series by attending the Adult Swim Festival's "Toonami On The Green" event this Saturday, July 22, 2023.

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