Spoilers for ‘Cowboy Bebop’ below

Where is Ed? That’s the question ‘Cowboy Bebop’ fans have been asking since the first trailer for Netflix’s Live-Action remake was released. Well, that and “Why did Netflix decide to remake this series in the first place?” if you’re feeling particularly cynical …

In statements to PolygonAndré Nemec explained that his version was never supposed to “mimic anime”, not exactly. Instead, it has been designed to “live in the spirit of anime”. But for many, it’s hard to imagine that spirit without Ed, the 13-year-old hacker who plays an integral role in Jet’s team aboard Bebop.

So far, every Netflix promo has featured each and every one of those adorable space cowboys except Ed. Even Ein has had his time to shine. So what is the problem? Where is Ed, aka Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV?

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In that aforementioned interview with Polygon, Nemec was asked that very question. Your answer? “Ed, everyone wants to know about Ed! People will be … delighted when they see the season.”

And now that the first season is complete, we can confirm that Ed does appear, but not until the end. Without spoiling too much, the final episode of the first season of ‘Cowboy Bebop’ ends with Spike alone again, adrift and away from Jet and Faye. That isolation combined with everything else he’s just been through leads Spike into a heavy drinking session that ends with him passing out in a nearby alley.

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That is until a strange young figure arrives calling out Spike’s name. Ed has finally arrived in live-action form, complete with green glasses and messy red hair. “I have a job for you,” Ed says. “A reward!”

However, Spike doesn’t seem to care, so Ed goes into more detail, explaining that they have to find ‘The Butterfly Man’ AKA Volaju. Anime fans will recognize that this person is none other than Vincent Volaju, a war veteran turned terrorist who has visions of butterflies thanks to the presence of anti-nano-machines in his blood.

The episode, and thus this entire season, ends with Spike passing out again as Ed tries to keep him awake. Then the following words appear on a final card: “SEE YOU A SPACE COWGIRL, SOME DAY, SOMEWHERE!”

The implication, of course, is that Ed will return in season two in a much bigger role, assuming Netflix renews ‘Cowboy Bebop’ after all those mixed reviews. But whether or not that happens, why keep such a vital character hidden until the very end?

Back in the original anime, Ed didn’t appear until episode nine, so his late arrival here is in keeping with the original material. Ed is also significantly weirder than any of the other main characters, so the writers may have deliberately held him back until viewers got more used to the wilder aspects of this adaptation.

And perhaps most important of all, Netflix is ​​known for losing viewers early on with many of its original shows, making the late addition to this key role pretty smart from a business standpoint.

But again, that last point depends on whether you think the series has managed to bring Ed to life correctly here. To viewers who have never heard of Ed, his cameo may seem like a really random way to end the season, but longtime fans will have a much more intense view of his arrival, be it positive or negative.

Although Ed is easily one of the most popular characters in the series, that kind of passion that he ignites also means that fans will be even more critical of his performance than most. And that’s particularly true given that many have been skeptical of this whole reinvention from day one.

From what we’ve briefly seen of Eden Perkins as the new Ed, we’re still not impressed, but it’s perhaps hard to judge this version of the character so hastily. The Netflix adaptation was never supposed to “mimic anime,” to be fair, so if a second season is commissioned, maybe Ed, live, will find a way to “delight” us after all. And if not, then it’s time to say, “SEE YOU, SPACE COWGIRL!”

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‘Cowboy Bebop’ season 1 is now available on Netflix.

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