WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Cowboy Bebop, now streaming on Netflix.
In the original Cowboy Bebop anime, Faye Valentine is a gambler and con artist turned bounty hunter who famously uses her good looks to entice information about bounties from weak-willed men. When it comes to her own love life, she's shown to have one former love interest from the time she was revived from cryosleep: a male lawyer named Whitney Haggis-Matsumoto.
In Netflix's live-action series, Faye undergoes a few changes, beginning with her establishment as a bounty hunter early on, with no hints yet of her gambling habits and her life as a con artist of her own free will. While Faye still uses her good looks and tango skills in the new show to capture her most dangerous bounty, she's now shown to be attracted to women.
The first time Faye's attraction to women is foreshadowed is when her male love interest from the anime, Whitney Haggis-Matsumoto, is reinterpreted as a woman for the live-action series. The first time Whitney is mentioned by Faye in Episode 4, "Callisto Soul," her role in Faye's story is roughly the same as that of her male counterpart in the anime. She was once again present when Faye was newly awakened from her cryosleep. One major difference, however, is that in the live-action series, Whitney posed as Faye's mother to steal her benefits. In the original anime, Whitney posed as a lawyer who fell in love with Faye and faked his own death so that he could dump all of his debts on her.
When Whitney is unwittingly reunited with Faye in the anime after being captured by Jet Black for a marriage scam, she has mixed feelings about him. Part of her remembers how much she loved him before learning she was scammed, and part of her is still angry at him for betraying her trust. These aspects of the Whitney and Faye relationship are still present in the live-action adaptation, though it is later confirmed in Episode 7, "Galileo Hustle," that their relationship was never a romantic one. Despite this change to their relationship, the Cowboy Bebop Netflix series still moves forward with reinterpreting Faye as a queer character.
Faye's sexuality is first explored in Episode 6 of the Netflix series, "Binary Two-Step," where she meets Jet's female mechanic named Mel. In the episode, Jet pays Mel to replace a part of his engine and asks Faye to keep an eye on her to make sure she does the job he's paying her for. When Faye makes it into the engine room to meet Mel, the latter shows sexual interest in Faye. At first, Faye is oblivious to Mel's intentions but eventually catches on and ends up sleeping with her.
When asked by Mel if this was her first time sleeping with a woman, Faye cannot recall if she's had any past experience with sex since she's still an amnesiac at this point in her timeline. What she does know is that she did enjoy having sex with Mel and wants to stay in touch with her. From that point forward, Faye continues to show sexual interest in women with some hints that she could be attracted to more than one gender. Given that Faye did use her sexuality at least once to capture a dangerous male bounty, her sexual leanings could either be established as bisexual or lesbian depending on what Faye learns about her past in Season 2.
All 10 episodes of Cowboy Bebop Season 1 are streaming on Netflix.
KEEP READING: Cowboy Bebop: 5 Episodes Key to Understanding Faye Valentine
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