Cowboy Bebop: Why Daniella Pineda Will Be the Perfect Live-Action Faye Valentine

On Friday, Aug. 27, a video of Cowboy Bebop actress Daniella Pineda went viral on social media. In the video, Pineda humorously addressed “fan concerns” about not being the right body type to play Faye Valentine and that the casting directors did all they could to find the right woman for the role. They couldn’t find her, so “they just went with [her] short ass.”

Pineda similarly addressed “fan concerns” about the costume not being 100 percent accurate to the anime with wit and humor. She stated that the costume department tried to make it work but “doing stunts in tissue paper” caused the costume to “disappear and rip,” among other things. While Pineda was not in character when she made her video, her response to the criticisms she received nonetheless gave fans a glimpse of what to expect from her portrayal of Faye Valentine in Netflix's live-action adaptation of the popular '90s anime, Cowboy Bebop.

Faye Is The Type To Assert Her Boundaries

Faye Valentine in Cowboy Bebop

As fans of the anime will know, Faye Valentine is no stranger to dealing with male criticism. She receives it all the time from her teammates on the Bebop, along with the occasional misogynistic jab or two. She's also no stranger to unwanted male attention or being threatened with rape and other forms of sexual assault. However, Faye is no helpless victim.

She often proves herself to be resilient in dangerous situations involving men and always asserts her boundaries when she's been disrespected or other lines have been crossed. This is most notable in the anime episodes "Ballad of Fallen Angels" and especially "Jupiter Jazz (Part 1)", where Faye must fend for herself on a moon populated only by men. From her video alone, Pineda demonstrates that she will have no trouble portraying this aspect of the character in the live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop.

Faye Sometimes Uses Humor As A Coping Mechanism

faye valentine cowboy bebop

Another trait that's easily identifiable with Faye's character is that when she finds herself cornered, she often uses humor as a coping mechanism. This is most notable in her first episode in the anime, "Honky Tonk Women." In literally the first scene she appears in, Faye is stalked by some shady men in black the moment she enters an herbal medicine shop. Realizing she's in immediate danger, she humorously tells the store merchant, "You know the first rule of combat? Shoot them before they shoot you." From there, she fires a Tommy gun at her would-be assailants.

While Faye does not succeed at scaring the men away, she still uses humor to protect herself against further harm. When she is later captured by Spike Spiegel and Jet Black and kept in custody aboard the Bebop to collect the bounty on her head, Faye once again uses humor to protect herself against harm from them. As Pineda similarly used humor to address criticisms of her casting, it can be confidently expected that the actress will succinctly bring out this coping mechanism in her version of Faye in a way that feels authentic.

Faye Puts Up A Hard Exterior To Hide A Vulnerable Interior

Faye Valentine in Cowboy Bebop

Despite all the different methods Faye employs to protect herself against getting hurt, at her core, she is a deeply vulnerable person. Prior to the events of the main series, the episode "Speak Like a Child" gives audiences a glimpse of her life prior to the space shuttle accident that resulted in her being cryogenically preserved for 54 years. In this episode, it's revealed that she once had a pretty normal life, complete with a loving family and some good friends.

The episode "My Funny Valentine" depicts her life following her immediate revival -- not a pleasant experience for Faye. In fact, it was most likely this experience that hardened her personality and made her profoundly distrustful of others. In the episode, her naiveté in the future timeline is exploited by an unscrupulous doctor, his assistant and his nephew, the latter of whom poses as a lawyer in order to lure her into a scam that results in her inheriting a larger sum of debt. This likely set her on a trajectory of always running away from her problems rather than figuring out a way to solve them.

While Faye in the present timeline is still not trustful of most people, she yearns for a meaningful connection with another person. She attempts to form this connection with both Spike and Jet on the grounds that they are all individuals with tragic pasts. Unfortunately for Faye, both men fail to meet her halfway. When she meets Julia, Spike's beloved, for the first time in "The Real Folk Blues (Part 1)," she is immediately drawn to her and even proposes that they work together as a female duo. Julia doesn't take her up on her offer but also doesn't live long enough to reconsider.

In "The Real Folk Blues (Part 2)," when Spike prepares to avenge Julia's death and make peace with his past, Faye meaningfully confronts him for the first time to inform him -- in her own way -- that she values having him in her life. Even though they rarely get along and she is aware that Spike doesn't respect her all that much, he and Jet are still the closest people she now has to family. She doesn't want to lose any more important people in her life, especially having lost everyone else she once knew following her fatal space shuttle accident.

While a trailer for the Netflix version of Cowboy Bebop has yet to drop, from just the one-minute video actress Daniella Pineda made dismissing "fan criticisms," it can easily be observed she has the acting range to bring the character of Faye Valentine to life. Not only does Pineda demonstrate similar character traits that Faye is consistently depicted as embodying in the anime, but it also gives fans a little insight into how she will portray some of Faye's more vulnerable moments in the live-action adaptation.

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