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“One Piece”: The live action that broke the curse

Netflix released the live action version of One Piece on Aug. 31, 2023. The story follows Luffy’s (Iñaki Godoy) adventure in the East Blue as he gathers the first members of his crew.

Every anime fan’s worst nightmare is having their favorite show get a live adaptation. Netflix’s announcement of the “One Piece” live-action series left many fans concerned, reminded of previous poorly executed anime adaptations with cheap budgets and D-list actors. However, so far in the series, the live-action adaptation of this cherished show has exceeded fans’ expectations and proved that Netflix could bring to life the bold color palette world and its exuberant characters.


Eiichiro Oda began writing the long-running and beloved series “One Piece” in 1997 with the anime starting shortly after in 1999. The fanbase since has been ever-increasing, and for good reason. The story follows Monkey D. Luffy (played by Iñaki Godoy in the live-action) and his adventure in becoming King of the Pirates. The live-action show tells the story of the “East Blue” arc and has condensed it to eight episodes, each ranging from 50 to 60 minutes. Once Netflix got its dreaded hands on the show many viewers were split, some were excited that a poorly executed show would turn new fans away from the animated series, while some were excited that it would make the show more appealing to those who do not watch anime. 

Oda’s hand in the adaptation of the anime certainly helped in making it the success that it became. Although many fans were previously concerned with the quality of the storytelling and actor choices, fans were satisfied that these decisions would be left to the creator as well.

Those that are already fans will be pleased with the different approach taken with the story with new moments excluded from the original series. Fan favorite characters that previously had little screen time such as Vice Admiral Garp (Vincent Regan) and Koby (Morgan Davies) have become a part of the main cast in the show. Also, Buggy the Clown (Jeff Ward) had more interactions with the main crew and brought comedic value to the story.

Netflix released promotional movie posters in anticipation of the “One Piece” premiere. These posters introduced fans to the live-action characters that will appear in the first season. (Netflix)

Although many  viewers of the show were already fans of the animated series, those who have never watched it can still be just as entertained. While it is not completely on script with the original series, it still has all the important messages and heartfelt moments that the original anime had at a faster pace. The only problem is that new watchers will be missing out on the long fight scenes and comedic moments provided in the manga. 

There were many things that this show did well but the computer-generated imagery (CGI) usage was far better than anticipated. Concerns that Luffy’s rubber abilities would not transfer well were put to rest within 15 minutes of the first episode. Not only that but other abilities, the fishmen and the sea monsters almost seemed real and were a clear example of CGI done right.

The only downside of  this show is how serious they made it. “One Piece” was created as a fun and enjoyable story but the Netflix remake has made it more of a drama than an adventure story. While the actors still did a good job at displaying their characters, the only real consistent comedic relief appears to come from Luffy. 

The show appeared to be setting up for a continuation of the series which would be wonderful to see if it takes the same approach that the first season has. In the end, it was a success, pulling in more viewers to enjoyably watch “One Piece.”

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About the Contributor
Emilie Huovinen, Writer
I write articles not tragedies.

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