The One Piece live-action adaptation of Eiichiro Oda’s highly regarded manga is a breath of fresh air. Live-action adaptations of popular manga are notorious for being disappointments, but this show defies such odds and more with a fun storyline, accurate character depictions, and stunning location visuals.
We follow Monkey D. Luffy, portrayed by Iñaki Godoy, as he pursues becoming the King of Pirates and looking for worthy members to join his crew. The first season features the storylines of the first four members of Luffy’s pirate crew: Zoro (swordsman played by Mackenyu), Nami (navigator played by Emily Rudd), Usopp (sniper played by Jacob Romero, and Sanji (cook played by Taz Skylar).
Join us as we dive into the high five reasons Netflix’s One Piece breaks the cycle of lousy live-action adaptations. There may be spoilers ahead so be warned, especially for number five.
Storyline Follows Main Aspects of the Source Material
If you aren’t familiar with the famous series, One Piece is based on the manga created by Eiichiro Oda and also has an ongoing anime with 1000+ episodes. The live-action adaptation stays true to how Luffy recruits his crewmates, albeit with unexpected tweaks that make sense and are not unwelcomed.
Accurate Character Portrayal
As someone who watched the anime, I genuinely appreciate how the actors embodied the crew dynamics and the individual personalities of each titular character, especially the key players.
Iñaki showed Luffy’s carefree attitude and protectiveness of his friends. Mackenyu embodied Zoro’s loyalty and stoic personality. Emily’s resourceful and brave portrayal of Nami was also on point.
Jacob’s cowardly yet sincere Usopp was another fun watch. And Taz’s take on the flirt, yet kind Sanji, was on-point.
Visually Faithful Settings
Another one of the fascinating things that makes the live-action stand out is the visual settings. The Baratie, where Sanji works, Going Merry, and Alvida’s ship are some of the visuals that the live-action got right. They are a treat for the eyes and a reference to the source material, which fans and incoming new viewers will love.
Costume Design On-Point
I cannot not mention the effort of the costume design crew when it came to the character’s clothing. Buggy, played by Jeff Ward, and Mihawk, played by Steven John Ward, are identical to what they look like in the anime. Also, Garp, played by Vince Regan, has a wardrobe faithful to the source material.
Let’s not forget the get-up of the Straw Hat crew as well. Iñaki’s Luffy has variations of polos that were on the covers of the manga. While Zoro, Nami, Usopp, and Sanji had their costumes straight out of the pre-time skip—when you know what that means, you know—episodes from the anime.
Easter Egg and References Galore
Lastly, for fans of the beloved series, there were tons of references and easter eggs scattered in the live-action episodes. Some of them are:
- The characters attending Gol D. Roger’s execution: Young Mihawk, Shanks, Smoker, Dragon, and Buggy.
- Bink’s Sake playing during Luffy’s flashback
- Wano Country (Current arc in the anime) on Nami’s map
- Noland Reference (a key character as the story moves along)
- Shimotsuki Family Symbol (fighting school where Zoro trained)
- Baroque Works Teaser (implied route the live action may take)
- Smoker Tease in the Post-Credits Scene (He possibly appears at the start of season 2 if the live-action follows the anime to the tee)
- Sea Kings and Monsters Reference during End Credit Scenes
- Zoro Fighting Mr. 7 of Baroque Works
- 7’s Design Is Based On Oda’s Doodle
Overall, as an individual who dedicated hours to catch up to the current arc of the anime, the live-action adaptation of One Piece truly is a win and worthwhile watch.
I appreciate it so much because Eiichiro Oda himself is involved with the production which means that the team gave the series justice even if there were scenes that took tons of episodes to flesh out and were crammed into the right episodes.
And since its premiere two weeks ago, Netflix has confirmed that it is getting renewed for a second season!
SEA Wave rates this series a 4.5 out of 5 waves.
One Piece is now streaming on Netflix!
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