Anime live-action adaptations have been a real struggle for many series. The biggest issue they face is trying to render the essence of the series being adapted, while trying to make things believable for an audience that loves unbelievable things. And while some adaptations have turned out decent, many are not successful for the audience they’re trying to appeal to. But that might have changed with Netflix’s take on the long-running manga and anime based on One Piece. What makes this series different than other adaptations is how much work went into making the heart of the series come together in live-action before everything else. Although it helps to have everything from the anime look good, it’s the story and how characters interact which make this show one of the good ones for anime fans.
One Piece is based on the manga and anime series created by Eiichiro Oda, who also had some influence in this Netflix series. The story follows a young pirate named Monkey D. Luffy, a dreamer who wants to become king of the pirates and sail to the Grand Line in search of the legendary treasure called One Piece. Along the way, he meets all types of characters and gathers together a crew that will help him fulfill his lifelong dream. But becoming king of the pirates is no easy task, nor is living during the golden age of piracy where so many people are trying to find their fortune.
The first season of the Netflix series adapts a number of stories from the beginning of the original manga, introducing viewers to the entire Straw Hat Pirates. Roronoa Zoro, Usopp, and Nami all have interesting stories that cross paths with Luffy and take the group on crazy adventures. Things appear to start off slow at first, but quickly get into crazy territory once we learn more about Luffy’s origins and see him in action. What works out very well for One Piece is how it’s not afraid to get into some of the more outlandish aspects of the original anime and manga, while still maintain a serious approach to the overall story. It acknowledges how over-the-top this world can be, with all of the powers and wild personalities, but treats it all with an element of reverence that makes it fun to explore. For One Piece fans that were hoping for a solid take that would respect the source material, this first season is definitely a step in the right direction.
Luffy is the heart of the group, played by Inaki Godoy. He has a cheery attitude that annoys some characters he meets, but quickly wins them over by his strong sense of morality and care for those he deems as friends. But when situations get serious, Luffy’s quick attitude change make him a force to be reckoned with that is great to watch. Inaki’s acting fits very well with Oda’s original vision for the character, bringing to life a beloved character that brings everyone together. His timing on jokes, conversations with the rest of the crew, and clashes with villains all fit together nicely and make Oda’s world feel real.
The rest of the Straw Hat Pirates are all very interesting for different reasons. Every member of the crew gets at least an episode that is focused around them, diving more into their backstory and having their past come back to haunt them in some way. Mackenryu plays Roronoa Zoro and looks fantastic in every action scene where he’s fighting, but also displays the guile and hard personality that feels pulled right out of the manga. His battles with various characters look very good and are even better when paired up with Luffy in some episodes.
At the same time Nami, played by Emily Rudd, brings a lot of wit and humor with her interactions with the cast. She has more emotional moments by the end of the season when he crew is faced with bad guys from her childhood, but can still scrap with the everyone else when the time comes. Usopp, played by Jacob Gibson, is another great addition to the crew. His humorous attitude and goofiness mirrors how the character is portrayed in the original story, but with an added level of charm that makes his appearance an added joy for One Piece fans.
He gets a few good moments towards the end of the season in the bigger fights, but has some great dialogue with various characters in the first episodes that he appears. And when Sanji finally arrives, played by Taz Skylar, it rounds off the Straw Hat crew. He also gets some great fight scenes where he teams up with Zoro that look really good. But it’s his escentric personality, love for cooking, and accent that make him an incredibly likeable character that audiences will enjoy seeing.
The one part of One Piece that might not work for everyone is how far certain elements of the world may go. Because this is an anime live-action adaptation, not everything translates great into real life. Inevitably, some things wind up looking too goofy when next to the serious tone the story is going for. Luckily, there aren’t too many examples that wind up like that in One Piece. The ones that do fortunately don’t bring down the episode, let alone the whole series. Some of the effects on powers for certain characters don’t look as good as others, with a few scenes that look low budget.
Luffy’s stretching powers look good for most of the show, with the exception of a few fight scenes that don’t have the best lighting and camera placement. The fishmen that featured prominently by the end of the season are probably the one aspect of the show that doesn’t look as good, with some of the fish thugs not looking as realistic as others. The rendering of their skin, as well as some of their unique features, don’t always match up to everything around them. For some viewers it won’t be a big deal, because of how faithful the show is to their characters in the anime and manga, but for others it will stand out.
One Piece will definitely get a lot of attention from hardcore fans and those who have never followed the original manga or anime. It will definitely be seen as one of the better live-action adaptations that have a good grasp on its source material and world. The action in One Piece is very good and fun to watch, but the story will be intriguing for many unfamiliar with series because of all these other aspects working out well together. There can be a lot of great things in store for the Straw Hat Pirates going forward, which could lead to many fun times for anyone looking for another fun show to watch.
What do you think of the One Piece Netflix live-action series? Do you want to see the show get a season 2? Who is your favorite character in all of One Piece? Let us know everything down below in the comment section!
One Piece Netflix Season 1
This is a fun show to watch, with great action scenes and interesting characters to follow. For an adaptation of the original manga and anime series, it gets so much right in rendering it’s world in live-action. While some effects don’t always work, the majority of characters and locations look very good, along with the intriguing backstories behind them. Hardcore One Piece fans will enjoy seeing the show and newcomers will have fun exploring this crazy world.
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