Netflix’s live-action One Piece turns the greatest manga into content

Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece is widely regarded as one of the greatest comics of all time. With over 1,090 chapters across 106 volumes, and an anime adaptation with 1,073 episodes, One Piece has become an immensely popular franchise. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Netflix’s live-action adaptation of One Piece is highly anticipated and has a lot to live up to.

One Piece follows the story of Monkey D. Luffy, a boy with stretchy powers, on his quest to find the mythical treasure known as One Piece and become the King of the Pirates. Tonally, it is a straightforward action-comedy that combines elements of Looney Tunes with a fantasy epic. Unlike Netflix’s previous adaptation of Cowboy Bebop, which had to balance numerous stylistic shifts and existential themes, One Piece focuses on making Luffy’s journey as captivating as possible.

The first season of One Piece primarily focuses on the formation of Luffy’s crew, the Straw Hat Pirates, as he travels through the pirate-filled East Blue ocean. Along the way, Luffy encounters new friends and enemies, while flashbacks explore the backstories of the Straw Hat Pirates and their desire for adventure.

Although One Piece is an excellent adaptation in many ways, it does suffer from the usual pitfalls of Netflix shows. Netflix has a distinct visual and narrative style that often results in washed-out color palettes, dim lighting, and plain shots. The pacing can feel both too fast and too slow, rushing through plot points but neglecting character development.

Despite these shortcomings, One Piece shines in its production design, costumes, fight choreography, and the performances of its cast. Iñaki Godoy’s portrayal of Luffy is especially praiseworthy, capturing the character’s energy and charm.

One Piece’s adherence to Netflix’s house style, however, does not do justice to its vibrant and unique world. The show’s fast pace and constant focus on novelty leave little room for the audience to connect with the characters on a deeper level.

It’s important to note that One Piece’s manga origins contribute to its distinct and sometimes dissonant tone. It embraces the tropes of shonen manga, with its emphasis on friendship, exaggerated fights, and character catchphrases. While these quirks may seem unusual to those unfamiliar with the genre, they add to the charm and appeal of the series.

Overall, One Piece has the potential to be a successful live-action adaptation, but it falls victim to some of Netflix’s pitfalls. Despite this, fans of the franchise are likely to find enjoyment in seeing their favorite characters brought to life on screen.