When Netflix first announced the live-action adaptation of One Piece, I had my reservations about the project. There are many anime to live-action adaptations that didn’t do so hot, whether that was movie form or television show form.
Netflix did eventually announced that Eiichiro Oda, the creator of One Piece, would be helping with the production. When I heard the news, I had a brief glimpse of hope that the adaptation would do well. Never in a million years did I expect the live-action to blow me away as much as it did.
One Piece, the live-action adaptation, was an amazing undertaking with an amazing result. Although some of the events in the live-action adaptation don’t follow the manga or anime one-to-one, it still stays true to the source. This made for an entertaining 8 episode season. Whether you’ve experienced the original One Piece or not, I do think it’s worth a watch if you enjoy some fun pirate adventures. Fans of the work will get more out of the experience.
So, as I mentioned above, this adaptation blew me away. For an 8 episode season, I didn’t expect myself to find so much enjoyment in watching this show. Now, the first thing I want to mention is that I think the enjoyment of this show stems mainly from my experience with the source material.
Seeing the characters and stories come to life on a live-action screen was very satisfying and exciting. For those who have never experienced One Piece, then I think things will be a bit overwhelming. For context, this season of the live-action covers roughly 5 ish arcs in the anime, roughly 50 episodes. There were plenty of cameos in the season that I don’t think new viewers would appreciate without having the context.
This adaptation also changes plenty from the source material. The live-action One Piece still feels like One Piece, but some reveals happened differently mainly for pacing reasons.
So, the first major part I want to cover has to do with the casting. The characters in One Piece are some of the most varied and unique I’ve ever watched. As such, I had high expectations for this cast. In this regard, I’m very pleased with the casting choices. All the actors in the main cast do a fabulous job at their roles.
I especially have to mention that Zoro and Sanji’s actors were top-tier. The actor for Zoro, in particular, acts like Zoro both on and off camera, which was a pleasure to see. Speaking of characters, I liked the way Garp and Koby turned out. When I first started the show, I did think Garp felt a bit small compared to his anime counterpart, but his acting pulled through, and he felt like he did in the source material.
Koby, on the other hand, had a greater purpose in this show than in the anime, as this was one of the major changes that occurred, which I will get into more later. Now, with Koby in this season, his actor grew on me as well. He had that bright-eyed innocence, and watching him grow throughout the season was awesome.
When it comes to villains, Buggy the Clown was honestly kind of terrifying. In the anime, Buggy was our source of comic relief, but in the live-action adaptation, they leaned into the creepy side of things. Granted, if powers like the Devil Fruits existed in real life, this would probably be closer to what it looks like. As such, the creepy clown look did grow on me and his personality was very Buggy.
The next area I want to discuss is the big changes that happened between the live-action and the anime. Honestly, the changes were nice for the live-action, since it keeps the pace going.
Spoilers ahead, so keep that in mind.
The first big change I noticed was Koby. In the anime, Luffy saves Koby when he was a child, and Koby doesn’t return to the story until after he grows up. In the live-action, they chose to keep Koby at his post-time skip age. Now, this means that Koby is in a lot of the events that he previously wasn’t. I liked seeing this because it was interesting to see how Koby reacted to the earlier events of One Piece.
The other big change in the live-action is the reveal of Garp as Luffy’s grandfather. In the anime, this happens way later, but I think this change also works for the live-action. With Marines in pursuit of the Straw Hat Pirates the whole show, there’s a certain amount of tension in every scene. This tension was great for the pacing of the show and kept everything flowing smoothly. All in all, great changes to fit the medium it’s presented in.
Now, the final aspect I want to talk about is the iffy things throughout the season. First off, some of the effects of Luffy’s Gum Gum powers looked a bit off. Sometimes, the stretching effect looked a bit overdone and unnatural. I also had a slight issue with some of Luffy’s lines. Some of them felt a bit stiff and the inflections of certain lines rubbed me the wrong way. But other than that, there wasn’t much to complain about.
The live-action adaptation of One Piece blew all my expectations out of the water. One Piece itself is already a masterpiece, so I was scared of what would happen once it went live-action. There are some awful ones out there, so I’m happy that this one wasn’t one of the bad ones. Now, for first-time viewers, the story might be a bit overwhelming, as there are a lot of plot points and characters that get introduced in the show. But for fans of the series, it is a treat. Either way, you should give this show a shot. You won’t be disappointed.