Netflix’s latest attempt to bring a popular anime series to live action has been met with mixed reactions from fans and critics alike. The streaming giant has adapted One Piece, the long-running manga and anime series by Eiichiro Oda, into a 10-episode season that covers the first four arcs of the story. The show follows Monkey D. Luffy, a rubber-bodied boy who dreams of becoming the king of the pirates, and his adventures with his crew of misfits and outcasts.
A Faithful Recreation of Oda’s World
One of the most impressive aspects of the show is how it manages to recreate the colorful and whimsical world of One Piece, which is filled with bizarre characters, exotic locations, and fantastical elements. The show’s production design, costume design, and visual effects are all top-notch, capturing the essence of Oda’s style and vision. The show also uses a lot of practical effects and stunts, which add to the realism and excitement of the action scenes.
The show also stays true to the spirit and tone of the original series, which balances humor, drama, and emotion. The show does not shy away from the darker and more serious aspects of the story, such as slavery, corruption, and oppression, but it also does not lose sight of the fun and adventure that make One Piece so appealing. The show also pays homage to many iconic moments and scenes from the manga and anime, such as Luffy’s first encounter with Shanks, Zoro’s sacrifice for Luffy, Nami’s plea for help, and Luffy’s declaration of war against Arlong.
A Charming Cast of Characters
Another strength of the show is its cast of actors, who do a great job of bringing Oda’s characters to life. Iñaki Godoy plays Luffy with a lot of energy and enthusiasm, capturing his innocence, optimism, and determination.
Mackenyu portrays Zoro with a cool and stoic demeanor, but also shows his loyalty and compassion. Emily Rudd delivers a nuanced performance as Nami, showing her cunning, intelligence, and vulnerability. Jacob Romero Gibson plays Usopp with a lot of humor and heart, making him both hilarious and sympathetic. Taz Skylar plays Sanji with a lot of charm and flair, showing his passion for cooking and women.
The supporting cast is also impressive, featuring actors who embody their roles well. Jeff Ward plays Buggy with a lot of flair and charisma, making him a fun and memorable villain. Elijah Rodriguez plays Koby with a lot of earnestness and courage, making him a likable ally. Mone Kamishiraishi plays Alvida with a lot of sass and confidence, making her a formidable foe. And Rila Fukushima plays Kuina with a lot of grace and skill, making her a tragic figure.
A Few Flaws and Shortcomings
The show is not without its flaws and shortcomings, however. Some fans may find the show too slow-paced or too faithful to the source material, as it takes 10 episodes to cover what the anime covered in 44 episodes. Some fans may also find the show too cheesy or corny at times, as it tries to replicate some of the exaggerated expressions and reactions that work better in animation than in live action. Some fans may also be disappointed by some of the changes or omissions that the show makes from the original story, such as skipping some minor characters or events, altering some details or dialogues, or adding some new scenes or subplots.
The show also suffers from some technical issues, such as inconsistent lighting, sound quality, or editing. Some of the visual effects or makeup may also look unconvincing or unrealistic at times. And some of the performances or accents may also sound off or unnatural at times.
A Promising Start for a Long Journey
Despite its flaws and shortcomings, Netflix’s One Piece live-action series is a surprisingly enjoyable adaptation that delivers more than it disappoints. The show is full of heart, from its vibrant set and wardrobe designs to the disarmingly charming found-family dynamic that the live-action crew so effectively exudes. The show is also faithful to Oda’s world and vision, while also adding some new twists and perspectives. The show is not perfect, but it is certainly one of the rare success stories of anime adaptation.
The show ends on a cliffhanger that sets up the next arc of the story: the Baratie arc. Fans can only hope that Netflix will renew the show for another season soon, as there is still a long way to go before Luffy reaches his ultimate goal: finding One Piece.