One Piece is a collection constructed on lofty guarantees. Chief amongst them: that its hallowed treasure, which nonetheless has but to be revealed because the collection started 26 years in the past, will likely be well worth the journey; that protagonist Monkey D. Luffy will sometime fulfill his dream of changing into the king of the pirates; and that its long-running manga collection and intimidatingly lengthy anime will in the end finish on a satisfying observe. The discharge of Netflix’s One Piece live-action collection provides yet one more promise to the collection’ tab—the promise that, in being tailored to dwell motion, it’ll emerge as one of many good ones, avoiding the dismal destiny of so many anime which have made that journey earlier than. The present doesn’t utterly reach holding this promise, but it surely makes an honest if uneven first impression, beckoning long-time followers and newcomers alike to remain aboard and see the place it might go subsequent.
Learn Extra: Each Upcoming Hollywood Anime Reside-Motion Adaptation That’s Obtained Followers Careworn
The live-action anime seas are treacherous waters for anime followers who’ve, both earnestly or out of morbid curiosity, watched as collection like Dragon Ball Z, Avatar: The Final Airbender, Fullmetal Alchemist, and most lately Cowboy Bebop, capsized underneath the burden of their very own misguided ambition to recapture the magic of their supply materials by throwing actual folks into the combination. These experiments, for lack of a greater time period, led to the consensus that any subsequent live-action variations can be doomed to fail as a result of the grand worlds, battles, magnificence and kineticism of anime can’t be reproduced in a live-action format, at the very least not with out trying low cost and uninspired by comparability.
One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda has been greater than conscious of followers’ trepidation that the One Piece live-action collection might effectively besmirch his magnum opus’ legacy by changing into yet one more instance of live-action drivel. Stoking these fears was the truth that producer Marty Adelstein’s Tomorrow ITV Studios additionally did Netflix’s live-action Cowboy Bebop, which was promptly canceled after its first season. Nonetheless, Oda promised that the difference, on which he serves as an government producer, wouldn’t “betray” followers who’ve been supporting the collection for the previous twenty years, and careworn that the present wouldn’t launch until he was satisfied with it.
The primary season of the One Piece live-action collection, which covers the most important story beats from the beginning of the manga’s opening East Blue saga up till the conclusion of the Arlong Park arc, sees Luffy assemble his pirate crew as they set sail to search out Gold Roger’s titular hidden treasure. The present covers numerous floor, particularly when you think about that it’s condensing what can be 93 chapters (or roughly 17 hours of anime) into eight hour-long episodes. The result’s an sometimes clumsy present that opts to streamline main story beats by dual-tracking arcs collectively in a single episode, thus giving followers who felt intimidated by the manga and anime’s lengths a gateway into Oda’s grand world.
And whereas it leaves a bit to be desired, the Netflix One Piece is among the uncommon well-made live-action anime variations. The present is stuffed with coronary heart, from its vibrant set and wardrobe designs to the disarmingly charming found-family dynamic that the live-action crew so successfully exudes.
Learn Extra: I Simply Learn 1,025 Chapters Of One Piece, And It’s A Rattling Masterpiece
What Netflix’s One Piece live-action collection does proper
What shocked me most about Netflix’s One Piece live-action collection is the way it deviates ever so barely from being a rote, SparkNotes abstract of the supply materials’s first main arc by including its personal authentic wrinkles to Oda’s epic, permitting one of many collection’ subtler relationships—that between Admiral Garp (Vincent Regan) and marine recruit Koby (Morgan Davies)—to take middle stage.
All through the season, the present balances this thread with the cat-and-mouse chase of the Marines pursuing the Straw Hats as they sail towards the Grand Line. Whereas manga and anime One Piece enjoyers like myself know the pair finally develop an unbreakable bond, we by no means get to see how the connection between the fearsome admiral and the previous pirate takes root outdoors of some stray manga panels interspersed between latter arcs within the collection. Fortunately, the Netflix collection is greater than keen to dedicate time to depicting the standard beginnings of their healthful friendship.
All through the live-action collection, Garp instills company in Koby by instructing his subordinate that he ought to get out of his personal head and belief his intestine instincts. In one of many earlier episodes, Garp instills this lesson in Koby over a sport of Go, which Koby proceeds to greatest Garp in after accepting his recommendation. Whereas innocuous on the floor, this scene serves to fill within the anime’s gaps in Koby’s sudden and superior character growth, as he goes from being a timid coward to one of many Marines’ bravest heroes.
This all involves a head when Koby chooses to defy Garp’s orders to detain Luffy as a result of he believes his pal is an effective pirate—one thing marines are indoctrinated into believing doesn’t exist. As a substitute of chastising Koby, Garp praises him for being sincere with himself and doing what he thought was proper.
Reasonably than feeling like filler or glorified fan fiction, Garp and Koby’s conversations construct upon the collection’ long-running theme about throwing warning to the wind within the pursuit of 1’s dream. For Koby, that dream is being marine.
Whereas the collection does an distinctive job of characterizing the dynamic of the Straw Hats’ burgeoning camaraderie, Garp and Koby’s flourishing relationship steals the present, and instilled a need in me to see different relationships explored extra deeply within the live-action collection, ought to it get renewed for a second season.
Learn Extra: Twitch Star Hasan Thinks One Piece Is Socialist (And He’s Proper)
Netflix’s One Piece suffers from rising pains, however they aren’t deal breakers
That’s to not say that Netflix’s live-action collection doesn’t make some sacrifices alongside the way in which. Within the present’s barely brisker pacing, which mixes each origin tales and early character-defining arcs for characters like Sanji and Zoro, you miss moments of character growth for Usopp and Luffy, who come off as one-dimensional bystanders to no matter scenes they accompany. That is notably disappointing contemplating their manga and anime counterparts play a extra energetic position of their crewmates’ arcs by having salient conversations about how their mates are feeling. As a substitute, the live-action pair are sometimes delegated to onlookers who both incessantly remark about how sturdy their mates are or, worse, quip like Marvel heroes.
Whereas the CGI within the live-action One Piece collection is on par with what you’d see in Netflix’s Witcher collection, I couldn’t assist however really feel a twinge of disappointment every time the present tried to recreate Luffy’s rubberman combating type. Thoughts you, my disappointment wasn’t with how uncanny it regarded, however how sparingly the collection showcased Luffy’s satan fruit powers. Every time he really fights utilizing his rubber man talents, it’s contained in short, tight digital camera photographs, as if the showrunners have been self-conscious about how goofy it would look to viewers. If something, the collection would’ve benefited from hanging on photographs of Luffy going wild together with his rubber man antics, particularly contemplating the good first impression the present makes by displaying how efficient Luffy’s Tom and Jerry-esque punches are at knocking people out.
As a complete, the primary season of Netflix’s One Piece live-action collection is a satisfying begin, one which’s trustworthy to the supply materials whereas including its personal recent, welcome insights. Whether or not the present’s success finally leads its live-action crew to sail to the sands of Alabasta, the clouds of Skypiea, or the impenetrable fortress of Enies Foyer has but to be seen, however I hope to witness its efforts to dwell as much as its promising first season.