|Created By||Steven Maeda and Matt Owens|
|Release Date (Netflix)||August 31, 2023|
|Monkey D. Luffy||Iñaki Godoy|
|Monkey D. Garp||Vincent Regan|
“One Piece” Plot Summary
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The creation of Netflix’s “One Piece” is a story that’s similar to Monkey D. Luffy’s own journey. The live-action adaptation of the hit manga and anime had a lot against it. Covid kept pushing back the production; a passionate fanbase was skeptical of a “One Piece” show; and it seems 99% of anime adaptations feel like cash grabs with little substance. Yet against all odds, “One Piece” is now a show with tremendous heart, fun, and a celebration of adventures with friends.
Monkey D. Luffy (Iñaki Godoy) will be King of the Pirates—at least, that’s what he believes. For Luffy, the mission is simple: get a ship, gather a crew, and find the One Piece, the coveted and legendary pirate treasure. While Luffy is confident in his abilities, everyone he encounters doubts him. Yet Luffy has two incredible strengths that set him apart from others: his loyalty to friends and a freakish rubber body that can stretch as far and wide as he wants. As Luffy continues to jump from one perilous adventure to the next, he gains friends, admirers, and enemies.
“One Piece” takes its time developing each character, their relationships, and their history. Each episode focuses on a member of Luffy’s slowly growing crew, from his first mate and skilled swordsman Zoro (Mackenyu) to the master chef and footfighter Sanji (Taz Skylar). “One Piece” isn’t afraid to get dark, violent, and tragic, like in the case of Nami’s (Emily Rudd) or Usopp’s (Jacob Romero) backstory. While there are episodic villains, there is a clear focus on building the complicated relationship between Luffy, Marine leader Monkey D. Garp (Vincent Regan), and aspiring Marine cadet Koby (Morgan Davies).
Throughout the first season, Captain Luffy may make inches of progress by finding the map to The One Piece, but he makes strides in a crew and ship that you can’t help but root for.
“One Piece” ultimately follows the spirit of its protagonist: the show may look like a lost cause, but it fights with its heart on its ever-expanding sleeve. I went in skeptical and was won over. For newcomers and fans of the anime or manga, Netflix’s “One Piece” is the little ship that could.
Our Rating: Positive (Watch This)
Who Is This For?
People who enjoy classic adventure stories or tales of kids going on a perilous journey, like “The Goonies” or “Stranger Things.” Fans of the anime or manga “One Piece” should also give this adaptation a shot. “One Piece” makes pirates cool again.
Notable Performances, Moments, or Episodes
Iñaki Godoy as Monkey D. Luffy
Godoy captures the spirit of the animated Luffy and brings the same energy into his live performance. Godoy can play Luffy as a playful child, a demented leader, a helpful spirit, and a protective warrior all in one episode. His contagious smile can become a lethal grimace within minutes. Godoy is able to give Luffy an emotional range as wide as the character’s rubber powers.
Episodes to Anticipate: “Romance Dawn,” “The Man in the Straw Hat,” “The Pirates are Coming,” and “Worst in the East.”
Terrific Costuming and Design
Each episode puts our hero, Luffy, in a bright red shirt and signature straw hat. Each character surrounding him is equally colorful and eccentric in their hair and costumes. From killer clowns to missing limbs and twisty mustaches, costume designer Diana Cilliers and her team embrace the anime’s colors and angles to a fun, rewarding effect.
Embrace of Darkness and Danger
Based on the trailer, one might assume “One Piece” is for children or family entertainment. While there’s something for everyone to enjoy, the show doesn’t shy away from the violence and tragedy in Luffy’s life. Characters lose family members, body parts are chopped off, and people bleed in a fashion that’s rare for even Hollywood blockbusters. While the violence isn’t gory, it’s there to convey that the pirate life is dangerous, and Luffy’s journey is dramatic.
Passion and Focus in the Characters and Their Relationships
With the blessing of the manga’s creator, Eiichiro Oda, “One Piece” knows that it must stay true to the characters that fans have known and loved. Every character gets an arc and a chance to fall and pick themselves up within eight episodes. The task may sound daunting, but concise writing and terrific chemistry between the actors make each journey believable. The relationship between Koby and Luffy is particularly strong, with the potential to grow in both tragic and heartwarming ways. “One Piece” has built a foundation of characters we want to join at sea.
On The Fence
The Show Should (and Still Can) Depict the Anime’s Lively and Weird Aesthetic
If you think telepathic snails are weird, the anime “One Piece” gets weirder. From reindeer doctors to a guitar-playing skeleton, the story has plenty of toys to pull out of the box. The coloring of the show can be bogged down by realistic brown hues that dull the image. Some of the action is inspiring, but most of it is also filmed in medium shots and quick cuts that take away from the fluid lunacy of the scene. Perhaps with a larger budget for a second season, “One Piece” can include more of these elements.
What I Hope To See
If “One Piece” continues, I hope to see the group now united in shenanigans, more lively action sequences, and more inclusion of the manga’s unique characters. The first season has closure but sets up even more potential plotlines for a second season. In order to allow the story to stay true to the thousand-chapter anime, “One Piece” will need more episodes each season.
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Has “One Piece” Been Renewed For Another Season?
As of this writing, no. But the final episode hints at where another season can go.
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