So let’s take care of the elephant in the room. One Piece, Netflix’s live-action adaptation, is precisely that: an adaptation, but one that is joyous, heartfelt, and entrenched with sea-riously raucous action choreography and sea-nematography.
While it relies heavily (and joyfully) on Eiichiro Oda’s source materials and embellishes to perfection the casting, writing, set-art, music, and costumes, some hardcore fans may have been aggrieved by the multiple minor/major storyline tweaks that were adapted to make this 8-part Netflix masterpiece.
So let’s just enjoy it for what it is and not get too gummy about the con-sea-quences of compressing over 60 anime episodes or over 100 hrs of material.
While Oda’s story arcs may have been sacrificed, a little, for brevity, nevertheless it has rolled up a delectable red carpet for new viewers to appreciate One Piece: a rag-tag band of coming-of-age pirates, where every fleshed-out character is driven by dreams, propelled by dogged determinations and aided with a very unique set of ‘survival’ skills.
The man-boy captain of the Straw-hat pirates, Monkey D. Luffy, has candourly made it his life mission to find the elusive ‘One Piece’, while uniting and enjoining his shipmates towards righteous and earnest ‘piracy’. He advocates camaraderie towards innocent lives and property, bravely battling those that get in the way of their dreams.
Ultimately he offsets the weight of carrying his team by listening attentively, making uncomplicated-albeit-impulsive decisions, and extending rubbery limbs.
The devil is in the details.
Recreating anime art to real life is never easy and the production team’s devilish attention to detail shines brightly– from the hung drawings and garnishes on dishes at the Baratie to the map drawings and game stalls at Arlong Park — as world-building was not spared a dime or should I say ‘berry’.
The various sets and soundtrack were crafted beautifully, immaculately, and passionately, putting to worth every $150mm production budget.
The blissful watching though, lies within the depths of the characters and their banters/quips. Great writing makes great stories, and here is one of the show’s strength, even though it may be a little campy, it is barrel-loads of fun and reins in viewers unsuspectingly.
Coupled with the trippy, melancholic, and dramatic soundtrack, every beat amplifies scenes and delivers moods desirably. The music is so well produced, that it cuts your ears like hot knife through butter, gliding every scene to ebb and flow perfectly.
What long-time fans have appreciated these last 26 years, new viewers have now learned to embrace the quirky, goofy, yet lovable charm of the Straw-hat pirates’ fun and free-spirited adventures, without skipping a beat nor episode.
Thank you Oda and Netflix, for agreeing to and for adapting this. Truly brought out the nostalgic goosebumps as I got a reminder and refresher of my love for One Piece.
And thank you, for reading this.