One Piece

One Piece

2023 - Usa Japan

All aboard the One Piece ship! 

by Jennifer AJ 

The legendary Japanese anime which has captivated generations of fans finally received a live-action adaptation. The 8-episode Netflix series debuted to resounding fanfare in late August and the buzz is stronger than ever. The adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his merry band of pirates is adapted with the blessings of original creator Eiichiro Oda, whose deep involvement in the project ensures that it won’t suffer similar abysmal fates to other previous anime-to-live action endeavours in Hollywood (Dragon Ball, Death Note, Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell – the list goes on).

One Piece 2023

For newbie cadets, One Piece revolves around the exploits of Luffy (Inaki Godoy), an eternally optimistic, straw-hat-wearing pirate wannabe who dreams of finding the elusive treasure known as the One Piece and becoming the King of Pirates. To do that, he gathers a band of misfits to join his Straw Hat crew and battles enemies from four corners of the ocean to gain supremacy in the treacherous world of pirate-dom. 

Mexican former child actor Godoy plays Luffy. The Imperfects star is no stranger to playing a superhero, but Luffy is on another level: aside from the massive name recognition, Luffy is a tricky character to play, requiring tons of comedic timing that could come across annoyingly over-the-top in the wrong hands. Godoy successfully nails Luffy’s boyish effervescence and kooky nature while imbuing the character with grounded emotions when the story calls for it. 

One Piece 2023

The series wouldn’t work without the Straw Hat Pirates. Luffy’s shipmates are integral to his voyage and their camaraderie is a huge part of why the anime remains so beloved. Diverse and complementary, the show managed to put together a team that shines both individually and collectively. Mackenyu Arata slays as Roronoa Zoro, the brawny green-haired former pirate hunter turned Luffy loyalist. No stranger to anime adaptations, the Japanese-American actor embodies the physicality and sarcastic nature of the samurai with such panache. Emily Rudd plays Nami, the wayfinder and only girl in the crew who – in all the ways that matter – girl-bosses the boys with her pragmatic worldview. Jacob Romero Gibson as inventive marksman Usopp and Taz Skylar as skilled fighter-slash-cook Sanji round out the eclectic crew. 

Fans will be pleased to find scores of One Piece memorable villains brought to life here. The first seasons cover several arcs in the manga and anime: Alvida, Buggy the Clown, Monkey D. Garp, Mihawk, Arlong, et cetera. Each one is told within one or two concise episodes. Diehards might find this inadequate, but the choice actually works for the screen. 

One Piece 2023

One of the most distinct traits about Luffy is his inhumanly elastic body, a super ability he gained after eating a Devil Fruit as a child. In time, the Straw Hat Pirates will come across adversaries who also have superpowers from these extraordinary fruits. Some grant the eater the ability to turn into smoke, some allow its eater to regenerate after being chopped to pieces, and then, some turn its eater into mochi (you read that right). The goofy nature of the story largely comes from these larger-than-life plot points and the zany characters. At times, the Japanese humour does feel awkward being transposed into American sensibility. But as the series sails along, it eventually finds its own voice, discovering ways to translate the source material’s brand of eccentricity to plausible live-action scenarios.

One Piece 2023

Exciting and full of heart, One Piece is an enjoyable adaptation that – while not without its faults – is pliable enough to adjust to its live-action setting and deliver thrilling old-school adventures with bountiful of fun. 

Published on September 15th, 2023. Written by Jennifer Ariesta for Television Heaven.

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