‘One Piece’ May Be Too Much for Some, but Netflix’s Energetically Faithful Adaptation Hits More Than Enough of the Right Notes

Having seen Demise Notice and Cowboy Bebop burned on the stake, One Piece arguably presents Netflix with its trickiest balancing act but relating to bringing wildly common anime and manga properties into live-action.

Not solely does it have to keep away from the pitfalls that blighted the aforementioned failures – one thing helped exponentially by creator Eiichiro Oda’s involvement within the collection – nevertheless it must strike that delicate stability between guaranteeing it doesn’t alienate its built-in viewers whereas nonetheless interesting to a model new one utterly unaware and oblivious to its standing because the best-selling manga in historical past with a posh and complex lore that must be laid out, expanded, and constructed upon within the area of eight episodes.

The excellent news is that for essentially the most half, it really works a deal with. In fact, it ought to be famous to any of the One Piece-loving readers on the market that this author’s data of the property is about as nonexistent because it will get, and but the streaming service’s newest blockbuster-sized unique nonetheless delivers coronary heart, humor, appeal, journey, and no small quantity of eye-popping motion sequences by the boatload. Nonetheless, there are points certain to have an effect on newcomers unfamiliar with the mythology, to the extent that it feels a lot too slavish at means too many factors all through.

Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

That being mentioned, the primary episode is a spectacular strategy to introduce One Piece to the lots, no matter how invested you might be. Proper off the bat, director and government producer Marc Jobst units out a stall the remainder of the crew follows by luxuriating in sweeping visuals, attention-grabbing closeups, and a way of grandeur that lays out a stall as an expansive epic from the very first scene.

It takes some time for the rhythm to set in narratively, although, with the timeline hopping backwards, forwards, and sideways with common and sometimes reckless abandon to cowl the who, what, when, the place, and why of its main gamers (of which there are numerous), which was inevitably to be anticipated given the sheer quantity of ambition required to execute such an enormous swashbuckling fantasy on this form of scale.

Basically a “getting the crew collectively” story for 5 of its eight installments – which drags on at factors when there’s an terrible lot of desk setting and recruitment sidequests for such a perfunctory and considerably predictable payoff come the finale – Iñaki Godoy’s Monkey D. Luffy units about reaching his dream of turning into King of the Pirates by anointing himself as the primary individual to trace down the elusive titular treasure, no questions requested.

one piece netflix
Picture by way of Netflix

In fact, he wants a ship and a crew, which leads him into the trail of Mackenyu’s swordsman Roronoa Zoro, Emily Rudd’s navigator Nami, Jacob Romero’s teller of tall tales Usopp, and Taz Skylar’s high-kicking chef Sanji, all whereas Luffy tries to embody what he’s at all times dreamed himself of being within the face of varied threats that embrace scenery-chewing clowns, hulking fish-men, and Vincent Regan’s Vice Admiral Garp, who takes a very eager curiosity within the self-proclaimed chief of the Straw Hats.

In a nutshell, the casting is about as near pitch good because it will get. Positive, some might discover Godoy somewhat grating and Mackenyu’s stoicism typically comes throughout as monotonous and one-note, however their disparate personalities bounce of one another excellently, with the central quintet producing chemistry and sparks aplenty as Luffy’s relentless optimism ultimately forges them into the tight-knit crew a number of of them had little interest in turning into a part of.

Two parts above all assist cement One Piece as Netflix’s newest must-see collection no matter whether or not or not you’ve ever heard of it earlier than, although, they usually fittingly complement one another masterfully. The motion sequences are frequent, expertly-choreographed, and impeccably-staged, plunging you into the thick of the varied scraps by fluid digicam motion and a seamless mix of sensible fight and effects-enhanced trickery, whereas the soundtrack from starting to finish serves virtually as a personality in its personal proper, creating an intoxicating audiovisual expertise that makes it stand out from a crowded pack of CGI-assisted and vastly costly fantasies that swamp the market.

One Piece. (L to R) Jandre Le Roux as Kuroobi, McKinley Belcher III as Arlong in season 1 of One Piece.
Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

Being accessible whereas nonetheless reverential is an issue to have plagued many live-action variations of iconic IP over time, and there are some moments the place One Piece falls to far into the latter camp. That’s to not say it doesn’t soar at its highest, however there are moments when these with out an affinity or consciousness of its machinations might discover themselves starting to tune out, though that underlying infectious enthusiasm is rarely too far-off from injecting recent tempo and urgency into the proceedings at any time when issues threaten to sluggish to a crawl.

The easiest way to get essentially the most out of One Piece is to easily strap in, go alongside for the experience, and permit your self to be swept up in its world. These searching for sophistication and substance might have to look elsewhere, but when one of many main standards behind your viewing habits is the promise of a lightweight, breezy, propulsive, and undeniably excitable bingeable journey above all else, then Netflix’s newest possesses it in spades.

Glad to leap between the playful and the intense as its numerous intertwined storylines start to converge, it does take a few episodes for One Piece to settle into its groove and start firing on all cylinders. When it does, there’s a near-limitless quantity of enjoyable available. Unimaginable to take severely however in a great way given its rampant eccentricities on each stage of story, design, and execution, the overarching message is without doubt one of the simplest; Luffy is following his dream, and there’s nothing or no one on the market who can cease him from making it occur.

One Piece Live Action Garp
Photograph by way of Netflix

An offbeat, irreverent, unstoppably quirky hybrid of high-seas swashbuckler and primarily superhero origin story with lashings of motion, comedy, and drama thrown in that coats the whole factor in layer upon layer of tragic backstories, interconnected destinies, and familial trauma all wrapped up in a fast-paced fantasy that takes place in a lawless world the place something can occur at any time feels like an terrible lot to absorb. Nonetheless, if you may get on the identical wavelength as One Piece, then it’s nothing in need of a delight.


Accessible to outdated and new followers alike, ‘One Piece’ might show to be an excessive amount of for some, however the good cash is on Netflix having landed its subsequent main episodic franchise.