We are going to review Netflix’s ‘One Piece’ live action series but by any means, we are not here to discuss whether it is a faithful adaptation of the anime. Because let’s be honest, 1000 episodes of anime is too much. You’ll need at least 14 days watching the anime without bathroom breaks and meals. That is impossible because just like Luffy, we won’t give up on food.
In the live action series, there are some characters, particularly Luffy, who always show exaggerated expressions. Those ‘yahoos’ and ‘hoorays’ with both arms in the air and fighting while naming their finishing moves… it might work in an anime, but in a live action, it seems a little too goofy. Regardless, after a few episodes, you’ll get used to it. And you’ll just know that it’s a cute attempt for them to remain faithful to the source material.
Regardless, the show definitely knows when to stop with its exaggerated expressions. When it comes to melancholic scenes, we are able to notice the tonal shift. They know when to get serious. So much so that most One Piece fans agree that the live action is darker than the anime.
The special effects in this show are stunning. The sea. The ships. The islands. A cannon shot being split by a sword mid-air. All of them are carefully crafted, which is a must, considering that the show’s budget is more than USD 17 million per episode.
However, if you’re a fan of fight scenes, you might not be satisfied. The fight scenes feel more grounded and seem obviously choreographed. But it isn’t that bad.
The best part of the show is undoubtedly the Straw Hat Crew. Sure, we can see how the crew first met, lied, and betrayed each other, but soon they learned to value friendships. However, what truly establishes the characters are their dreams.
When we’re children, we’re always asked, ‘what’s your dream?’. But we don’t get that question anymore these days as if we stopped dreaming when we approach adulthood. In One Piece, we’re asked a better question, ‘why do we dream?’. What happened in our lives that is so painful and sorrowful that we desperately want to achieve happiness?
One Piece answers that question through relevant plots and flashbacks. Luffy wants to be the king of the pirates because he idolizes his mentor, Shanks, Zoro wants to be the greatest swordsman because he made a promise with his childhood friend, Nami wants to draw the map of the world because she missed the chance in her childhood, Usopp wants to be a great sea warrior because he’s done lying about being one, and Sanji wants to find All Blue because he shares the same dream as his adoptive father.
Netflix is known to absolutely butcher live action adaptations from anime. Full Metal Alchemist, Death Note, Cowboy Bebop… just to name a few. But this time, they got it right. This series has heart and passion. And for that, we rate it 8/10.
But is it a faithful adaptation? We’ll let you decide.