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The Vanguard

Lebanon Trail High School News

The Vanguard

One Piece Live-Action Adaptation Review

Netflix Promo Poster

On Aug 31, Netflix released the first season of their live-action American adaptation of the pirate-filled Japanese manga series (also, anime), One Piece. For the first season, Eight episodes were released, each around 49 to 64 minutes long, with the story consisting of the first arc of the series, the East Blue saga. 

One Piece has been around for several years, the manga was released in 1997, and the anime followed soon after in 1999. 

When the announcement of the live-action adaptation came out around January 2020, many were skeptical. Live-action adaptations of animes and mangas have been notoriously known for having its ups and downs, so caution arose with talk of a live-action One Piece, a show so unique that it could be easily difficult to transform.  

When I got word of the release, I was a part of the crowd of skeptics. While my experience with the show hadn’t been much, only watching two of the twenty seasons of the anime (by the time of the release), I still had my doubts. In my life, I have watched several live-action adaptations, many of which were not a good depiction of the manga or show, causing major disappointment, especially in the instances where I enjoyed the original product. Yet, since I wasn’t really invested in One Piece at the time, I didn’t have any idea of what to expect in the live-action. 

After watching the first season, a lot of my opinions changed on One Piece as a whole. At first, I was super uninterested in that genre of anime, being as it is action and adventure, and because of that I never really took the time to watch the show. Yet, while watching the live-action adaptation, my opinions had done a complete 180. When watching, I was constantly on the edge of my seat, reacting out loud to many of the scenes. The show just flowed so well and kept me engaged the whole time, watching the whole season in one sitting. 

One of the many aspects of the live action that really grabbed my attention was the plot. The first season follows the main protagonist, Monkey D. Luffy, as he adventures through the East Blue in search of a map of the Grand Line, where he believes the ‘One Piece’, a legendary pirate’s treasure, may be hidden. Along the way, Luffy recruits members to be apart of his pirate crew as they make their way towards the grand line, running into challenges and enemies throughout their journey. Most of the plot did leave room for further exploration, meaning there most likely will be a season two to look forward to. 

When looking more closely into the development of the series, it honestly shocked me how much detail and collaboration was put into the show. While the show was being written, Matt Owens and Steven Maeda (writers/exclusive producers/showrunners) collaborated with the creator of the original manga series, Eiichiro Oda. Oda was given the power to be involved in all aspects and stages of the production of the show, having the ability to do quality control wherever he saw fit. He made it a point to not change the story too drastically, instead focusing on the actors recreating the character’s image in a way that will appease the manga readers. 

Another important detail regarding the production of the story, is the casting. The cast is so unbelievably accurate to the manga, with many of the character’s different nationalities being more accurate to what would be imagined if the pirates were from the real world. Majority of the actors have the same likeness as their characters, from how they look to their energy, they just match so well. The actor who portrayed Luffy in the live-action adaptation, Iñaki Godoy, is so astonishingly accurate to the character from the manga. His energy is above and beyond, even impressing Oda with how far he exceeded past his expectations. 

When going into creating the show, the directors wanted to be as old-school as possible when it came to visual effects. They decided to focus more on practical effects and real-life construction for the set to really create an immersive experience into the world One Piece takes place in. From the fighting choreography to the makeup, they made sure to put everything they had and more into making the show look as accurate as possible. When they did need CGI, they used it as sparingly as possible, particularly using it for Luffy’s rubber powers. Though while doing so, they are able to keep a balance between realism and the wondrous elements to the story.

Ultimately, the first season of One Piece was not only able to outdo what was expected of the series but also set a good base for the story to continue further into the future. And as of Sept. 14, Netflix has confirmed that One Piece will be renewed for a second season, meaning that more adventures are to come in the world of the straw hats.

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About the Contributor
Ava Bronstad
Ava Bronstad, Lead Staff
Senior Ava Bronstad is a returning third-year member of the Vanguard Staff. As a retired theatre kid she has a fond appreciation for the arts, is fascinated by zombie shows, and mentions that her greatest talent is drawing Garfield by memory. Bronstad currently works at a favored paint-your-own pottery studio and plans to attend college to minor in criminal justice and major in forensic science. She is motivated to spend her last year of news writing perfecting her proficient review pieces, having good conversations, and taking funky photos on her flip phone. Contact: [email protected]  

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