One Piece Review

One Piece
With his rubbery powers and love of adventure, Monkey D. Luffy (Iñaki Godoy) is on a grand quest to find the fabled treasure known as the ‘One Piece’ in order to become “King of the Pirates”. But to beat his rivals and fend off the Navy, Luffy will first need to assemble his own crew.

by David Opie |

Streaming on: Netflix

Episodes viewed: 8 of 8

All eyes are on Luffy. The pirate character, first made popular in manga comics and then anime, is now setting sail with his crew for the very first time in live action. But with all this attention comes a lot of pressure. Eiichiro Oda's One Piece comic is the bestselling manga of all time, and 24 years in, the anime is hugely popular too.

One Piece

Luffy's quest to find 'One Piece' was never easy, but the real challenge for this adaptation is creating a show that remains faithful to the original while also justifying its own existence. Given Netflix's track record with previous anime adaptations like Cowboy Bebop, showrunners Steven Maeda and Matt Owens had the odds stacked against them.

Time is given to expand Oda's vast world while still paying attention to character details.

It's surprising, then, just how well their version of One Piece does work. Even with so many arcs covered in just one season, the story never feels rushed or stretched out, Luffy-style. Time is given to expand Oda's vast world while still paying attention to the character details that bring this crew together as a family.

Japanese actor Mackenyu nails Roronoa Zoro's stoicism just as well as his intricate swordplay, while Emily Rudd embodies the heart of the show with an emotive take on Nami. Still, no one shines as bright as Iñaki Godoy, whose enthusiasm for the lead role is matched only by Luffy's own zeal for piracy.

Together, the cast create an outlandish, zany vibe that perfectly fits the Saturday-morning-cartoon feel of the original, complete with dynamic camerawork and VFX-filled fights lifted straight from the manga. Credit to Netflix for promising not to launch the show until Oda himself was satisfied.

With so much source material left to adapt and a first season designed with that in mind, One Piece really could go the distance. The challenge now is finding a way to avoid the choppy waters of Netflix's show-killing algorithm. But if anyone can bend around these obstacles, it's Luffy.

Luffy's still searching for his treasure, but Netflix's quest to successfully adapt a popular anime into live-action is finally over. It's the fun, quirky adaptation that One Piece fans and newbies alike deserve.
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