Netflix Bringing Manga Classic ‘One Piece’ Live-Action to Users, But Is This the Right Home For It?

Published on January 30, 2020

Netflix has started to work on its latest production, One Piece. Get ready to meet your favorite pirates on a live-action series based on one of the best-selling shonen manga titles of all eternity.

Currently, the series is set at 10-episodes, brought to you by Tomorrow Studios and One Piece publisher Shueisha. You might remember Tomorrow Studios from the live-action Netflix series Cowboy Bebop, another adaptation of a classic manga series.

The 1997 Success of “One Piece

In 1997, Oda’s One Piece made its debut on Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in Japan. Over 460 million copies have been published worldwide, according to Deadline.

The series also made headlines in 2015, when it acquired the Guinness World Record for the most copies published for the same comic book series by a single author. That being said, it makes sense for Oda to oversee the transition from cartoons to live actual people on Netflix.


One Piece follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy (yup, that’s his name). He and his pirate crew navigate the fantastical world of fictious seas and exotic islands in search of the treasure known as “One Piece” to become the next Pirate King. (But we all know Captain Jack Sparrow is the one true pirate king).

Of course, nothing is ever easy. Which is why there is no other choice for me than to let you watch the show on your own just as to not provide you with any spoilers.

Twitter Is Our Receipt

According to tweets from our Lord Netflix and a statement from original creator Eiichiro Oda (who also serves as executive producer on the series), D. Luffy will take viewers along with him on his mission to be King of Pirates very soon. Which is good to hear, since talk of this adaptation started up back in 2017.

Seriously, I have been waiting too long.

No casting has been revealed yet, which means that Netflix is still juggling around between their versions of Dragon Ball Z and Avatar: The Last Airbender; there is plenty for viewers to fan out on.

And thanks to the original anime starting back in 1997, it is safe to say the live-action version has lots of material to draw inspiration from.

Loyal Details

My elephant in the room regarding this piece has to do with being uncertain about having the anime turn into a live action show. Simply because I don’t know how they plan on displaying some of the characters’ powers such a Luffy’s rubber-like skills.

Nevertheless, I look forward to an elastic punch from the main star.

For the beginning, the last word on the plot was that it would start with the East Blue arc; hopefully no one on the production team decided to change their minds. In conclusion, if the show succeeds, it could stick around for years. The sea is reckless, and, sorry for the spoiler alert, so is D. Luffy.

Who’s Behind the Curtain?

It’s full of talent, I can tell you that. Despite not having a release date yet (I am sensing a theme here), it has been revealed that the production crew includes none other than Steven Maeda (Lost, The X-Files) as the writer, show-runner, and executive producer, while Matt Owens (Luke Cage, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) also serves as a writer and executive producer.

But Is Netflix the Right Platform?

Yes, Netflix is going to be handling the physical production. The only issue with the famous streaming service is the reputation live-action adaptations have with viewers. As popular as One Piece and Netflix are, on their own separate ways, the platform hasn’t entirely earned the trust of fans, as seen from the skepticism fans had showed in response.

The truth is, there’s a meme for everything. And the one I am talking about in particular refers to a set of images making fun of Netflix adaptations of anime and manga series. The punch line is a comparison between the artwork (manga and anime) to photographs of amateur cosplayers. As a result, the joke revolves on how adaptations usually change characters’ looks for the worse with poor design (and poor choices).

Nevertheless, according to Vox, Netflix’s desire in anime isn’t fading any time soon. Despite of the outcome of the live-action adaptation of Death Note, Netflix seems to be hitting it off by bringing fans veteran anime such as Full Metal Alchemist and its spinoff, Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

The platform successfully advanced last year with a re-release of anime, Neon Genesis Evangelion, alongside new installments in that franchise. This is the proof that the anime subculture is finally making its way to mainstream roads, and we couldn’t be happier.

Argenis Ovalles is an Editorial Intern at Grit Daily. He currently writes at Vocal Media and Theater Pizzazz.

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