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Netflix undisputedly breaks long-dreaded ‘live action curse’ with new ‘One Piece’ adaptation

Netflix undisputedly breaks long-dreaded ‘live action curse’ with new ‘One Piece’ adaptation

Netflix undisputedly breaks long-dreaded ‘live action curse’ with new ‘One Piece’ adaptation
September 18
08:54 2023

When people think of live action anime, the first word that pops into many minds is “failure.”

Over the past few years, anime adapted into live actions have earned themselves a poor reputation. From “Dragon Ball: Evolution” to “Death Note,” each live action destroyed its chance of having good reviews. Bad acting, a lack of diversity and rushed plots are some factors that formed the nickname “the live action curse.”

But Netflix broke that curse.

In January 2020, the streaming service announced that the live action version of Eiichiro Oda’s best-selling anime and manga “One Piece” was in the works. Many anime fans disliked the idea, believing it would fail like the other live actions. When the first trailer and the actors’ names were released this June, viewers were caught by surprise.

Viewers feared that, just like past live action adaptations, the show would be lacking in cast diversity. Considering each character hails from different parts of the world, it was critical that Netflix’s casting director follow Oda’s character design precisely. Impressively, the Netflix adaptation didn’t disappoint. Each character appeared to be of the same nationality as the characters in the “One Piece” anime. 

Oda revealed in the manga the main characters’ nationalities in “One Piece” if they were in the real world. For example, one of the characters, Zoro, would be a person of Japanese origin if he was in the real world. In the live-action, the character Zoro was portrayed by Japanese actor Mackenyu. The diverse cast gave fans something to look forward to in the live action. Yet, fans became more excited when they learned Oda himself assisted with selecting the cast and directing the series.

Jobst and Oda collaborated to bring the live action to life. In an interview with Screenrant, Jobst said Oda “was always very open to understanding that you have to make some changes to make that transition, so long as you were staying true and honoring the spirit of what his wonderful creation is.”

Having the creator of the anime involved with the live-action changed the point of view. As Jobst said in his interview, staying true to the original story is an appreciation of the creator. If Oda had not been involved with directing the live action, there would not be any guidance on how to make the series exceptional and stay to its roots.

Finally, the live-action “One Piece” premiered on Netflix on Aug. 31. It was the number one watched show on Netflix in 85 countries and, a week later, surpassed its record and became number one in 86 countries.

The first season is eight episodes, each lasting about an hour long. The five arcs, which include Romance Dawn, Orange Town, Syrup Village, Baratie and Arlong Park, were all combined into the season. Although it may seem short and rushed, the live action effectively portrayed scenes from the “One Piece” anime’s 44 episodes. There was not any room for confusion.

The actors also brought the characters to life. Iñaki Godoy, the actor who played Luffy, captain of the Straw Hat Pirates, carried the same lovable and goofy personality as his anime counterpart.

Because the live-action “One Piece” had to fit 44 anime episodes into the eight estimated hour-long episodes, there must be some plot changes. In one instance, a fight was completely altered. Revelations that originally occurred much later in the anime are brought up within the first few episodes.

Although these changes were apparent to “One Piece” fans, the live-action series flowed smoothly. It was easy enough for viewers and those who had never heard of “One Piece” to understand the plot. No scene was too stretched out and complicated.

The live-action “One Piece” exceeds the expectations of many. It is also a starter for people who want to watch the “One Piece” anime or read the manga. Viewers do not have to know the original story to understand the live-action. The live-action came with all the lovable comedy of its anime of origin, and the actors played their roles as if the characters were real-life people.

That being said, it is safe to say the live-action “One Piece” has broken the “live-action curse.”

Janese’s rating: 5/5

Featured Illustration by Grey Nguyen

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Janese Mashell

Janese Mashell

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