Netflix has a mixed history when it comes to adapting beloved Japanese anime series into live-action formats. I loved 2021 Cowboy Bebop more than most die-hard fans—just for the perfect casting, despite the fact that the fight choreography left a lot to be desired. It was certainly better than the live-action versions of it Fullmetal Alchemist (another of my personal anime favorites), but Netflix decided not to renew Cowboy Bebop. So we’ll never know if it would have solved its own problems, although the appearance included in the finale of a particularly heavy version of Radical Ed was not good.
Given that storied history, one could be forgiven for feeling apprehensive about the streaming platform’s upcoming live-action series adaptation. A piece, an extremely popular manga and anime series created by Eiichiro Oda. Who doesn’t love pirates? The first trailer debuted at San Diego Comic-Con, and honestly, the live-action series looks amazing. Then again, so did the trailers for Cowboy Bebop.
the original A piece The manga debuted in 1997, following the adventures of a monkey D. Luffy, who leads a motley crew called the Straw Hat Pirates. There is the swordsman Roronoa Zoro, the thief and navigator Nami, the sniper and compulsive liar Usopp, and a cook named Sanji. They are searching for the legendary One Piece, a mythical treasure that would make whoever owns it the Pirate King. Monkey wants to be the Pirate King, but so do a bunch of other pirates with their ships and crews.
Oda was inspired by his childhood love of pirates, particularly biographies of Edward “Blackbeard” Teach. (A piece features a character named Marshall D. Teach in honor of Blackbeard.) The manga was only meant to run for five years and is still running, though Oda has said the series is entering its final saga. The anime television series premiered in 1999 and became a global hit; was the most-watched TV show of 2022, in fact, beating it Foreign things.
Judging by this trailer, Netflix is sticking pretty close to the original concept, with the first season following Monkey as he recruits the initial members of the Straw Hat Pirates. According to official premises:
Monkey D. Luffy is a young adventurer who has longed for a free life for as long as he can remember. Luffy sets off from his small village on a perilous journey to find the legendary treasure, One Piece, to become the Pirate King! But to find the ultimate prize, Luffy will have to assemble the crew he’s always wanted before finding a ship to sail, search every inch of the endless blue seas, outrun marines, and outwit dangerous rivals at every turn.
Inaki Godoy stars as Monkey, who has rubber-like abilities thanks to accidentally swallowing a devil fruit. Mackenyu plays Zoro, Emily Rudd plays Nami, Taz Skylar plays Sanji, and Jacob Romero Gibson plays Usopp, the son of a notorious pirate father named Yasopp. Peter Gadiot plays Shanks, the red-haired Pirate captain; Ilia Isorelys Paulino plays the ruthless leader of the Alvida Pirates; and Jeff Ward plays Buggy, the clown-clad captain of the Buggy Pirates who also accidentally ate a Devil Fruit. In his case, it gave him the ability to tear his body apart. (It’s a highlight of the trailer.) Additionally, Langley Kirkwood plays Captain Morgan and Aidan Scott plays his son Helmeppo.
A piece out on Netflix on August 31, 2023.
Listing image from Netflix