July 2023 marks the 25th anniversary of the beginning of One Piece, one of the best manga in history drawn by Eiichiro Oda. A very special year in which we have been able to test the latest video game of the saga: One Piece Odyssey, and which will also see the birth of the first live-action series of the franchise, by the hand of Netflix.
With a “We set sail in 2023,” the streaming platform confirmed this week in a new poster that later this year we will finally see the One Piece live-action series, putting an end to the (relatively) long wait for fans. In addition to the announcement, the first image of the series has also been made public, featuring the main characters of One Piece, who appear with their backs facing the sunrise.
But this is not the only thing that is known about the series….
Everything we know about the One Piece series on Netflix
My treasure? If you want it, it’s yours. Look for it! I hid it all in that place!
The last words of the king of pirates, Gol D. Roger, inspired a whole generation of pirates to search for the great treasure known as the One Piece. That same phrase, which we were able to read for the first time almost 25 years ago (in Japanese, of course), was also the one that would end up starting what is today the longest and best-selling manga in history.
The idea of a series with flesh-and-blood actors was one of the biggest fantasies of young people raised between the 1990s and 2000s. Both the manga and the anime were increasingly successful among a generation that took the values of the series as their own. Be free, love your friends, help your neighbor, make the most of your life… A series of ideas that resonated well in minds that tried to imagine what or who could characterize their fictional idols in real life.
A fantasy that would end up coming true just 3 years ago, in January 2020, when Eiichiro Oda posted on his Twitter account that Netflix would be in charge of making the One Piece live-action series that so many dreamed of. With several delays in production (mainly due to the global pandemic), filming finally ended on August 22, 2022.
The series has a very diverse casting full of faces not very well known to the mass public, but with plenty of experience in American series and movies. These are all the confirmed actors:
- Iñaki Godoy – Monkey D. Luffy
- Mackenyu – Roronoa Zoro
- Jacob Gibson – Usopp
- Emily Rudd – Nami
- Taz Skylar – Sanji
- Morgan Davies – Koby
- Ilia Isorelýs Paulino – Alvida
- Aidan Scott – Helmeppo
- Jeff Ward – Buggy
- McKinley Belcher III – Arlong
- Vincent Regan – Garp
- Peter Gadiot – Shanks
- Sven Ruygrok – Cabaji
- Len-Barry Simons – Chu
- Richard Wright-Firth – Contramaestre Ukkari
- Jean Henry – Fullbody
- Colton Osorio – Joven Luffy
- Langley Kirkwood – Capitán Morgan
- Celeste Loots – Kaya
- Alexander Maniatis – Klahadore
- Craig Fairbrass – Chef Zeff
- Steven Ward – Mihawk
- Chioma Umeala – Nojiko
The production company behind this adaptation is Tomorrow Studios, who were also in charge of adapting the popular anime Cowboy Bebop for Netflix, as well as making Snowpiercer for TNT. The showrunner of the series is Steven Maeda, who has a long history of making series, including Lost, Lie to Me and X-Files. Marc Jobst, who directed several episodes of Daredevil, The Punisher and The Witcher, will direct the first episode.
Filmed in Cape Town (South Africa), the first season will cover from the beginning of the manga, where Luffy will meet his nakamas, to the confrontation against Arlong, a fish-man that will be both Luffy’s first big fight and his first step towards becoming the king of pirates.
What are we expecting from the One Piece series on Netflix – will it do well?
Bringing a manga as famous as One Piece “to the real world” is a great responsibility, both for the production company and for Netflix itself. When talking about One Piece, we are talking about a franchise with a legion of thousands and thousands of fans around the world who expect the essence of the original material to be faithfully adapted.
The fears are not exactly unfounded. We still remember Dragon Ball Evolution, the live-action movie based on the Dragon Ball universe that was a huge disappointment both for fans and for people who didn’t know much about the manga or anime, and that tarnishes the name of Goku to this day.
Whether it is due to a lack of knowledge of the original material, a lack of respect for it, a desire to “print money” easily thanks to renowned sagas, or all of the above at the same time, many live action adaptations have been made that have failed to please the audience.
Precisely, one of the latest cases of adaptations that we find is Cowboy Bebop, the anime that Tomorrow Studios itself adapted and that had a quite varied reception, with voices that spoke of a very funny adaptation to others who said that the creators did not know how to capture the essence of the anime.
Cowboy Bebop also poses another of the big problems in the world of streaming today and, more specifically, with Netflix. The adaptation, like many other series that have not had the expected reception, was canceled just 20 days after its premiere. In other words: either One Piece “does well” and ends up being liked by the majority, or it ends up joining the endless list of series cancelled by Netflix.
Be that as it may, so far it has been possible to see in social networks the great enthusiasm of its actors and the production team. Only time will tell whether or not this series ends up being the great success we want it to be.