One Piece Live Action netflix anime
Image via Netflix

The One Piece Live-Action Adaptation’s Better than Most from Netflix

The first season of the Netflix One Piece live-action adaptation is here and has been out long enough for many of you to have watched it once or maybe even multiple times. I remember when I first heard that Netflix was doing an adaptation I was… anxious. You don’t have to think back too far to remember some very bad live-action versions of great anime series. (Netflix’s Death Note is one of the more recent ones, and also one of the worst ones. We’ve been hurt time and time again by very poor adaptations of shows. For some, it’s come to the point where we wonder if western adaptations of anime can really understand the source material well enough to get it right. While Netflix’s One Piece isn’t flawless, it is noticeably better than any live-action remakes I can think of in recent memory. 

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The eight-episode first season of the One Piece live-action version launched on August 31, 2023 on Netflix platform to much anticipation. I have to admit, in true One Piece fashion, I was a little intimidated when I saw that each episode was an hour long. I wasn’t sure if 8 hours of an anime live-action remake would be worth the time spent watching it. What can I say? Death Note and the Dragon Ball movie really hurt me. But, I’m happy to say that Netflix actually managed to pull this off but, like I mentioned before, it isn’t perfect. 

One Piece Live Action

Image via Netflix

Let’s get some of what I didn’t like out of the way first. I’m not a huge fan of Iñaki Godoy as Luffy. While I don’t think he plays the part poorly, I just feel like sometimes he tries too hard to be the character. I think that if he put a little less into it and went into it a more naturally, he’d come off as more genuine. I also have the same complaint about some of the side characters. They seem a little too skin-deep, even for supporting cast members.  I’d like to see them open up and be more “human.” 

I also think some of the lines are a bit weak, especially compared to the source material. The script for some of the characters’ feels a little too stilted to be coming from an actual human being I’m watching on screen. I felt myself tense up at a particularly weak lines in multiple episodes. In part because they would be delivered in a very corny ways.

But there are times when this Netflix live-action anime adaptation of One Piece can be quite good. The actors for the other characters come across very well. Mackenyu’s take on Roronoa Zoro may be my favorite. He plays the three-sword wielding warrior perfectly, I think. He’s quiet and strong, but also brings a dry humor to the role that fits the character very well. This is unsurprising, as he played the villain Yukishiro Enishi in two Rurouni Kenshin movies just as well.. 

One Piece live-action netflix anime

Image via Netflix

The choreography is also a strong point. Almost all of the fight scenes feel very believable and look great. The first episode’s bar fight may be my favorite in from this season. It feels fluid, while also looking incredibly cool, and gives us a great view into the man on his way to becoming “the greatest swordsman in the world.”

Cinematography is also something that Netflix handled quite well for this anime live-action adaptation. All the scenes feel like they enhance the moods for the moment. The ship and ocean scenes in particular feel very open and slightly reminiscent of (although less dramatic than) Pirates of the Caribbean. The costumes also seemed like the perfect blend of being anime/manga-inspired, while also being authentic. Sure, they’re excessively colorful and gaudy, but that’s just what I’d expect so I didn’t mind that.

All-in-all, I think the Netflix adaptation of One Piece is one of the better live-action anime adaptations we’ve gotten. While it isn’t perfect, it feels very close to the anime/manga and succeeds where it’s most important to. Although each episode is quite long, it doesn’t feel like a chore to watch them. I really hope that they continue to improve going into the second season. 

The One Piece live-action’s first season is available on Netflix. A second season is confirmed.

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Caleb Dunaway
Caleb is a newcomer to games writing who is fluent in Japanese and loves anime.