REVIEW: 3 Reasons To Watch The ‘One Piece’ Live-Action (OPLA) Adaptation On Netflix | CoolJapan

Since the One Piece live-action (OPLA) adaptation was announced by Netflix in 2017, fans of the original work have anticipated the series’ release. Following the record-breaking manga created by Eiichiro Oda, One Piece revolves around the story of Monkey D. Luffy, a happy-go-lucky, determined, and energetic boy who dreams of becoming the King of the Pirates. With his straightforward attitude and strong will, Luffy attracts a band of misfits to join his quest. Together, they are called the Straw Hat Crew.

One Piece Live Action Adaptation Review

Have you caught up with the One Piece live-action adaptation yet? (Photo from: Netflix)

While many Western adaptations of Japanese manga and anime have failed the expectations of global audiences (Netflix’s Death Note 2017 adaptation and the recent Cowboy Bepop, are some of its in), One Piece live-action surprisingly broke the barrier with its glowing reviews from critics and fans of the original work. Following its success, Netflix has already confirmed a second season. Curious if you should join the hype? Here are three reasons to watch the One Piece live-action adaptation on Netflix.

1. Eiichiro Oda gave the series his approval

According to the series’ director and producers, One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda was involved in every creative decision in the eight-part adaptation. Several scenes were even reshot after Oda’s feedback to ensure that his vision as the mind behind the source material translates onscreen. Oda was also more involved in this series production than in the anime adaptation of One Piece, explaining why several scenes in the live-action adaptation referenced the manga more than its anime counterpart.

2. The cast committed to bringing One Piece’s iconic characters to life

The audition process for this adaptation was reportedly tedious, with actors screened and scouted worldwide. Eventually, Mexican actor Iñaki Godoy was cast as Monkey D. Luffy, joined by Japanese actor Mackenyu Arata as Roronoa Zoro, Emily Rudd as Nami, Jacob Romero as Ussop, and Taz Skylar as Sanji.

The fresh-faced cast led the series’ as the Straw Hat Crew, with their characters’ backstories and individual ambitions making up most of this season’s narrative. While there is difficulty in portraying animated characters to make them feel more human, these actors — along with the supporting cast — were able to effectively mix theatricality and realism to make each of their roles work.

One Piece Live Action Cast

Meet the Straw Hat Crew. (Photo from: Netflix)

Emily Rudd as Nami was a definite standout with her nuanced performance. Jeff Ward — who portrayed one of the series’ recurring villains, Buggy The Clown — was also a delight to see onscreen.

Mackenyu Arata as Roronoa Zoro also became an immediate fan favourite, not just because of his looks but also because of his stoic, dry humour throughout the series. New Mackenyu fans would be delighted to know that he is already a seasoned actor in Japan, with one of his most notable roles being Enishi Yukishiro in the Rurouni Kenshin film franchise (another must-watch live-action adaptation).

3. The series has an inspiring message about “reaching one’s dreams”

As cliche as it is, stories about aspirations, hopes, and dreams always make for a great adventure story. One Piece never fails to remind audiences that this is what the series is about, with its main crew vocalising their larger-than-life goals at almost every opportunity.

One Piece Live Action Where To Watch

Aboard the Going Merry, the Straw Hat Crew’s trusty ship. (Photo from: Netflix)

Luffy, for the most part, provides the audience with a protagonist who is positively unapologetic about his dream. This means going against traditions and expectations, even going as far as claiming his title of King of the Pirates, much to everyone’s humour. It’s a great reminder to the audience that no matter what stage we are in life, it’s never too late to become ‘something’ or ‘someone’ as long as we put our mind, body, and soul into it.

Stream One Piece live-action here.

This article was first published on 8 September 2023. Last updated: 15 September 2023.