Episodes Watched: Whole Season
It’s no secret that live-action anime adaptations usually fail to impress their fans, with some of these fan-failing projects being on Netflix such as the live-action Death Note as it was criticized for being too different than its manga/anime predecessor.
Netflix proves with the One Piece series that they’ve learned from their past live-action anime adaptation failures, and mistakes, and have actually been listening to fans all along. The live-action One Piece series stays true to the theme and vibe of the original anime, which was deemed impossible by the majority of its fanbase, with many fans online expressing worries that the live-action series would fail to deliver.
Iñaki Godoy really plays Monkey D. Luffy in a way that is almost identical to his anime counterpart, both in stretchiness and in terms of personality. It seemed a bit over the top when watching the trailer but Godoy’s performance really works throughout the series. The choice to be as enthusiastic, loud, and goofy was a brave one but it works so well when the live-action Luffy jumps from being silly to being serious. It catches you by surprise almost every time and pulls you in on an emotional level that makes for a fantastic immersive ride.
Mackenyu is genuinely convincing as Roronoa Zoro, despite there being a bendy sword blooper, Mackenyu’s cool demeanour and impressive sword-fighting scenes make for such a fun watch. Emily Rudd’s Nami is equally as convincing as she shows off her acting chops throughout the series, as well as having perfect chemistry with her Straw Hat Pirate cast members. As far as the rest of the cast goes, an award should be handed out to all who were involved in the casting process, simply for finding the perfect people for the job.
What the entire cast manages to pull off, especially the ones playing the Straw Hat Pirates is act in an extremely similar way to their animated counterparts without coming across as too silly. Every time the series begins to feel a bit overly childish, its serious tone kicks in and reminds you that it also has this more mature heart to it, both in its characters and its storyline.
One Piece’s live-action sets and props look so real, and that’s because the majority of them are as the team behind the series aimed to be as practical as possible, from the costumes to even the giant ships. This does not go a miss and it adds so much quality to each episode, its practical design is a perfect mix with the VFX, a combination that has worked well in Hollywood for decades.
Over relying on computer-generated VFX to create a fictional world can often fail to impress or captivate audiences, when mixed with a good blend of practical filmmaking, it can come across as believable to a point that sucks you into its world from beginning to end.
Although some moments of this series come across as silly, it stays true to its anime predecessor and impressively manages to pull off its wacky but emotional character-driven storylines. Netflix’s One Piece is full of awesome action, beautiful set and prop designs, emotionally captivating performances, and a storyline that both its original fans and newcomers will enjoy.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
The live-action One Piece series is now streaming on Netflix.