Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UWindsor chapter.

At the end of August, something quite big came out on Netflix: a live action adaptation of the popular anime/manga series, One Piece! This was a huge deal, especially within the anime community. While some were excited, many were skeptical about how this would turn out. Others were flat out refusing to believe that it could work. I was a mix of skeptical and excited. The reasons for both are simple: live action adaptations of anime are not usually very good, but at the same time, I love One Piece and always want more of it. 

When the adaptation was first announced a few years ago, there was not much support towards the cast and crew. Then the trailers were released, and people were starting to think that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. Finally, the series came out on Netflix, and the majority voted that it was a success! It even surpassed Stranger Things as the most watched show! 

I personally was very happy with the eight-episode first season of the show. The key to watching this, especially if you’re a fan of the anime and manga, is to watch it under the impression that it will not live up to the anime and manga. You can’t go into it expecting it to be exactly like the original series, otherwise we wouldn’t call it an “adaptation”! I mean, come on. You can’t seriously think the cast and crew are going to film over a thousand episodes worth of One Piece, because that’s how long the anime and manga are! You have to look at this fairly and form your own honest opinion! 

I loved the adaptation and was very impressed with it. The main cast was pretty much spot on! Iñaki Godoy, who played the main character Monkey D. Luffy, is so naturally cheerful and goofy, much like Luffy himself. Mackenyu Arata was an amazing Roronoa Zoro and mastered the three-sword style. Emily Rudd was an awesome Nami and portrayed her thieving character so beautifully. Jacob Romero Gibson, with his exaggerated stories and lies, was a real-life Usopp, and totally killed it. Taz Skylar made us want to try those delicious dishes as the Straw Hat’s cook, Sanji, and flirted his way into our hearts. 

You can tell, just by watching the series, that the cast put their hearts and souls into their characters! For example, Mackenyu Arata, who was already a skilled martial artist, worked even harder so he could perfect Roronoa Zoro’s way of fighting, which is to use three swords – one sword in each hand, and one in his mouth. Yup, Mackenyu did it! Can you imagine the jaw pain that must have come with it? Taz Skylar, who played Sanji (my favourite character), not only took cooking classes to learn how to cook delicious and beautiful dishes, but also trained eight hours a day for eight months in order to perfect Sanji’s kicks. Eight hours a day for eight months just for the role of Sanji! Wow! 

One specific scene that I was the most looking forward to in the live action was in the seventh episode – Nami finally asks Luffy for help to save her village, which he responds by giving her his treasured straw hat and saying, “Of course I will.” This scene was huge in the anime and manga, and Iñaki and Emily nailed it! The tears, the emotion, and tension – it was nearly perfect! Especially Emily, who has noted before that she was a massive One Piece fan for a long time, and Nami had always been her favourite character.

Now, while I love the adaptation, I do have some criticisms. For example, I really wanted to dive into Usopp’s story a little more, but there were only a few minutes of his past shown. We got more of Zoro’s story than Usopp’s during his introduction to the Straw Hat pirates, which didn’t make that much sense to me. I think it would’ve made more sense to portray Zoro’s backstory more during his fight with Dracule Mihawk, the world’s greatest swordsman. It would have made more sense that way because, not only did Zoro lose the fight, but it would also show why it meant so much to him to become the greatest swordsman and that he still had a long way to go before he could defeat Mihawk. That way, we could have had more of Usopp’s backstory! 

I also had a bit of an issue with Nami’s story. So, for some background from the anime/manga, Nami’s village was taken over by a notorious pirate crew called the Arlong Pirates, led by Arlong himself. Arlong took control of the village and even killed Nami and her sister, Nojiko’s, adopted mother, Bellemere. Nami joined the Arlong Pirates as a child because she made a deal with him – she would create maps for him, and in return, if she made enough money, she would buy back her village. In the anime/manga, the whole village already knew why she had joined the crew that killed her mother, unbeknownst to Nami, and quietly supported her in the background. But in the live action adaptation, the village and even her sister did not know about her plan to buy back the village and were all against her. It was incredibly meaningful that they all knew originally and did their best to keep her smiling. It was just a bit of a let-down that they didn’t know about it until later.  

Despite the few issues that I had, I very much enjoyed the adaptation and would recommend it! I think this is a great way to share this amazing story to non-anime fans! I am very happy with the way it turned out and would give it a solid 8/10. Looking forward to season two!

Nawal Jasey is the Writing Director at the Her Campus UWindsor Chapter. She is responsible for scheduling writers for article postings as well as writing articles herself. Prior to this, she was part of the writing team as a simple writer. Her content normally depicts entertainment, life experiences, and personal cultural and/or religious topics. Nawal attends the University of Windsor as a senior undergraduate under the English program, where she mainly studies different branches of English literature including Victorian, Renaissance, Restoration, and more. Furthermore, she studies creative writing to pursue her dream of becoming an author. She attends several reading events hosted by different authors to help inspire her creative writing. She has independently published a fiction fantasy novel and continues to write more stories for the future. In her free time, Nawal loves to read and write fiction and epic fantasy novels. She would rather shop for books than for clothes any day. She is an anime and manga lover and considers herself a massive and proud nerd. She enjoys baking and playing the piano (not at all professionally) while cuddling her adorable kitty named Sabo.