As a die-hard fan of "One Piece", I can't wait to look forward to Mr. Eiichiro Oda's accelerated update of animation production (the battle between Luffy and Beast Kaido is about to end). Even though the manga has come a long way, the anime is, for me, more visually stunning.
It is worth mentioning that Mr. Oda personally participated in the creation of Netflix's new "One Piece" live-action series, which is hosted and produced by die-hard fans of "One Piece": Steven Maeda and Matt Owens. In addition to moderate adjustments to character descriptions and storylines, the plot and timeline of the live-action version are very accurate.
The first season of the Netflix version focuses on the best parts of Oda's masterpiece. It condenses Luffy's origin story, the formation of the Straw Hats, and their first voyage on the Great Channel as much as possible into the first season to better fit the live-action format. Old fans will notice that this is basically the content of the "Donghai Chapter". In the animation, there are 44 episodes in the East China Sea chapter, while there are 95 episodes in the manga.
The first season managed to establish the character of the world, including the shifting power dynamics between various pirate and government forces, and the brutal nature of a planet dominated by several oceans. The digital special effects, such as showing off Luffy's rubber body, giant sea creatures and other bizarre things, are pleasing to the eye. But they still fall short of the live-action special effects: Those fancy pirate ships alone make the show worth watching. Overall, creator Matt Owens and the production team ensured that the live-action version conveyed the sense of adventure that has long been hallmark of One Piece.
The performances of the actors are also quite good. Not only do they maintain the exaggerated, funny (and sometimes clichéd) air of the characters, but they also make them seem believable. Iñaki Godoy brings out Luffy's passion to the fullest. Although relatively low-key compared to the animated version, his enthusiasm, exaggerated mannerisms, and accurate grasp of classic lines all help him successfully portray this sometimes ignorant but always heroic character.
Jacob Romero Gibson successfully portrayed Luffy's friend Usopp. While Usopp is limited by the plot, his unrestrained storytelling and selfless deeds, delivered by Jacob Romero, still captivate old fans and new audiences alike.
Makensuke Nitta's Zoro looks alike, especially in the fight scene with Godoy, but his performance is a bit stiff. At times he comes across as too robotic, seemingly too focused on Zoro's phlegmatic image, while ignoring other aspects of the character.
On the other hand, Sanji, played by Taz Skylar, is always charming. He can quickly go from reluctant fighter to compassionate but rude ally (especially with Zoro), taking on the traits of the much-loved Straw Hat Chef.
Emily Rudd's Nami is brilliant. She reveals a strong character with a hint of mischievousness in this navigator and the trauma of the past behind this character. She's the only character who's constantly mired in suspicion, haggling, or manipulation, but she's still a likable one.
Despite some flaws (such as too fast scene cuts, or a slightly clichéd plot), there are more resonances than flaws in the overall show. Some scenes are a shame because they're a little rushed compared to the animated version, but others are emotional and well-acted, making it all the more exciting to look forward to next season.
As such, the live-action first season of One Piece was an unexpected surprise for many longtime One Piece fans. While it's not perfect, it does exactly what Pirates fans expect, as it presents the characters we know and love in a real, touching, humorous, and sometimes sad way.
The first season of Netflix's live-action One Piece has some flaws, but overall it's off to a pretty solid start, catering to new viewers as well as satisfying the expectations of longtime fans. While individual performances can be a bit rigid, the rest, particularly the digital effects and visuals, are excellent. This is a live-action adaptation worth watching, and I sincerely recommend it to all One Piece fans.