ONE PIECE (2023)
Aired On: Netflix
Release Date: 08/31/23
Action. Adventure. Comedy.
"In a seafaring world, a young pirate captain sets out with his crew to attain the title of Pirate King, and to discover the mythical treasure known as 'One Piece.' "
One Piece is a tight 8 episodes of silly anime come to live-action, while simultaneously wearing its heart on its sleeve. Coming from an outsider’s perspective, One Piece was a series I had only heard about in passing and who hasn’t seen the “straw-hat pirate” somewhere. Now the connection has been made and it brings along this bombastic, thrilling pirate adventure to find the lost treasure known as the “One Piece.”
The direction feels straight out of an anime, it flows flawlessly and captures the wild antics of the crew, as well as their enemies along the path to the “One Piece.” While there are a few interesting choices here and there when it comes to the direction, overall the experience is a unique one that should hopefully please those that love the long-running anime and those (like myself) that are new to the IP. The action is smooth, yet chaotic as we witness sword battles, disembodied people fighting, Luffy stretching to do a “Gum Gum” punch and so many others that are terrifically captured with their full effect. The only true issue I have with the direction, apart from a few shots, is the decision to have a severe lack of blood, especially when someone is severely injured and is mentioned to be “bleeding out of everywhere” while in fact - they are not in the slightest, it's barely a flesh wound.
The writing is bonkers, never allowing newcomers a chance to breathe before something else strange takes place. From devil fruit enabled beings to fish people to just the everyday pirate out at sea, the series has a lot of history that can be explored within this live action and in the first season, the exposition is in fact heavy, but it's worthwhile for the connection it builds amongst the crew. The writing can be over-the-top at moments and even entire episodes but the cast hold their own with the material, making light of the bizarre and transforming it into an everyday occurrence.
The cast is absolute perfection - there's not an absurd number of pirate shows out there but this connection between the crew overtakes the loving connection of those on the ship in Our Flag Means Death (Max). While the dynamic and character development between characters may seem oddly quick, there’s not really an indication how long the group are out at sea and how long they’ve actually come to know each other. Iñaki Godoy is the embodiment of what I’ve come to know about Monkey D. Luffy, he’s full of enthusiasm and joy - never allowing the darkness to seep in. His crew consists of Nami (Emily Rudd), a thief with a secret intent for joining and Roronoa Zoro (Mackenyu), a bounty hunter who is seeking to become the greatest swordsman in the world at any cost. More join along the way and relationships are born, but those are ones needing to be seen to develop and not to be spoiled by an outsider like myself.
To put it plainly, One Piece is pure magic, if the original series can surpass 1000 episodes and be going strong, I’d love to see this series take on the challenge because I’m willing to sail onward into the unknown with this specific crew at the helm and Monkey D. Luffy as Captain. The first season is nothing short of boundary pushing and showcases just how far an anime so out-there can be transformed into one of the best series to hit the air in 2023. One Piece is a journey I can’t wait to continue, whether in another season or diving head first into the anime of the same name.