One Piece on Netflix: A disaster announced for the Live Action series?

news culture One Piece on Netflix: A disaster announced for the Live Action series?

The adaptation of the cult manga One Piece into a live action series is causing as much impatience as fear among fans. On the one hand, the means and the passion seem to be present to support the project. On the other hand, Netflix’s recent attempts are worrying fans of the universe created by Eiichirō Oda.

Summary

  • A Live Action One Piece series, why do it?
  • Reasons not to believe it?
  • In the west, nothing is new ?
  • First reassuring clues during filming?
  • Script traffic jam: too many chapters for not enough episodes?

A Live Action One Piece series, why do it?

In 2017, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the manga, the most significant project in the history of the franchise presents itself: a live-action series. big movie fan, Eiichirō Oda admits that the initiative has often been offered to him, but that he had always refused until then. In his own words, he doesn’t want the adaptation to betray the fans. The author of the best-selling manga in history was waiting for the right person to come his way. Obviously, this chosen one is the producer Marty Adelstein, responsible for Teen Wolf and Prison Break. Quickly, Netflix enters the dance. The SVOD company wins the exclusive international broadcast rights for the series and adds to the production.

At the same time, the platform announces a budget of 100 million for the first season. Since then, the news agency Reuters had announced that One Piece is part of a grand strategy for Netflix. They announced in July 2022 that One Piece, Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Three-Body Problem would be the 3 projects aiming to “go through time” and to carry the platform for many years. Thus, the one that will stand out among these will become the flagship of Netflix, as Stranger Things can currently be.


Reasons not to believe it?

When netflix enters the process of creating the series, some suspicions appear. At that time, she joined the Shūeisha, publisher of the original manga, and Tomorrow Studio, responsible for the Snowpiercer and Cowboy Bebop series. As for the other two structures, they have already collaborated, but not for the best… Indeed, they were behind the live-action adaptation of the cult anime Cowboy Bebop serial. Critical failure therefore, the work points to 46% on Rotten Tomatoes and 47% on Metacritic.

Shaken by this cold shower, Netflix canceled season 2 of the show less than a month after the first season aired. While she concentrated a lot of hope, the series is a bitter commercial failure. In three weeks, only 6 million hours of the live series cowboy bebop were viewed around the world. For comparison, the first part of season 4 of Stranger Things saw its episodes being viewed more than 280 million times in one weekend, a record.


In the west, nothing is new ?

Should we go to war against any Western adaptation project of a title from the Japanese archipelago? The solution would be extreme, especially since big-budget achievements of the latter, such as Alita Battle Angel and Edge of Tomorrow, have succeeded in their bets. All the more, the budget of the One Piece series is one of the biggest in history. With 10 million allocated per episode, the sum is greater than for the first season of Game of Thrones. So of course, this is still far from the 30 million that Netflix allocates to each episode of Stranger Things. Nevertheless, this makes it possible to realize that the platform is ready to invest in its flagship series.

To make it a cult adaptation, Netflix has therefore made sure to integrate creatives involved in the project. Thereby, the main masterminds of the series are passionate about the universe of Eiichirō Oda. Even more striking, the author himself came to take news of the project in South Africa, where the series was filmed. Screenwriter Matt Owens expressed his delight when he inherited the baby. He states that One Piece is his “favorite story” and that he wishes “write a story that is faithful and exciting, satisfying long-time fans and attracting new ones.


First reassuring clues during filming?

The only images communicated around the series are these sets. Indeed, no costume or trailer has yet been posted. Clearly, only boats and a few urban environments have been revealed. The first thing to note is that the series seems to rely heavily on real outdoor sets, to the detriment of synthetic images. The visuals of the Baratie, the restaurant boat on which Sanji grew up with Zeff, are very promising in relation to the cachet provided by the sets. And if there’s one thing that Pirates of the Caribbean has taught us well, it’s that pirate stories on real ships still have a little more charisma.

This artistic direction could allow post-production to devote more depth to the digital special effects related to the scenes that need it most. For example, the two iconic scenes related to the sea monster living next to Luffy’s home island as well as the Devil Fruit powers could enjoy special effects worthy of the name. Especially since the FX making the characters springy on screen have rarely been very convincing. We remember movies Fantastic Four released in the 2000s, the visual rendering of Mr. Fantastic’s elastic body had been widely criticized. Currently in post-production, the live adaptation team will have to find the right (digital) ingredients to satisfy fans.

One Piece on Netflix: A disaster announced for the Live Action series?

Script traffic jam: too many chapters for not enough episodes?

Finally, the storyline for this first season will adapt the East-Blue arc from the original manga. Thereby, the series will have to transcribe the first 100 chapters of the work in one season. In these, we find 7 sub-arcs: Romance Dawn, the meeting with Zoro, the face to face with Baggy the clown, the meeting with Ussop, the Baratie, Arlong Park and Loguetown. Presumably, the story of Gaimon and his strange animals should not see the light of day on the screen. Conversely, the One Piece Netflix Fan media revealed that scenes during the filming were dedicated to the adaptation of the mini-adventure between Kobby and Hermep.

Not convinced ? Well, men lie, but numbers don’t, as they say. Clearly, with episodes of one hour on average, the series could dedicate around 1.5 episodes to each story. If 7 sub-arcs in 10 hours seem to be a (too?) important rhythm, the length of the respective stories is reassuring. Level capacity, these range from 2 chapters for Romance Dawn to 26 for the story of Sanji and Baratie. Thus, the story of the cook with the twisted eyebrow could be told in 2 hours and a half, which is equivalent to an MCU film. In the anime adaptation, East Blue was allowed around 15 hours to blossom. However, as One Piece anime fans know, Toei Animation’s production often tends to artificially stretch the story to avoid catching up with the manga, which is still in the works.


About the One Piece universe