Why One Piece was the num 1 show on netflix in 80 countries.
One Piece wasn’t only the num 1 show on netflix in 80 countries, but it also blew away the previous records ratings of such series such as: Wednesday, Stranger Things and The Witcher.
Before I even say why it’s so good, I’ll talk about the series background a bit:
One Piece is the live action version of the most sold manga all times: One Piece. This manga started in 1999 by Eiichiro Oda and it is still on going, though according to the author it is slowly going towards the final arc. It is not the longest manga, nor is the anime the longest anime, but it’s still a uncommonly long manga & anime. Currently it has 1092 chapters, 106 manga volumes, the anime has 1075 episodes (roughly 1 episode per chapter, roughly about 20 mins long). The length of both the manga & anime scare some newcomers, some people stay away from it because it’s so long, while some just dive in for a very long time, to finally catch up.
This series is adored by people of all ages, from very young to very old. In the West some people still think anime & manga is for kids, but in Japan some series like One Piece or Demon Slayer (Kimetsu no Yaiba) are watched by the entire family. The times are changing and anime is more accepted than ever. Why is the series so long and why do people still follow it? It’s simple: it’s just that good. I won’t get too deep into the details of the anime or the manga which are 99% the same story, but over the years, the series gets better & better, there were very few times I did not enjoy the show.
When I heard One Piece was getting a live action adaptation I thought to myself (like most One Piece fans): but how are they going to pull of this feat?
Here’s 1 thing I did mention above: the manga has very unique art, which was copied later on in other manga, but when it was first published, it was different from other manga art.
I had seen many anime by then, but even I found it weird and that’s why I didn’t watch it for many years, untill one day I told myself: there must be a reason why this anime has such a giant fanbase. Around 2005 I finally checked it out.
I know that not everyone likes it from the start, but me, I was hooked from episode one, first, second, third arc, I always wanted more, give me more One Piece.
You think I’m kidding about the weird art? Here’s some character designs:
Don’t even try to understand, there’s many many weird & lovable characters in this series. It is fair to say there’s non human races in this world, but the humans themselves don’t make any sense. It’s better to think of this as a fantasy world, which it is.
The art itself was the main reason why I thought: ok this can’t possibly be adapted in live action. I saw the trailer, everything looked mostly fine, it was streamlined a bit to suit the live action genre. I’m an avid manga reader & anime watcher, I knew that most live action versions are total disasters (not all, but most are). The day the series came out, my hopes were very low, I was prepared to be disappointed.
Ok, I’ll finally start talking about the Live action version, but before I do, I’ll reassure that this review will remainly mostly spoiler free (the picture above shows future characters, I guess)
The day it came out, I put it on, prepared myself the best I could, some snacks, relaxed setting and I pushed play.
The first few minutes, everything looked right, main character was perfect, effects were done correctly, acting was pretty good for a live action anime, I really liked the setting. I finish the episode still thinking: this is probably too good to be true, I’ll see it going downhill in the second episode, but after I finished the second one I knew this was actually a good series. I did not take very long to watch all 8 episodes. I don’t know about other viewers, but my own viewing experience was: this got better & better with each episode, something which I also felt with the anime & manga (for the most part).
One thing that surprised me was how well the action scenes were done. The manga & anime have weird characters which leads to even weirder fight sequences. Choices were made, some of the weirdness was taken away to adapt into live action, it’s a balance the writers/producers must make and this gamble paid off big time. One choice that caught be off guard in the Live action fights was all the blood and the violence, for some reason the manga never felt that violent, it feels very different with real actors.
I expected the live action version to be too awkward, but the makers of this series corrected enough to make it watchable to all adiences, while also keeping enough of the weirdness.
Something else they corrected was the length of the story arcs. I mentioned above, this is an extremely long manga/anime to catch up, netflix shorted it and you know what? It works. It’s not a choice I would have made myself, but if I had been the producer the series might have not worked. I do regret not seeing some of the manga material, but I take this serie separate from the manga. I think back to what Peter Jackson did with the Lord of the Rings, he adapted the books, but he did cut out some things, the movies were long enough. The pacing was excellent while still keeping the main storylines. I do wonder how all the future weirdness will be handled, the manga gets weird & weirder. I do hope they keep doing a good job, I hope they keep making all those good choices like they did for the first season.
One thing that makes the manga great: the interesting characters. The main cast is very likable, the actors & stuntmen/women did the role to perfection. Considering how well the series has done, I expect some known actors to come into this franchise, I know that even in Hollywood many actors actually read the manga or/and watch the anime and some have already posted on social media, their ambition to play a particular character. I will admit, I now expect great things, though even now having watched the entire first season, I still fear how some future characters will look in live action. I can safely tell you: there’s some really awesome interesting characters coming in future arcs. I think that’s one of the big strengths of One Piece: interesting stories with unique characters.
Something else I really enjoyed in this series are the settings & filming locations (mostly filmed in the Canary Islands, Spain), the props were something else as well, I mean One Piece has this whole pirate world or pirate bases & Marine bases, each caption has their own unique boat, this was another thing I feared: these boats won’t work, how will they handle this? Well, it was all actually constructed, many of the boats you see in the series are real, I don’t know about you, but I would love to see them in real. Each episode cost around 17 million, I would say the money was well spend. I am looking forward to seeing future arc locations & future boats.
If you have never watched any animes, that is fine, you could still like this series.
How would I describe One Piece: basically it’s Pirates, but they have weird abilities & weird powers. This does not take place in our world. While watching this netflix adapation I thought to myself: this feels more like a fairy tale, like a disney movie, than it does like an anime. Japan always does things their own way. The author of this manga decided to combine both pirates & marvel/dc superheroes into 1 series, it sounds like madness, but the result is somehow really enjoyable. If you want to escape into a world you could never imagine, this series is for you.
I would just say: just give it a try, you’ll know soon enough if you like it or not.