One Piece Creator Explains Why The Live-Action Netflix Series Is A Hit With Fans

By Kevin C. Neece | Updated

One Piece

One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda told ET Canada he kept close watch over the live-action adaptation of the anime series he created. Aware of the history of poor live-action adaptations of Japanese animated films and TV series, Oda worked hard to ensure that the translation of his creation to a live-action format was handled with the utmost care. Comparing himself to a guard dog, he says he was heavily involved in every aspect of the series, ensuring the Integrity of the adaptation.

The creator of One Piece, Eiichiro Oda, was heavily involved in Netflix’s live-action adaptation.

Like many anime projects, One Piece was adapted from a manga, so the narrative has already undergone a transition from one medium to another. It has also endured through decades of storytelling, with over 1,000 episodes spanning almost 25 years. Even in a world where franchises like Star Wars, Star Trek, and Doctor Who are nearing or surpassing their 40th, 50th, and 60th anniversaries, a single scripted series running that long is almost unheard of outside soap operas, with the notable exception of the 35-plus year run of The Simpsons.

The protection of such a storied Legacy provided more than enough motivation for Oda to carefully guard the new version of One Piece on Netflix. The series tells the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates as they traverse the Grand Line, fueled in part by Luffy’s desire to achieve status as King of the Pirates. For the live-action version of the series, Oda worked closely with the team at Netflix to preserve the series’ spirit, characters, and world while bringing a fresh perspective to the new format.

Most live-action anime adaptations have failed horribly, but One Piece has become the most popular series on Netflix.

The Netflix iteration of One Piece seems to have been a success in those regards, including the vital element of excellent casting. By all accounts, Iñaki Godoy as Luffy and Emily Rudd as Nami brought dedication to their roles, perfectly embodying the well-established characters they portray.

one piece
One Piece

Finding actors who not only look the part of characters who already have such long-established lore and personalities, not to mention who can also give performances that are true to the originals while remaining sincere and avoiding mere impressions, is a challenge for any production, but with Oda’s help, the new production seems to have expertly threaded that needle.

Thanks to Oda’s protective attention to detail, this new version of One Piece looks like an instant classic that fans and new viewers have received well.

From a story perspective, the live-action version of One Piece has been able to hew closely to the existing stories from the animated series. While some liberties are taken with specifics of the storyline, the major arcs remain, as does the encompassing narrative structure, meaning Luffy and the Straw Hats face many of the same challenges. Still, this fresh version of the stories does alter elements in ways fans will find interesting, as well as provide a new take on beloved characters while also acting as a point of access for those who might prefer live action over an anime.

Thanks to Oda’s protective attention to detail, this new version of One Piece looks like an instant classic that fans and new viewers have received well. With the industry’s current state in a general pause due to the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, it’s unclear whether the series will be renewed for a second season. Given its fidelity to the source material and warm reception, along with the enduring legacy of the anime, the chances of the series continuing—industry conditions permitting—seem favorable.