Romance Dawns: Netflix’s Live-Action One Piece is a Love Letter to the Series


Romance Dawns: Netflix’s Live-Action One Piece is a Love Letter to the Series

Three years after the show was announced, the first teaser trailer for Netflix and Tomorrow Studios’ live-action adaptation of One Piece debuted on June 17th at TUDUM 2023.

During a live stream with veteran One Piece fan Randy Troy, showrunner Matt Owens shared their intentions behind this first teaser:

“We want to get the essence of the show out there… [This] show is about Luffy and his crew and dreams and adventure. And so especially for people who aren’t as familiar with One Piece, we want them to understand that that’s the crux of what this story is. So that is a lot of what this teaser was built around.”

When asked about the absence of Steven John Ward’s Dracule Mihawk (a performance the showrunner had given glowing praise), Owens playfully replied, “[It’s] a teaser. Maybe there’s more coming at a later date and time.”

A fan of One Piece himself, he has long made an effort to be transparent with its fan community about the upcoming adaptation. During the 2020 Reverie VIII live stream – an annual, fan-run event – he recounted his first meeting with One Piece’s creator, Eiichiro Oda. Oda was initially skeptical when Owens and his team pitched him the project. But when Owens opened up to him about how One Piece had saved his life, the mangaka’s doubts disappeared: “He looked me in the eye and he held his hand out across the table and said, ‘I have 100% faith in you now.’”

Owens also assured fans that Oda and his staff were involved during the entire course of the production. Oda later corroborated this in the following message:

With the first season being only eight episodes in length and its medium being a live-action show on the world’s most popular streaming service, this adaptation is the best shot at getting people who wouldn’t consider picking up the gargantuan manga series or watching its anime adaptation – let alone any manga or anime series – to give the story a chance. And with the release of the first teaser trailer and announcement of an August 31st release date, One Piece fans can rest assured that the show has received Oda’s stamp of approval.

Across interviews and their social media accounts, the core cast members have shown that they understand their respective characters and respect the source material. Emily Rudd has frequently expressed her love for One Piece and stated that portraying Nami was a dream role. Iñaki Godoy, who portrays Luffy, committed himself to researching One Piece and even embarked on a real-life, 80-day voyage. And Taz Skylar took rigorous cooking and Tae Kwon Do lessons to prepare for the role of the Straw Hat Pirates’ cook, “Black Leg” Sanji.

Behind the camera, a tremendous amount of care went into the show’s sets, costumes, and writing. A behind-the-scenes sneak peek from Netflix’s 2022 Geeked Week revealed the construction of life-sized versions of the Going Merry, the Miss Love Duck, and the Baratie, and even more ships and locations were featured in the teaser trailer. In the aforementioned live stream, Owens pointed out that many of the outfits worn by the Straw Hat Pirates in the teaser came straight out of One Piece Color Walk 1 – a collection of color spreads from the first 100 manga chapters. And co-showrunner Steve Maeda said in a recent Instagram post promoting the cast’s reaction to the teaser, “So damn proud of this cast and crew! And please remember the striking writers who worked for four years to bring Oda-san’s world to life.”

Netflix and Tomorrow Studios’ One Piece will be available to stream on Netflix on August 31st.

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