Netflix’s long-awaited live-action adaptation of the classic anime One Piecebased on Eiichiro Oda’s eponymous manga, is here — and it was worth the wait. The show stars up-and-coming actor Mexican Iñaki Godoy as Monkey D. Luffy, an overly enthusiastic and happy-go-lucky boy who acquires rubber-like abilities after eating a mysterious Devil Fruit. He dreams of becoming the King of Pirates by recovering the One Piece, a legendary treasure left behind by famed pirate Gol D. Roger.
One Piece has eight episodes, each more exciting than the one before. The show adapts roughly the first 100 episodes of the anime, following Luffy’s assembling of his crew: quiet swordsman Roronoa Zoro, enigmatic thief Nami, cowardly and well-meaning marksman Usopp, and debonair, flirtatious cook Sanji. One Piece tracks Luffy’s efforts to venture into the Grand Line, a dangerous and mysterious ocean route and the apparent location of the famed One Piece. Throughout their journey, Luffy and his crew, the Straw Hats, fight multiple enemies, including fellow pirates and a persistent vice admiral of the Marines. Eventually, the Straw Hats adventures lead to a major battle against the season’s primary villain, fearsome fishman pirate Arlong.
Note: This article contains major spoilers for season 1 of One Piece.
Dawn of the Straw Hats
One Piece‘s first seven episodes follow Luffy and his crew as they evade several enemies on their way to the Grand Line. After stealing a map in episode 1 and fighting off several pirates, including Buggy the Clown and Klahadore, the Straw Hats arrive at the Baratie, a floating restaurant where they meet and recruit Sanji. After Zoro loses a fight against the mighty pirate Dracule Mihawk, Luffy faces the ruthless Arlong, a fishman who hates humans because of their intolerant and cruel treatment of his kind. However, their fight gets cut short when Nami reveals she’s a part of Arlong’s crew and only pretended to join Luffy to recover the map to the Grand Line.
Luffy, Usopp, Sanji, and the recovered Zoro travel to Coco Village, the childhood home of Nami, where they learn her tragic backstory. Meanwhile, Nami’s reasons for working for Arlong are revealed to be wanting to buy Coco Village from him, thus saving the inhabitants from his cruelty. However, Arlong betrays Nami by sending a corrupt team of Marines to steal the money she planned on using to buy back Coco Village before launching a full-scale attack on the town. The Straw Hats reunite with Nami and pledge to protect Coco Village, welcoming her back into their ranks.
Elsewhere, Vice Admiral Garp, Luffy’s grandfather, who spends the entire season trying to arrest him, learns his location from the same corrupt Marines working with Arlong. Determined to bring his grandson into custody by any means possible, Garp and his Marines travel to Coco Village.
Man vs. Fishman
One Piece‘s final episode revolves around the Straw Hats’ assault on Arlong Park, home to Arlong and his crew. While Zoro, Sanji, and Usopp deal with the violent crew of fishmen, Luffy and Nami enter the compound’s main building searching for the stolen map. Luffy stays behind to fight Arlong, while Nami flees with the map. The battle is surprisingly even, thanks to Luffy’s stretchy abilities. However, he soon realizes beating Arlong in hand-to-hand combat might be tougher than expected. Thus, he collapses the building, destroying the maps Nami drew for Arlong that would have allowed him to conquer the East Blue ocean, effectively ruining his plans. Although the rubble buries Arlong, Luffy emerges unscathed.
The Straw Hats celebrate alongside the newly liberated Coco Village, while Nami makes amends with her sister, who believed she was a traitor for working with Arlong. Their party is cut short by the arrival of Vice Admiral Garp, who challenges Luffy to a one-on-one battle. Despite Luffy’s abilities, Garp proves a formidable opponent and successfully subdues his grandson. Luffy remains defiant, insisting he’ll become King of the Pirates by retrieving the One Piece, which draws laughter from his grandfather. Garp then reveals he didn’t want to apprehend Luffy, but rather toughen him up for the dangerous road ahead. After a touching moment, the pair part ways, finally accepting each other as they truly are.
Luffy is then visited by Koby, the first friend he made on his adventure after rescuing him from the fearsome pirate Alvida. Koby, now a Marine cadet training directly under Garp, delivers Luffy’s wanted poster, confirming him as a wanted man with the highest bounty in the East Blue. The Straw Hats resume their original purpose and set a course for the Grand Line, while a montage shows all the characters Luffy crossed paths with, friends and foes, reacting to his wanted poster. The season’s final scene shows a figure burning the poster, and while his face isn’t shown, fans will recognize him as Smoker, hinting at a future role in a potential season 2.
Alas, One Piece has yet to be renewed for season 2. However, Smoker’s brief appearance hints the show knows exactly where it’s headed in a sophomore season: Loguetown, birth and dying place of Gol D. Roger and, more importantly, the crew’s last stop before joining the Grand Line. The show’s future remains uncertain, but One Piece is among the best Netflix originals and the steamer’s best live-action anime adaptation. It has enough charm and inventive bravado to warrant a second season of piracy and maritime adventures. Only time will tell if we’ll see the Straw Hats again, but hopefully, we will.
One Piece is now streaming on Netflix.