One Piece Live Action review: Disappointing Netflix remake is not without its charms

Netflix’s One Piece Live Action premiers with the origins of the Strawhat crew, as the starry-eyed Luffy traverses the seas to find loyal friends and crewmates in search of a legendary treasure and become king of the pirates.


Ambitious and overtly optimistic Luffy helps Koby break out of a life of servitude under ruthless pirate Alvida. The two head off to Shells Town where Luffy meets thief Nami and the pirate hunter named Roronoa Zoro.

The three come together to defeat Navy Captain Axe Head Morgan and steal the map to the Grand Line. Koby stays and the three depart on a small ship. Koby soon enlists in the Navy and is noticed by Vice-Admiral Garp.

The pirate trio is kidnapped and soon finds themselves imprisoned by a deranged clown pirate named Buggy. They ultimately manage to defeat him and free the people tormented by the pirates.

They then move to Syrup Village in search of a ship and meet Usopp, a great marksman with a penchant for lying and tall tales. He introduces them to the sickly shipyard heiress and his best friend, Kaya.

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Kaya’s long-time butler Klahadore turns out to be the infamous pirate Kuro, who has been playing a ruse to eventually take all of Kaya’s inherited wealth once she comes of age.

However, Usopp and the Strawhat crew defeat him to save Kaya, who then gifts them a ship and bids farewell to Usopp, who joins the pirates. The crew soon fights Garp and successfully escapes, stopping at a floating fish house called Baratie.

There, they meet Sanji, who’s a cook and a swashbuckling gentleman with great skills in combat as well. Sanji has been in a tiff with the head chef Jeff, who saved his life when he was stranded with him on a rock during childhood.

Now Jeff wants Sanji to go out and chase his dream but Sanji, feeling indebted to him, has refused to do so. That is until the Strawhat pirates come.

Meanwhile, the infamous warlord and the world’s greatest swordsman Dracule Mihawk comes looking for Luffy. Instead, he’s challenged to a duel by Zoro, who is defeated and severely injured, but spared by Mihawk who wants Zoro to train and combat him again.

While Zoro recovers, notorious and ruthless Fish-man Arlong arrives looking for Luffy. He overwhelms Luffy but is stopped before he can kill him by Nami, who defects to his side and betrays Luffy, handing the map to the Fish-man instead.

Zoro wakes up and Sanji joins the crew, and they all head off to Coco Village, where they learn of Nami’s painful past. Nami finally comes around to asking for her friends’ help. Luffy fights Arlong and defeats him.

The village is freed from the Fish-men pirates’ control as Garp finally catches up to Luffy and tests his power. Luffy is no match for him but Garp realizes that his grandson is ready for the journey ahead, especially now that he has friends by his side.

Luffy and his friends share their individual dreams during a cast-off ceremony before heading off to the Grand Line, toward their collective dream of finding One Piece.


Iñaki Godoy is the life of the live-action One Piece with his conviction and dedication to the role of Monkey D. Luffy. What he delivers isn’t the precise copy of what his manga/anime counterpart is like but it feels like the best version that could exist for the live-action format.

Mackenyu delivers a very believable Roronoa Zoro. He’s got the perfect athletic build that helps lend much authenticity to his physical performance. The vocal fry seems off-putting many times and one may find it difficult getting used to it.

Emily Rudd is one of the better performers on the roster and her internal battles behind the facade that she presents to the world are effectively conveyed through her expressions.

She can come across as a bit too gloomy and brooding but it might just be a creative choice taken into consideration with Eichiro Oda’s inputs. The same can be speculated about Zoro’s rather stiff performance.

Jacob Romero is delightful as Usopp whose goofiness eludes him here sometimes because of the poor writing he’s got to work with.

Taz Skylar, meanwhile, is never down bad for women as extremely as his manga/anime counterpart, but his performance feels really authentic.


The set design is really commendable and it’s very easy to spot all the love and effort that has gone into their construction. They are huge in scale and complex, as well as very accurate to their manga counterparts.

There are several differences in the course of events, character motivations, and interactions compared to the anime and manga, and some of these original changes work really well and breathe much-needed fresh air into the narrative.

The One Piece manga is rife with warmth and tender moments which are also present here and there are a couple of scenes that are sure to tug at one’s heartstrings, irrespective of their relationship with the source material.

The chemistry between the core cast members is really good and is only tanked by the sub-par writing. When it comes to the casting for the multitude of characters, the show has done a brilliant job nailing all the looks down.


The costumes have no wear or tear and essentially look like the actors are all sporting cosplay at a convention. The same issue persists with the look of the sets.

There’s a very sanitized and tidy look to the interiors where a lot of plot transpires. The walls, roofs, floors, and all the transients lying around seem like they’ve just been taken out of the plastic wrap moments before the filming started.

This detracts from the authenticity of the setting and hampers the ability of the viewer to believe what they’re seeing is a real place or get immersed in it.

The color palette is disgustingly Netflix-esque and the same drab templates for lighting are used here that make the whole affair look like a much smaller budget show, when in reality, a single episode of the show reportedly cost $18 million.

The jokes and gags, the very few of them that are there, do not work for the most part, which is extra disappointing because One Piece is known for its extremely absurd and hilarious gags, both visual and spoken.

When Netflix’s One Piece tries to steer away from the canon of the manga and do some original things, it’s at its best. Sadly, not much is allowed in that department and the show repeatedly tries to remind the viewers what it’s adapting.

In the midst of the plot and hitting the familiar narrative milestones, the heartwarming and hilarious banter between the central characters is sorely missing. It is a shame because this banter is a lot of what makes One Piece what it is.

The inclusion of Garp seems unnecessary when Smoker would’ve made for a far better choice as a secondary antagonist Marine who’s giving the Strawhats the cat-and-mouse chase.

Meanwhile, even when the show so desperately wants to reach the momentous scenes and events of the story, it lacks all the buildup and emotional quotient that makes said events so effective in the One Piece manga.


Netflix’s One Piece Live Action is a mixed bag that retains some warmth and familiar comfort from the manga, thanks largely in part to the commendable performances from the cast members.

However, it also fails to live up to the inevitable expectations as it tries to do original things in insufficient doses and tread familiar paths in copious amounts.

This results in a boring affair because the familiar paths skip many crucial moments carrying context, lore, chemistry, and buildup to make the familiar milestones that much more exciting.

One Piece Live Action
One Piece Live Action review: Disappointing Netflix remake is not without its charms 1

Director: Marc Jobst, Emma Sullivan, Tim Southam, Josef Wladyka

Date Created: 2023-08-31 12:30

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: One Piece Live Action summary and ending explained