Netflix's One Piece: Is Hollywood finally doing anime right?

Online Desk

02 Sep 2023 13:01 PM

Iñaki Godoy plays main character Monkey D Luffy. BBC Photo

Netflix's live-action adaptation of the Japanese anime series One Piece has been described as a surprise hit, receiving mostly praise from critics, BBC reports.

The show follows a group of pirates on the hunt for some mythical treasure, known as the One Piece, mirroring Eiichiro Oda's original storylines.

Whilst other manga live action crossovers have disappointed, the show appears to have bucked the trend.

"[It's] a candy-coloured confection with a childish glee," said Variety.

The Hollywood Reporter agreed that "the series neither takes itself too seriously, nor apologises for its silliness".

Mike Hale from The New York Times was less complimentary, however, calling the show "bland and generic".

"It may satisfy fans of the original, who are happy to see events more or less faithfully replicated, but most of the verve and personality of the anime are gone, replaced by busyness [and] elaborate but uninteresting production design".

Actually, it's a "an amusingly quirky show," wrote Rolling Stone critic Alan Sepinwall, highlighting an "arch tone that acknowledges how weird so much of this is".

"The energy of the world-building and the chemistry between the characters is enough to carry things in the early going. But once the novelty fades, some of the problems begin to assert themselves."

The Wrap's Kayleigh Donaldson approved of the way the show captured the spirit of One Piece's original incarnation.

"The production team has done an enviable job of recreating the anime's vibrant settings and costumes, which include clown pirates, shark-men, multi-coloured ships and punk-esque hair dyes.

"It certainly looks gorgeous in a way many anime adaptations chicken out on," she added.

Hollywood doesn't have the best track record when it comes to adapting anime, with productions including The Ghost in the Shell, Dragonball Evolution and Death Note being universally panned.

But with the genre continuing to have huge global appeal and commercial success, it makes sense that production houses continue to try and crack the format.

Variety's Alison Herman acknowledged One Piece's success in the area - calling it a "best-case scenario" - but had less flattering things to say about Netflix's approach to adapting existing properties, including Wednesday, Umbrella Academy and The Witcher.




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