Hey Outposters, I am back on the scene to do a series of reviews, starting with One Piece.

Now that I’m settled in, have lost 140 lbs in the form of a spouse, and way more than that in the form of financial wealth (no, not bitter or anything) I have finally gotten to the point that I have some time. So that ever expanding list of “stuff I need to watch” is finally getting watched! I start with Netflix’s live-action adaptation of One Piece.

Now I had nearly zero knowledge of this. I know I’ve seen Luffe on some merchandise or in pictures on the internet but that’s about it. I probably know more about Pokemon and I know jack squat about that. So going in cold, I really had no idea what to expect. The internets has been abuzz about it though, mostly because it seemed to stay very close to the source material. Imagine my surprise it was made by the same studio that did the Cowboy Bebop abortion. (That one I WAS familiar with and was pretty disgusted with their take on it.)

You will like these people. What a concept, liking characters.


One Piece tells the story of a world with mostly ocean, wrapped with a relatively narrow strip of land. A pirate was captured by the authorities, and just before his death he says to everyone that his treasure is out there, if you can only find it. Cue the Mad Mad Mad Mad World exodus as everyone hops on a ship to find his fabled riches, nicknamed the One Piece.

Cut to 22 years later. The One Piece has not been found and piracy has become a big industry. In this world, we meet Monkey D. Luffy, a relentlessly cheerful guy who takes the “make it up as you go along” philosophy as his personal life code.

He wants to be a pirate more than anything, but not the kind with all the murdering and stuff, but the fun adventuring and treasure hunting stuff. He begins to take on people on to his crew, whether they want to or not. Don’t get me wrong, he doesn’t coerce anyone, but his enthusiasm combined with mutual goals get people to end up with him and they can’t help but want to stay with him.

There’s Komi, the only one who doesn’t join his crew (so far anyway) to become a marine, his lifelong dream. Unfortunately, he sees things in the marines aren’t always as he idealized them to be.

Nami is a thief who betrays him, but for good reason. Zoro wants to be the greatest swordsman ever. There are tons more. Every character is given a back story and motivations that are memorable, making you connect with them.

Then there’s the world of One Piece which is so over the top and goofy in so many ways, I can’t even begin to describe it. The production team was clearly given a large budget with an LSD line item. There are pirate costumes, samurai, cowboys, business suits, marines with bunny hats, it just gets weirder and weirder and that’s totally a compliment.

The adventures the group has together are usually one or two-episode mini-stories within the larger narrative. It’s a great blend of episodic television and a larger storyline. It all feels very organic and satisfying. Today’s television feels like filler to stretch out a ninety-minute movie into seventy hours. Not so with this. Each episode has a clear storyline that has an immediate plot point to be resolved but the changes that happen to the characters carry over into the next story. It makes it all very easy to watch here and there and not feel like you have to binge.

The Anime if you dare


But you probably will because the whole damn thing is so engaging. There is no “THE MESSAGE” here. Just pure entertainment. Don’t be fooled by the lighter tone and goofy moments, when it needs to be dark and heavy, it brings it. I really am totally shocked that this show was able to embrace all of anime’s excesses perfectly into live-action. Again, a total compliment.

The anime I believe has over 75,000 episodes, 6,542 movies, totaling enough watch hours until the sun burns out. If that’s a bit much for you in your busy schedule, this live-action show boils a lot down into the essentials and doesn’t seem to lose what everyone loves about the original. If you are familiar with the anime, from what I hear, you will be pleased with this adaptation.

In any case, this is a great show that I’m very much looking forward to the next season. Bring on more Luffy!

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