Netflix’s live-action adaptation of the popular Japanese anime, One Piece, has surprised audiences with its well-received debut, earning accolades from critics.
The series follows a band of pirates in pursuit of the fabled treasure known as the One Piece, closely mirroring Eiichiro Oda’s original storyline.
Unlike previous attempts at adapting manga into live-action, One Piece seems to have broken the mold. Variety describes it as “a vibrant and whimsical delight,” while The Hollywood Reporter concurs, stating that “the show strikes a perfect balance between not taking itself too seriously and embracing its playful absurdity.”
However, not all critics are equally impressed. Mike Hale of The New York Times finds the show “lacking in depth and originality,” lamenting the loss of the anime’s distinctive charm and character.
Rolling Stone critic Alan Sepinwall offers a mixed perspective, dubbing it “an entertainingly quirky series” and appreciating its “offbeat humor,” but cautioning that some issues become apparent as the initial novelty wanes.
The Wrap’s Kayleigh Donaldson commends the production’s ability to capture the essence of the original One Piece, lauding its faithful recreation of the anime’s vivid settings, eccentric costumes, and imaginative world-building.
When it comes to Hollywood’s track record with anime adaptations, it’s a notoriously rocky road, with films like The Ghost in the Shell, Dragonball Evolution, and Death Note receiving widespread criticism. Despite these past failures, the enduring global appeal and financial success of the genre make it a tempting challenge for production studios.
Alison Herman of Variety acknowledges One Piece’s triumph in this endeavor but expresses reservations about Netflix’s approach to adapting existing properties, including Wednesday, Umbrella Academy, and The Witcher. She finds them to be popular but lacking in substantial depth and novelty, catering to binge-watching but missing opportunities for innovation.
Angie Han of The Hollywood Reporter shines a spotlight on the series’ character development, particularly applauding the portrayal of Monkey D. Luffy (played by Iñaki Godoy), noting that it mirrors the protagonist’s audacious spirit and joyful disregard for convention.
One Piece premiered on Netflix with all eight episodes available for immediate streaming, marking a promising start to Hollywood’s journey in adapting anime for a broader audience.