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One Piece

One Piece season 1

Credits

Cast

Network

Reviewer

Kennedy Unthank

TV Series Review

Over two decades ago, the World Government’s Marines captured Gol D. Roger, the self-proclaimed “King of the Pirates.”

But the Marines overseeing his public execution could never have guessed the fervor Roger’s final words would unleash upon the world.

“You wanna know where my treasure is? I’ll tell you,” Roger said. “Wealth. Fame. Power. I found everything this world has to offer. Free yourselves. Take to the seas. My treasure is yours to find.”

And the whole world went crazy.

Ever since that fateful day, thousands upon thousands have embraced the pirate way of life, hoping to one day discover Roger’s treasure, which quickly became known as the “One Piece.” Likewise, thousands upon thousands have died trying to obtain it.

But the world has yet to take on Monkey D. Luffy.

Raise Anchor and Set Sail

Luffy might not look like much, sporting a straw hat and the physique akin to a bean sprout. But he’s also got a secret weapon, quite literally up his sleeve.

You see, when he was little, he bit into a Devil Fruit—an extremely rare food that gives the consumer unique powers. For Luffy, it turned his body into rubber, making him extremely stretchy and immune to all forms of blunt weaponry, bullets included.

The downside? Anyone who eats a Devil Fruit is rejected by the sea and loses the ability to swim—making pirating quite the precarious adventure.

Of course, that doesn’t deter Luffy. Actually, very little can stop the smile on his face. But the new pirate does understand that if he wants to find the One Piece and claim the title King of the Pirates, he’s going to need a pirate crew.

And … well … he’ll need to figure out where the One Piece is.

And depending on how artistically animated your version of Luffy is, that could take a really long time.

A Bit of a Stretch

Perhaps it’s fitting that the anime about the rubber-based pirate stretches over 1,000 episodes. One Piece, based on the manga of the same name by Eiichirô Oda, had its television debut in 1999 and still releases a new episode every week.

You may or may not have had your eye on the series, but perhaps that level of episodic commitment was a bit too daunting to tackle. Well, you might be in luck, since Director Marc Jobst (along with the heavy involvement of Oda himself) rebooted the story, starting with an initial eight episode live-action format on Netflix. These hour-long episodes, which strive to stay true to the source material, will take viewers roughly through the first 45 episodes of plot found in the original anime.

So far, that means we’ll get introduced to about half of Luffy’s main crew. It also means that we’ll get plenty of fight scenes along the way.

That’ll be the biggest concern for families hoping to watch this live-action version. People die with quick splatters of blood. It’s revealed that a starving man had to eat his leg, bit by bit, in order to stay alive. One character (who has likewise eaten a Devil Fruit) has the ability to separate his body into floating pieces at will—and those severed bits can look at bit gruesome. Another person who doesn’t have that ability is just sliced in half, dead. After all, these are pirates. Not everyone is as chipper and friendly as Luffy.

Likewise, plenty of these pirates drink and swear—but because it’s a TV-14 rating, the s-word is the worst we hear. And in terms of sexual content, a man’s naked rear is seen in the first episode.

But if the anime gives a foretaste of what’s to come (and, because it is a faithful adaptation, it likely will), there’s a bit more audiences will have to deal with. Some characters identify as transgender, and a group of people called the Okama (Japanese for homosexual or crossdresser) is made up of such people. Some of the main female characters are objectified (one character has even used an “attack” called happiness punch, in which she flashes people to knock them to the ground). And in terms of spirituality, characters use “Haki,” a method of using your spiritual energy in supernatural ways.

Perhaps a live-action One Piece will help people who want to dive into this ocean of a story. But there’s a lot of content that lurks below these waves.

Episode Reviews

Aug. 31, 2023 – S1, Ep1: “Romance Dawn”

Luffy sets out to become the King of the Pirates … but he first needs to assemble a crew.

A man is sliced in half, causing his top half to slide off his bottom half. Two ships fire cannonballs at each other, causing debris and people alike to go flying, likely killing (or at least injuring) them. Alvida, the captain of the assaulting pirate ship, beats many people down with her spiked club, complete with quick splatters of blood. One man is executed with the club, and we see a resulting pool of blood. Luffy stabs himself below the eye. Luffy is shot, but the bullet simply bounces off him. He uses his stretchy fist to punch Alvida overboard. A pirate is stabbed in the back by two executioners. We see a dead body being carried around in a bag. Many marines are knocked unconscious or killed via blunt and sharp weapons.

A man is seen naked, posing with a katana. We see his exposed rear, and he quickly covers up when someone walks in on him. When he turns around, we see him hiding his genitals with a stuffed animal.

A man visits a shrine. We’re told he’s a bounty hunter, and he has the nickname “the Demon.”

Pirates sleep with empty bottles of liquor surrounding them. Other pirates drink.

The s-word is used once. “H—” is heard twice, and “a–” and “b–tard” are used once. God’s name is used in vain once. Someone displays his middle finger.

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kennedy-unthank
Kennedy Unthank

Kennedy Unthank studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He knew he wanted to write for a living when he won a contest for “best fantasy story” while in the 4th grade. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that he was the only person to submit a story. Regardless, the seed was planted. Kennedy collects and plays board games in his free time, and he loves to talk about biblical apologetics. He thinks the ending of Lost “wasn’t that bad.”

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