Sunday, October 15, 2023

One Piece - Romance Dawn

The opening episode of Netflix's One Piece, adapted from the manga of the same name, introduces us to would-be pirate Monkey D. Luffy (Iñaki Godoy) who, like so many others, has gone in search of the former pirate king's treasure known as the One Piece. Over the course of the first episode, in his attempts to find a map to lead him to the treasure, Luffy will run into others such as the thief Nami (Emily Rudd) and the swordsman Zoro (Mackenyu) who will become the start of the crew of what eventually will become known as the Straw Hat Pirates. In his adventure at sea, Luffy also meets the amicable Koby (Morgan Davies) who he saves the the pirate captain Alvida (Ilia Isorelýs Paulino), but Koby decides to pursue the dream of becoming a Marine rather than throwing in with another pirate.

Through the use of flashbacks we see a bit of Luffy's past and where his fascination with pirates began (along with his unusual abilities that allow him to stretch like Plastic Man). The opener also introduces us to some antagonists which Luffy, Nami, and Zoro consistently outmaneuver and defeat. The most notable of these are Marine Captain Morgan (Langley Kirkwood) and his pretentious son Helmeppo (Aidan Scott) who Luffy and the others are able to successfully steal a map to the Grand Line which they will need if they have any chance of discovering the mythical treasure.

Attempting to bring anime to live-action, especially one as wild and crazy as One Piece, is certainly a challenge. Steven Maeda and Matt Owens, with the help of the manga's creator Eiichiro Oda who worked as a consultant for the new show, go all-in in recreating the characters from the original. While some aspects and characters work better others (Morgan especially is too goofy for my taste), the results are quite enjoyable. With Godoy the show lucked into a charming young star that feels like a walking anime character helping to sell the show's premise. While I think those who are fans of the anime may get more out of the show in terms of individual moments and references, "Romance Dawn" takes the time to introduce each character here, helping out new viewers who didn't watch the original show, while still leaving enough mystery on Luffy's new friends to further explore over the course of the season.

  • Title: One Piece - Romance Dawn
  • IMDb: link

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