The live-action One Piece series from Netflix is just a week away from release on the streaming service. Based on the hugely popular manga source material, it adapts the classic tale of Monkey D. Luffy, a young pirate who wants to become the pirate king. Ahead of the show’s release next week, here’s everything you need know about the One Piece series and what to expect.
First and foremost, we need a bit of context. One Piece is a manga created by author Eiichiro Oda. First published in 1997 in the Japanese weekly magazine Shonen Jump, it has since gone on to become the one of the best-selling comics in the world. It was later adapted into a popular anime with multiple animated movies. Today, One Piece is recognised as one of the most influential pieces of entertainment in history. The story is still ongoing.
Everything You Need to Know About One Piece on Netflix
The story of One Piece spans over a thousand chapters and episodes so it will be hard to condense everything. However, Netflix’s show only adapts the first leg of the long journey so we’ll start there.
One Piece tells the story of Monkey D. Luffy, an aspiring pirate who sets off on the seas to become the next king of the pirates and find the mysterious One Piece treasure, left behind by the former pirate king, Gold Roger. Along the way, he picks up a crew consisting of swordsman and first mate Roronoa Zoro, navigator Nami, sniper Usopp and chef Sanji. The frantic search for the One Piece has brought about a new age of piracy in this fantasy world.
One Piece‘s world contains strange fruits called Devil Fruits. Once eaten, it grants the user a random supernatural ability. In Luffy’s case, he ate the Gum-Gum Fruit which essentially allows him to turn his body into rubber. Devil Fruits have various properties and utilities including being able to harness fire, create earthquakes, turn into a dragon and even change people’s genders, among many other powers. Eating a fruit comes with one rather annoying side effect: you lose the ability to swim. As you can imagine, this might be a problem for sea-faring pirates.
For the first leg of the journey, though, you only need to know that Devil Fruits haven’t been explained yet but they exist in this world and our protagonist has rubber powers.
Cast & Characters
To give you a better understanding of each main player in the One Piece series and its actors, here’s a quick breakdown of the crew and some important side characters:
- Monkey D. Luffy (Iñaki Godoy) : The captain of the Straw Hat Pirates and protagonist who ate the Gum-Gum Fruit, granting his body the properties of rubber. Luffy aims to find the One Piece treasure and become king of the pirates.
- Roronoa Zoro (Mackenyu): A wandering swordsman and the first mate of the Straw Hat Pirates crew. Zoro is best known for his green hair and distinct fighting style where he uses three swords: one in each hand and the other in his teeth.
- Nami (Emily Rudd): A cat burglar who joins the Straw Hat Pirates and becomes the crew’s navigator. Nami aims to travel to every corner of the ocean and make a comprehensive map of the world.
- Usopp (Jacob Romero): The cheerful, tall tale-telling Usopp is the Straw Hat crew’s sniper and ship caretaker. He uses a slingshot as a weapon but unlike the other members, Usopp tends to flee fights instead of join them.
- Sanji (Taz Skylar): The Casanova chef of the Straw Hat Pirates. Sanji’s dream is to find a mysterious location on the ocean called the All Blue, where all four seas of west, east, north and south meet.
- Shanks (Peter Gadiot): A renowned pirate that Luffy looks up to. Shanks has distinct red hair and presented Luffy with the gift of his iconic straw hat.
- Monkey D. Garp (Vincent Regen): Luffy’s grandfather and vice admiral of the Marines, the military arm of the World Government.
- Koby (Morgan Davies): A timid young boy who dreams about joining the Marines and rising up the ranks to admiral status.
- Arlong (McKinley Belcher III): A fish-man and captain of the dangerous Arlong Pirates crew. Arlong will seemingly be one of the main antagonists for season one.
- Buggy (Jeff Ward): A blue-haired clown pirate who has the Devil Fruit ability to dismantle his body. One of Luffy’s first adversaries.
One Piece was primarily filmed in Cape Town, South Africa. Most of its sets, including the enormous ships, were practically recreated such as the Going Merry and the floating restaurant, Baratie. Read more about the amazing sets right here.
The first season of Netflix’s One Piece will contain 8 episodes. As far as we can tell, each episode will be about an hour long. All episodes will drop together on release.
The One Piece live-action Netflix series currently has a release date of Thursday, 31 August 2023, when it will arrive on the streaming service. Check your local time zones for estimates.
To catch you up on everything One Piece, check out this behind-the-scenes video with South African stunt coordinator Franz Spilhaus and why the internet is losing its mind over the show’s animatronic transponder snails.