The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Column | Netflix’s live-action ‘One Piece’ captures charm of original

Amy Sanchez

Netflix released their live-action rendition of the manga series “One Piece” on Aug. 31. In its first weekend on the streaming platform, the series amassed 18.5 million views worldwide, according to the Netflix website.

On Netflix, it became one of the top 10 TV shows in 93 countries and hit number one globally.

The very first few minutes of “One Piece” set the tone for the entire show.

As the Pirate King, Gold Roger (Michael Dorman), moves to be persecuted in a public square, the camera pans to an enormous audience. With his final words, Roger dares onlookers to find where he hid all of fame, power and wealth.

The camera snaps to ground level, capturing the crowd of people as they stampede out of the galley, desperate to become the next king of the pirates.

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    Monkey D. Luffy (Iñaki Godoy), the protagonist of the series, shares that same dream. Whoever he meets in the series, he does not hesitate to announce himself as future king of the pirates. 

    Whether ordering food from a waiter or staring straight into the face of an enemy, Luffy never fails to mention his dream.

    This theme persists in the original “One Piece” manga series as well. However, the live-action series pushes this plot device even further. With less time for exposition, the series uses a character’s dreams to summarize their motivations and actions for viewers.

    Instead of characterizing people through dialogue, the live-action series portrays characters through visible habits and on-screen elements.

    When the show introduces the viewers to the butler Klahadore (Alexander Maniatis), he fixes his glasses in an exceedingly strange way. Rather than adjusting them with his fingers, he uses the palm of his hand.

    In the manga series, this motion is explained through dialogue. Secretly captain of the Black Cat Pirates, Klahadore killed his enemies with katana blades at the end of each finger. Through his constant use of these blades, Klahadore got the habit of fixing his glasses with his palm.

    This motion still persists in the live-action series; however, the viewers never obtain a direct explanation. When Klahadore shows his claws, he repeats the same motion, leaving the viewers to observe and understand his habit.

    In a way, this acts as a subtle nod to viewers who have already seen “One Piece.” However, the motion still leaves enough information for a newcomer to understand it.

    Although the more experienced viewer will understand the reason behind the habit, a newcomer might not ever realize it. 

    However, even though some exposition is left out, more story lines are also added. Certain characters, like Coby (Morgan Davies), gain a lot more time on screen, which give them more weight in the series.

    Overall, the “One Piece” live-action series does an incredible job at capturing the characters from the manga and bringing them to life. From beautifully built scenes to amazing performances by actors, the show uses every minute masterfully.


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    About the Contributors
    Hi, I’m Piotr! I am a sophomore majoring in journalism. I have been at The DI since fall 2022, starting off as a staff writer in news. In my spare time, which I am sometimes lucky enough to have, I enjoy rollerblading, crocheting, hanging out with my older sister and annoying my little brother.
    Amy Sanchez, Graphics Editor
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