Almost five years to the date after its public reveal, Netflix has finally given fans their first look at Netflix’s live-action One Piece series – and it’s left them divided, to say the least.
Released on June 17th during a Netflix Tudum fan event in Brazil, the brief teaser opens with a shot of Iñaki Godoy’s Luffy sitting atop the mast of the Straw Hats’ first ship, the Going Merry.
“Ever since I was a kid, the sea has been calling,” he recalls as the camera begins to present sweeping views of various locales, including the Baratie Restaurant and a Marine Base. “So, I’m setting out to follow my dreams. I’m gonna be King of the Pirates.”
“All I need is a loyal crew,” Luffy then exclaims, the teaser revealing him to be recapping all of this to his soon-to-be-first-mate Roronoa Zoro (Mackenyu), the latter crucified for crossing the pirate Captain Morgan. “And I think, together we’d make a good team.”
As Zoro raises his head in disbelief at Luffy’s proposal, the trailer cuts to find the first of the five united Straw Hats discussing Luffy’s aspirations.
“We’re heading up to the Grand Line,” he asserts over a shot of Zoro engaging in a sword fight with an as-of-yet-unidentified enemy (possibly Baroque Works’ former Mr. 7, whose attempt to forcefully bring Zoro into the group’s ranks will reportedly be expanded upon by Netflix).
“A treacherous stretch of ocean with bigger islands and bigger pirates,” explains Nami (Emily Rudd), her statement capped off with the admittedly impressive reveal of the series’ incarnation of Captain Buggy (Jeff Ward).
Unfortunately, for all the good will the series’ set design, costuming, and apparent fight choreography had bought over the previous fifty-seconds, the trailer then trips over itself with the reveal that the series will, unfortunately, suffer from at least a spot of ‘Marvel humor’.
In a scene aboard the Going Merry, Nami finds herself surprised by Zoro’s rough handling of a treasure chest, meeting his careless slamming of it onto the ship’s deck with the warning, “Careful with that!”
Annoyed by her nagging, Zoro fires back, “I don’t work for you”, prompting Luffy to attempt to diffuse the situation by loudly announcing, “I’m sensing a little bit of tension amongst the crew.”
Their frustrations now directed at their captain, Zoro and Nami both angrily clarify to Luffy, “Not a crew.”
From there, the teaser builds to its climax with a montage of action shots, including Sanji’s underwater rescue of Luffy during their fight with the Arlong Pirates, Luffy, Zoro, and Nami’s escape from a group of Marines, and Sanji’s forceful attempt to prevent fighting from breaking out inside of the aforementioned Baratie.
As Luffy declares, “We haven’t sailed together for very long, but I know we’ve got each other’s backs,” the teaser comes to a head by using a scene from his first meeting with Alvida (Ilia Isorelýs Paulino) to unveil just how the series will handle its protagonist’s Gum-Gum powers.
Stumbling one more time before the finish line, the trailer closes out with Luffy explaining to Zoro, “All great fighters call out their finishing moves,” to which the swordsman chastises, “No, they don’t.”
Unsurprisingly, between the series’ obvious dedication to its source material (a fact no doubt helped by the personal involvement of Oda himself) and its uncomfortable brushes with Western writing, fan response to the teaser was wildly mixed.
While some found themselves impressed just by the sheer fact that it did not look as painfully awful as Netflix’s live-action Cowboy Bebop series, others felt that One Piece had revealed itself to be a Grade-A, Dragon Ball Evolution-tier disaster.
“every movie now looks like those 2010s fake edit trailers people made on YouTube,” wrote Twitter user @DoomerCoomer.
“Visually it doesn’t look that bad at all I’m super surprised!!” opined @SlimeFancypants. “Tone feels extremely off, like just wrong lol but we’ll see I guess”.
“Im on the fence about it,” admitted @King2Wesley. “but at least [the] swordplay looks promising”.
“I’m cautiously optimistic but I dunno just gonna wait till release,” said @DeputyRustArt. “Visually it’s a huge step above nu-bebop and deathflix but i dunno dialogue concerns me the most”.
“Godoy really is perfectly cast as Luffy,” said @plentyofalcoves. “He’s great! I love his delivery of “gum gum” and his whole vibe. Too bad if the dialogue they give him is cringe (the “sensing tension” line is so painful)”.
“I like the aesthetics and production, considering how borderline impossible it is to adapt OP into live action it couldn’t look any better in live action,” likewise stated @krello_png.
“The crew look ripped straight outta East Blue pfft,” they added. “Those MCU jokes are some ass though oh my LORD.”
Giving the teaser at least some credit, @WarOnFanservice noted, “Looks still cringe like all adaptions but at least they try to look somewhat like the characters unlike Disney.”
“Lets hope for bikini scenes to stay true to the original,” they then asked. “I mean you have to right Netflix?”
“Some things don’t translate well to live action,” echoed @blkgriot. “Hollywood learned nothing from [M. Night Shyamalan’s] Avatar movie.”
“They changed Luffy’s character from an idiot into an idealist and a smartass,” criticized @CEOofGyaru. “They even took a jab on anime as a whole with calling out finishing moves. It’s clear that it was made like any other live action. Filled with contempt to the original and it’s fans”.
“Not everything needs to be live action oh my god,” lamented @Zexioff. “This just does not work, the campyness of the character designs is just not translating well.”
“Can this finally stop,” he then begged. “Animation is a great medium on its own and is able to tell the story perfectly fine. This adds nothing.”
Netflix’s live-action One Piece is currently scheduled to hit the high seas on August 31st.