The curse of live-action adaptations has become infamous to so many fanbases. The Lion King, Death Note, Avatar the Last Airbender, and more exemplify live-action adaptations that many felt could not hold a candle to their original works. There is a huge stigma attached to live action adaptations, and many do not hold high expectations for any upcoming ones.

Recently, Netflix released a live-action adaptation of the popular anime One Piece, known for having a well-written and interesting cast, a unique setting and power system, and a “casual”1085 episodes, with more to come as the anime is still ongoing. With this massive popularity, the adaptation has garnered varied opinions from One Piece fans all worldwide, including some students at CA .

It seems that overall, fans believe that the characters were well cast, and that the actors captured the original characters quite accurately. Kai Feingold ’24, a particularly avid One Piece connoisseur, pointed out that Zoro was “the most well done character in the series'', with actor Mackenyu Maeda being “not too corny”. She also held the opinion that the opening scene evoked a similar feeling of exhilaration as the anime’s originally did, which is a huge step in the right direction for this adaptation.

However, Kai did take issue with how some characters are portrayed. First, she mentioned how certain characters who are “supposed to be goofy [are] way too serious and the people who are supposed to be serious come off as way too goofy.” For example, Buggy the clown, a rather silly rival to Monkey D. Luffy, the series’ protagonist, was stated by Kai that “bro is not supposed to be Joker 2.0.” Kai also voiced their distaste for Usopp’s portrayal in the live action, going as far as to say that episode three was “the worst episode of media I’ve ever watched,” because Usopp wasn’t scared enough and that he did not act like Usopp in the anime.

As someone who cares deeply about One Piece, Kai viewed the adaptation from a more contextual perspective, and she connected what she observed with her previous impressions of her favorite show. Even if the casting, pacing, and set design was well-done, the show could leave a sour impression on those who care so deeply about the source material that they can pick apart every little detail. Kai hasn’t finished the entire show yet, but from the first three episodes, they have concluded that it is a 2.5/10.

I watched this show over Thanksgiving break. As someone who has no prior exposure to One Piece, I enjoyed it quite a lot. I found some of the CGI to be dated and silly-looking, but I thought it was entertaining overall. I agree that the cast was very well done, and I really enjoyed the choreography of the fight scenes and how well the actors played off each other. I particularly liked the portrayal of Sanji; he looks very similar to the character’s anime appearance and his non-physical qualities are also quite similar. His kicking was phenomenally choreographed, and his fondness towards women was fun to see. I thought the writers structured some dialogue strangely, just like Kai mentioned, but the more nuanced grievances that Kai expressed did not bother me.

This adaptation has inspired me to start reading the manga for One Piece. If a show has been able to attract new fans to a fictional universe, I believe that is a success. Even though there is much wrong with the live action adaptation, I believe that One Piece might have broken the curse.