“One Piece” has launched on Netflix. The live-action adaptation of the cult manga sticks closely to the original and aims to triumph where “Cowboy Bebop” last failed.
- Is “One Piece” a new treasure in Netflix’s lineup, or will the series capsize as quickly as “Cowboy Bebop”?
- For manga and anime fans, joyful anticipation and bad premonition are close together.
- The makers of the new “One Piece” adaptation know this, too, and have learned from their mistakes.
“We’re really trying!” – that was roughly the message to be conveyed in the marketing of Netflix’s “One Piece” adaptation. With the pirate saga, the streaming service was able to secure a major franchise, but the international fan base naturally also has very high expectations and a potential hit can thus also very quickly become a hated flop.
In this regard, “Cowboy Bebop” hovers over everything as a cautionary tale. Netflix’s last live-action adaptation of a cult anime series appeared in November 2021 and was canceled just a few weeks later. What caused it to fail? Tomorrow Studios, which is responsible not only for “Cowboy Bebop” but also for “One Piece,” asked itself the same question.
Learning from the mistakes
What we learned is that fans expect [the series] to stay true to the original. When we read the comments, it was always, ‘Well, they didn’t portray this character like this and that.’ … That really taught us a lot about what we need to do with this series.Cowboy Bebop
However, in production notes released on “One Piece Day” on Aug. 18, 2023, clarifying the exchange of ideas between “One Piece” creator Eiichiro Oda and Netflix, Netflix clarified, “A 1:1 conversion is impossible. Live-action adaptation is not about reproduction. It’s about the message.”
Ultimately, “One Piece” treads a happy medium, not taking too many liberties without degenerating into an unimaginative copy. Netflix seems to be satisfied with the result in any case and looks optimistically into the future.
The series’ first merchandise will appear as early as September 2023. A surprising decision, in most cases a series is only advertised with fan merchandise when the success and a 2nd season are certain. Netflix currently does not want to go that far, but Tormorrow Studios hopes for an extension. Whether or not this will happen is up to Netflix subscribers.