Everything to Know About Netflix’s ‘One Piece’ Live Adaptation: How Involved Was Eiichiro Oda?

A full guide and origin breakdown of one of the bestselling manga series of all time

Netflix's "One Piece" (Photo credit: Netflix)
Netflix's "One Piece" (Photo credit: Netflix)

Netflix’s live adaptation of “One Piece” took seven years to making, and it might be the streamer’s best attempt at a live remake for a manga-to-anime series.

The adaptation received a lot of guidance from manga creator Eiichiro Oda. Oda’s involvement consisted of on-site consultations with the production team, coupled with fan-centered updates directly from Oda. “One Piece’s” meticulous development process, standout casting and intimate and interactive marketing could be setting Netflix up for a big win, especially since the platform has been adamant about making sure it gets at one piece of the booming anime industry.

The series sets sail on Aug. 31, but before then, here’s everything you need to know about “One Piece,” its manga, its anime and its live adaptation.

What is “One Piece”?

Viz Media / "One Piece" © 1997 by Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha Inc.
The front page of the first issue of “One Piece” in the Viz Media collection. (Photo credit: Viz Media / “One Piece” © 1997 by Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha Inc.)

“One Piece” is a manga series created by Japanese manga artist Eiichiro Oda in July 1997. It made its debut in the manga anthology magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump. With over 516.6 million copies sold, the written series is regarded as the best-selling manga of all time. The overwhelming success of “One Piece” also made Oda — who wrote and illustrated the entire series — the 10th bestselling fiction writer of all time.

“One Piece” was adapted in an anime series, and it debuted Oct. 20, 1999 and has over 1,000 episodes. Netflix’s live remake of the story hits the streamer on Aug. 31.

What is Netflix’s “One Piece” about?

Netflix's "One Piece" (Photo credit: Netflix)
Netflix’s “One Piece” (Photo credit: Netflix)

Netflix’s “One Piece” will share the same story as its manga and anime versions.

Inspired by his childhood hero, Red-Haired Shanks — one of the greatest pirates of all-time — Monkey D. Luffy sets sail on a journey with Straw Hat shipmates to find the mythical treasure called the One Piece. Luffy, who is made completely of rubber, wants to have the One Piece to himself so he can be known as the King of Pirates.

Here is Netflix’s logline for the series:

Based on Japan’s highest-selling manga series in history by Eiichiro Oda, “One Piece,” is a legendary high-seas adventure unlike any other. Monkey D. Luffy is a young adventurer who has longed for a life of freedom since he can remember. Luffy sets off from his small village on a perilous journey to find the legendary fabled treasure, One Piece,” to become King of the Pirates! But in order to find the ultimate prize, Luffy will need to assemble the crew he’s always wanted before finding a ship to sail, searching every inch of the vast blue seas, outpacing the Marines, and outwitting dangerous rivals at every turn.

When does Netflix’s “One Piece” come out?

Netflix’s live adaptation of “One Piece” comes out Thursday, Aug. 31.

Are there are any major differences between the manga, anime and Netflix’s live adaptation of “One Piece”

"One Piece" (Photo credit: Eiichiro Oda, Viz Media)
“One Piece” (Photo credit: Eiichiro Oda, Viz Media)

There aren’t any strong differences between the “One Piece” manga, anime and Netflix’s live adaptation. However, there are some subtle changes, like some small changes to Luffy and his crew’s wardrobe, and the crew appears to be older than its manga and anime counterparts.

In an interview with Collider, the cinematographer for Netflix’s “One Piece,” Nicole Whitaker, said the series references the manga and the anime, but wasn’t a “complete redo.”

“Marc [Jobst] (director) and I, both loving the manga and the anime separately, we decided to take cues from both them — mostly from the manga, for sure — and just to be respectful of what we knew [Eiichiro] Oda would want to do in terms of the different canons for the different characters,” Whitaker said. “We didn’t want to make it a complete redo adaptation of anything. We wanted to put something new into it because one of the things to me, when people remake things, is if you don’t add a piece of your own stamp to it then you’re just showing the same thing that people have seen over and over again. What’s the point right?”

Who is in the cast for Netflix’s “One Piece”?

Netflix's "One Piece" (Photo credit: Netflix)
Netflix’s “One Piece” (Photo credit: Netflix)

The cast of Netflix’s “One Piece” includes Iñaki Godoy, who plays Monkey D. Luffy; Emily Rudd, who plays Nami; Mackenyu, who plays Roronoa Zoro; Jacob Romero Gibson, who plays Usopp and Taz Skylar, who plays Sanji.

How involved was Eiichiro Oda with Netflix’s “One Piece,” and did he leave any messages for fans?

Iñaki Godoy meets "One Piece" creator Eiichiro Oda (Netflix)
Iñaki Godoy meets “One Piece” creator Eiichiro Oda (Netflix)

Eiichiro Oda was heavily involved in the making and production of Netflix’s live adaptation of “One Piece,” and he’s made sure to keep fans updated as well.

Seven years after Netflix first announced it would be making the live remake, Oda’s posted his first open letter to Netflix’s social media accounts addressing the project’s delay and promising fans that it was in its final stages of post-production.

“Considering my expected life span, I believe this is the last chance to bring ‘One Piece’ to the entire world. If we’re going to do it, I want to be able to supervise things while I’m still active. That’s why I agree to the live action adaptation of ‘One Piece’ back in 2016,” Oda wrote. “Since then, Netflix has committed enormous resources to the production. It was announced that the show will launch in 2023, but they’ve promised that we won’t launch it until I’m satisfied.”

Oda has shared a total of five letters to fans, and in his most-recent message he geared fans up for the series and told them to watch the show on a large-screen TV.

“Believe it or not, that world actually exists….it’s ready!!” Oda wrote. “The live action ‘One Piece’!! Since it’s Netflix, you can watch it in your household or on your smartphone. But it might a well be a movie, so you should watch it on as big a screen as you possible, with the volume cranked up, and enjoy it as many times as you’d like!! See, you can start to hear it… the fearsome roar of the piraters!! Do you have your swords? Food all ready? Whatever you do, spare your lives! Off you go!! On to the great pirate era!!!!”

Eiichiro Oda's fifth (No. 5) letter to "One Piece" fans.
Eiichiro Oda’s fifth (No. 5) letter to “One Piece” fans.

Oda’s participation in the series’ process was intimate, as the creator wanted to make sure the remake lived up to what fans knew of the story’s rich 23-year-long history. In an interview with Collider, series director Emma Sullivan cosigned Oda’s remarks about the show only moving forward if Oda was “happy” with it.

“It’s big because you really want to make fans happy because it means so much to them. They’re so invested in these characters. Particularly with ‘One Piece,’ you know, 23 years this has accompanied them through their lives, so its really important that you give it the due respect. Obviously, the lucky thing for us is that we had [Eiichiro] Oda on site. We always have him to check with, and if he’s not happy, we’ll do it again.”

Watch the trailer for Netflix’s “One Piece” below.