There’s no shortage of visually astonishing scenes in Netflix’s live-action adaptation of “One Piece.” If Zoro (Mackenyu) isn’t cutting someone down with a katana between his teeth, then Luffy (Iñaki Godoy) is tearing down a building, one rubbery punch at a time. But there’s one scene that was an especially big challenge for this ambitious show: the battle with Buggy the Star Clown.
“That actually was our scariest. That is the one that we spoke about the most,” Becky Clements, the partner and president of Tomorrow Studios, told TheWrap.
Luffy’s quest to become King of the Pirates takes him to Buggy’s (Jeff Ward) circus tent, complete with a captive audience. Buggy emerges as Luffy, Zoro and Nami’s (Emily Rudd) first big foe. After escaping the showman’s traps, Luffy uses his superpowered strength to punch Buggy’s head off his body. That’s when he learns the truth about his rival. Just as a Devil Fruit turned Luffy’s body into rubber, another fruit gave Buggy the ability to tear apart his body and reassemble it at will. Throughout “The Man in the Straw Hat,” the trio are forced to fight an antagonist that can attack them from every angle imaginable.
The wild fight was “probably” the last major scene production tackled. It required a great deal of work from visual effects producer Scott Ramsey as well as “a number” of conversations about sound effects.
The Episode 3 fight stands out as one of the most memorable in a series full of big action pieces. It was also a fight scene that faced the same hurdle as nearly every scene in “One Piece”: how can you make something as ridiculous as a rubber boy punching a decapitated clown feel whimsical yet emotionally grounded?
“We built the tent and Jeff Ward, who plays Buggy, was just absolutely committed to the character,” Clements said. “It needed to feel threatening and dangerous. You’re like, ‘How is that going to be possible?’ but it did. I think they did a really good job.”
“One Piece” is now streaming on Netflix.