Manga master Eiichirô Oda, the creator of the popular anime series “One Piece,” was absolutely right when he said that Iñaki Godoy was destined to portray the protagonist, Monkey D. Luffy. Taking on a character with unique abilities is not new to Iñaki, as evidenced by his role as a shape-shifting Chupacabra in the Netflix series “The Imperfects.” While Iñaki might not have achieved perfection in that show, his portrayal is infectiously energetic as Luffy, capturing his boyish charms and impish attitude flawlessly.
Plot overview: Gol D. Rogers, the king of the pirates is caught and executed by the marines, but not before he reveals to a packed crowd that his greatest treasure is somewhere at the Grand Line, all in one piece. His declaration sets off a golden era of pirates, with several ships and crews trying to find the coveted treasure. Chief among them is a spirited boy named Monkey D. Luffy, who want to become the next king of pirates and get hold of the legendary “One Piece”. But first, he will need to find a loyal crew and the map to the Grand line!
Titled “Romance Dawn”, episode one introduces most of the primary characters of the show and even includes flashbacks of Luffy’s childhood to explain his pirate dream and how he became a stretchy-bendy being. Emily Rudd is interesting as the thieving Nami, who like Luffy, is looking to steal the map to Grand Line from the marines. Mackenyu is quite badass as the green-haired pirate hunter Roronoa Zoro, although, considering Zoro from the anime, a hunkier/bulkier more imposing actor would’ve been more apt for the part. But anyway, since this is an English series with a mixed cast, viewers will have to put their expectations from the anime aside to best enjoy this show.
The cinematography is definitely lavish and even all the special effects are executed smoothly, including all the scenes featuring Luffy extending his body parts during fight scenes. My biggest gripe with the screenplay is the fact that the creators set too many scenes during the night, giving us a lot of dimly lit scenes that just take away the charm of the fantasy settings. It’s probably just an artistic tactic to save money on the sets and do an easier job with the special effects, because brighter scenes will make it easier to spot flaws. However, the darker scenes also dampen the fun of watching a grand fantasy action series like “One Piece”. Each time a daylight scene would come on the screen, I would enjoy those moments a lot more than the evening/dusk bits.
Episode two titled “The Man in the Straw Hat” explains Luffy’s attachment to his signature hat and also sees the trio (Luffy, Nami and Roronoa Zoro) trapped with a psychotic clownish Pirate, who wants to steal their stolen map to the Grand Line. It’s here where the show truly picks up pace, with an exciting Pirate villain, some poignant flashbacks and the beginning of a lasting friendship between the three leads.
Dimly lit scenes continued to dominate the runtime, and I guess I will just to repeat this fact in each episodic review. Apart from that, “One Piece” is quite an entertaining live-adaptation, even though the jokes could’ve been funnier and a slightly more exaggerated tone could’ve made things more exciting.
Stream the series on Netflix.
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