Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Netflix’s ‘One Piece’ Season 1.
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Netflix has jumped head-first into what could be their longest-running series yet, with the live-action One Piece show being an adaptation of an anime that has over a thousand episodes and counting. Due to that, you better believe that the critically acclaimed Season 1 of Netflix’s One Piece is packed to the brim with Easter eggs and references to the beloved anime and manga series it’s based on. So much to the point where it would take far too long to list them all here, so we’ll go ahead and cover the biggest Easter eggs we noticed in Netflix’s One Piece Season 1.
Ian McShane’s Narration Cameo
One of the most refreshing aspects of Netflix’s One Piece is its reliance on lesser-known actors to bring these iconic characters to life, potentially making new stars for a hopefully prosperous series. However, one big name lends his iconic voice to the prologue. That actor is John Wick franchise star Ian McShane, who tells the story of how Gold D. Roger (Michael Dorman) began the Great Pirate Era. McShane being a narrator for a pirate series is fitting since he played Blackbeard in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Coincidentally, there is a character named Blackbeard who appears later in the anime’s timeline. Hmm…
Gold D. Roger’s Execution Attendees
Gold D. Roger’s execution in One Piece‘s premiere episode is a good tone setter, visually being nearly identical to the source material. This historic event is attended by some familiar faces, all of whom will appear later in the series. The first and most apparent is Vice Admiral Garp (Vincent Regan), Luffy’s Marine grandfather. Then we see a young version of legendary swordsman Mihawk (Theo Le Ray) as well as a pirate with a heart of gold Shanks (Peter Gadiot). Also present is a child version of Smoker (Matthew Leck), who will one day grow up to become a ruthless Marine captain.
Mr. 7 and Baroque Works
Roronoa Zoro’s (Mackenyu) live-action introduction is cut short by an individual named Mr. 7 (Ben Kgosimore), who claims to work for a shadowy organization called Baroque Works. It’s a sequence not seen in the original anime, but it does potentially set up the main antagonists of a Season 2. In the Arabasta Saga, which follows the East Blue Saga that Season 1 is adapting, Baroque Works and their leader, Mr. 0, are a ruthless crime syndicate consisting of some of the world’s deadliest assassins.
The spoiled brat turned noble Marine Helmeppo (Aidan Scott) gets a bit of a makeover in his live-action debut, but that changes when he crosses swords with Zoro. The swordsman gets revenge by giving Helmeppo a garish bowl cut, which is a nod to Helmeppo’s hairstyle in the anime and manga.
Mohji the Beast Tamer
When Luffy (Iñaki Godoy) and his companions are captured by Buggy the Clown (Jeff Ward), we see that Buggy’s first mate, Mohji the Beast Tamer, does make a brief non-speaking role. Buggy even asks Mohji where his white lion is, a nod to the massive beast that Mohji typically rides in the anime that did not make it into the live-action iteration.
Buggy’s History with Shanks
As Buggy is (trying) to torture Luffy, the clown pirate captain notices Luffy’s straw hat. Buggy correctly assumes that the hat’s original owner was Red Hair Shanks, whom Buggy once called a close personal friend. As the anime briefly shows, Buggy and Shanks used to be young upstart crewmates before their wants and desires sent them on vastly different paths.
Luffy, Zoro, and Nami (Emily Rudd) succeed in defeating Buggy by locking his various body parts in crates around them. This leaves the once formidable pirate as nothing but a head, hands, and feet. The appearance is a clear nod to how Buggy looked after being defeated by the Straw Hats, though he gets his body back much quicker here than in the anime.
Chouchou the Guard Dog
In a saga that has as many episodes as the One Piece anime does, some stories are just bound to be trimmed down or cut for an adaptation. One of them was the side-plot of Chouchou, whose tragic story sees the young but dedicated puppy defend his owner’s store, despite the owner being killed in Buggy’s siege on Orange Town. Chouchou may not get a starring role in Netflix’s One Piece, but he does appear to join the rest of Orange Town in seeing the Straw Hats off.
The Straw Hats’ WIP Jolly Rogers
Before the Straw Hats even get a ship, Luffy is already working on the Jolly Roger flag they will fly. Luffy may be enthusiastic, but his artistic ability is admittedly a bit lacking (just like in the anime). Once the crew recruits Usopp (Jacob Romero), he turns out to be more of an artist, but he winds up making a Jolly Roger that looks more like himself rather than his new captain.
Don Krieg and His Crew
In the anime, the main antagonist of the Baratie Arc is Don Krieg – a pirate leader who once had a massive fleet that he was amassing to take on the East Blue. His role is minimized a bit in the live-action series, instead giving pirate warlord Mihawk (Steven John Ward) some more attention. Not only does Krieg (Milton Schorr) appear, but we also see other crewmates of Krieg’s with Gin (Litha Bam) later in the episode and the presumably deceased body of Pearl on the ground next to Krieg.
Sanji’s Romantic Tendencies
Skilled chef Sanji is as cool as a cucumber in the manga and anime. That is until you put a woman in front of him when he becomes blinded by love at first sight. The live-action Sanji (Taz Skylar) definitely has that cool factor, but he’s not quite as brainless when he enters lovestruck mode. Instead, he’s much more suave and flirtatious, honestly making him a more likable character.
Another storyline that is omitted from the live-action series is the Island of Rare Animals. In the manga and anime, Luffy and the gang encounter a former pirate named Gaimon, who has given up his life of piracy to protect the unusual hybrid animals from those who wish them harm (so he’s basically Steve Buscemi‘s character from Spy Kids 2). Though Gaimon doesn’t appear, the animals can be seen in paintings in the Baratie restaurant.
End Credits Maps
Speaking of the Island of Rare Animals, the island does appear on the map in the end credits of One Piece‘s various episodes. You can also spot some of the sea monsters seen throughout the show, such as the cow-like serpent known as Momoo.
Before Season 1 of One Piece concludes, we get a brief glimpse at a future antagonist for the Straw Hat crew. That individual is the Marine Captain Smoker, who first appeared in the Lougetown Arc. Prior to the crew’s official entry into the Grand Line, they’ll first have to enter the deadly fog that is Smoker.
Netflix’s One Piece is streaming now.