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This week, One Piece has the difficult mission of pleasing long-time fans and introducing itself to a new portion of the public. The latter might be easier, since the anime and manga series have been around for over two decades and fans already have a pretty solid idea of what they feel like One Piece is. For series production designer Richard Bridgland, this meant having to bring to life a ton of familiar elements, but also knowing that not everything would work on live-action format.
In an interview with Collider’s Mike Thomas, Bridgland didn’t pretend it was easy to get his job done. In fact, he specifically calls it “a huge challenge.” He explained that he drew inspiration from real-life references like “18th century piracy” but also had fun with One Piece elements like the snail phones, “which are so fantastic.” All of that was woven together in order to create something that felt both authentic and familiar to fans:
“There was a great responsibility going into it to both honor [Eiichiro] Oda’s work in the manga and also to honor the imagination of all the fans because every fan will have their own imagined version of that world. We couldn’t possibly create something that everybody would be happy with every single detail, but we strove very hard to make sure that we honored the spirit of the manga, so I hope that’s what we did.”
No Changes Were Made to One Piece Without Eiichiro Oda’s Approval
The good news for fans is that, even though the Netflix live-action series will take some liberties across all of its elements, all decisions were run through franchise creator Eiichiro Oda, so we know that if the mangaka was pleased with what he saw, so should fans. Like Bridgland underscored, it’s impossible to please everyone, but with the numerous references and Oda’s participation, it really sounds like the team did their very best to achieve the most positive outcome possible.
One Piece stars Iñaki Godoy (The Imperfects) as Monkey D. Luffy, the ultimate optimistic that sets sail in order to find the world’s most famous treasure and become King of the Pirates. He is accompanied by Zoro (Mackenyu), Nami (Emily Rudd), Usopp (Jacob Romero) and Sanji (Taz Skylar). The anime series has a worldwide legacy and so far has done over 1,050 episodes and inspired a whopping 15 movies – the latest one called One Piece Film: Red, released last year.
Netflix premieres One Piece this Thursday, August 31. You can watch the latest trailer below: