HomeDIY Craft‘One Piece’ Review: Netflix Tries to Translate the Anime Magic (Again)

‘One Piece’ Review: Netflix Tries to Translate the Anime Magic (Again)

with “one piece” Netflix repeats history, and there’s not much evidence that it paid attention to what happened the first time around.

“Cowboy Bebop” was a cult-favorite Japanese animated series that drew on great American jazz and film noir and Hollywood westerns, and in 2021 Netflix returned the cultural tribute by making an American one. live-action adaptation, It was not a disaster, but it soon disappeared from sight.

“One Piece” is a remarkably enduring manga and anime franchise — more than 500 million books sold, 1,073 television episodes and counting — that applies a slapstick, Buster Keaton-like visual energy to an adventure story like Hollywood swashbucklers and musicals. Is. Captain Blood” and “The Crimson Pirate.” So once again Netflix has been inspired to make an American live-action remake, eight episodes of which premiered Thursday.

The original “Cowboy Bebop” and “One Piece” are very different creatures, but they have something important in common: They’re inspired by the genre. Texture, composition, sound and motion engage us and trigger our emotions; The moody revenge plot of “Bebop” and the upbeat positive coming-of-age story of “One Piece” are just useful scaffolding.

There’s no reason why a live-action version of any anime can’t find its own distinct style. But none of these shows could manage it; If anything, they seem to have been avoiding the effort. To an even greater extent than Netflix “Cowboy Bebop,” Netflix “One Piece” feels bland and generic. This may satisfy fans of the original who are happy to see the events being repeated more or less faithfully, but much of the anime’s spirit and personality is gone, replaced by busyness, elaborate but tasteless production design and – a sign of the times – have taken. Piety grew in relation to the story’s themes of knowing oneself and believing.

Set in a fictional world made up mostly of the sea and patrolled by a colorfully named pirate crew, some of them made up of the fish-man, “One Piece” Monkey D. Luffy (Inaki Godoy) Centers on a young pirate named. Pursuing his childhood dream of becoming King of the Pirates and perhaps finding a legendary treasure called One Piece, he slowly assembles a crew of young misfits like himself, who have tragic pasts and missions that define them. Do: Become the world’s greatest swordsman, or find a (perhaps mythical) seafood paradise.

In addition to unnaturally high spirits and a refusal to take ‘no’ for an answer, Luffy is defined by the ability to stretch his limbs over long distances (useful when taking punches) and the ability to absorb punishment, which There are consequences for eating the forbidden fruit. His body is like rubber. This comedic inspiration from the character’s creator, Japanese artist Eiichiro Oda, makes Luffy physically and psychologically adaptable—he is elastic and indestructible in every way.

The series does a believable job of recreating Luffy’s rubber-like abilities, and Godoy (a Mexican actor who appeared in the Netflix series “Who Killed Sarah?” and “The Imperfects”) animated the character in look and temperament. It’s a good match. ,

But he has nothing more to play for, and the same applies for the rest of the cast, which includes capable actors like McNue as the swordsman, Roronoa Zorro, and Taz Skyler as the pirate chef, Sanji. The depth of the writing isn’t made or lost amid the anime’s carnival atmosphere of a sensational 20 minutes, but with the story more deliberate, the subtleties of characterization in a more typical Netflix narrative make it very hard to ignore. Reshaped into hour-long episodes.

That reshaping — eight episodes roughly correspond to the first 45 episodes of the anime — was certainly a massive effort, and it would make sense if that didn’t really leave much time or energy for the live actors to reimagine the material. Used and built set. The show’s developers and showrunners, Matt Owens and Steven Maeda, were able to level the story. But they don’t quite capture the clichéd, silly spirit of anime, and without it, simple talk about living your dreams and paving the way for a new generation just keeps gathering dust.

The fate of “One Piece” and “Cowboy Bebop” is, perhaps, the likely outcome of big-box streaming. Taking a show that has a huge fan following and recreating it for the widest possible audience means not tailoring it to any particular audience.


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