'One Piece' should be a disaster but... does it work?!

Studios tailor known intellectual properties because they believe they are easier to sell to the public.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
05 September 2023 Tuesday 17:20
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'One Piece' should be a disaster but... does it work?!

Studios tailor known intellectual properties because they believe they are easier to sell to the public. As the projects have a commercial purpose before even having a creative team or a narrative vision, the resulting works have a high probability of lacking soul, of becoming depersonalized exercises where the intentions of the directors are perceived more than of some scriptwriters who they begin their work already handcuffed to some obligations or sometimes simply rushed. This is why the arrival of the live-action adaptation of One Piece can be interpreted as a miracle: it had all the ingredients to be a disaster and, instead, it is a series with a sharp creative personality, risky and that works.

The manga has published 106 volumes. The anime, on the air since 1999, has so far aired 1074 episodes. When talking about One Piece, therefore, one should not speak of a cult but of a fictional universe that is part of the popular cultural imagination.

The new version of the story, a Japanese and American production led by Matt Owens (Luke Cage) and Steven Maeda (Lost), features Iñaki Godoy as Luffy, a young man as adventurous as he is naive who is looking for One Piece, the treasure of the deceased. Pirate king.

It is a world where there is no shortage of pirates and, after finding a very diverse crew, Luffy will try the impossible: find the treasure to be the new king and do it without giving up the kindness that characterizes him.

The unexpected thing is that, in an audiovisual where the tendency is to give an adult patina to everything adaptable, especially when the reference material is as crazy as that of One Piece, this adaptation or remake opts for the opposite: finding a way to transmit the spirit of a manga to the audiovisual language of real action without having to give up anything.

Consequently, the production design, hair, makeup, visual effects and costumes are taken to the extreme, to camp territory, without dying in the attempt. Part of your secret? That Luffy's good intentions as a character are also perceived in a playful, shameless text, which relies on the hearts of the characters to connect with the viewer in the midst of color, the presentation of villains, and picturesque pirate ships.

Iñaki Godoy's interpretation helps to anchor the series, playing this pirate who is a piece of bread and who, for reasons that will be explained soon, has a chewing gum body that allows him to be more fearful as he is not even affected by bullets. His exaggerated smile is accompanied by a sparkle in his eyes, which perfectly represents the essence of One Piece.

It cannot be said that it is a work that depends on the interpretative level (Morgan Davies, for example, hides his lack of presence behind his character's glasses) but it does depend on the desire to play of its participants, both in front of and behind the cameras. . And, despite the fact that the experiment could sink at any moment, Luffy's ship remains afloat in search of One Piece with the philosophy of overwhelming the viewer with the rhythm, the ideas, the looks, the character presentations, the humor and adventure.