As a relatively new fan of One Piece, currently on episode 547 of the anime, I have a pretty fresh memory of the start of my One Piece journey. So, it was with a mix of excitement and trepidation that I sat down to watch the first episode of the Live Action One Piece series. Beware, some "spoilers" may lie ahead, you've been warned.
The series kicks off with the execution of Gold Roger, a slight name change from Gold D. Roger in the anime. This moment, consistent with the anime, motivates and starts a new generation of pirates that set off to find Gold Roger's treasure, the "One Piece" (Get it? You get it, right?).
From there, we jump to Luffy's (played by Iñaki Godoy) encounter with Koby and Captain Alvida. This is when I realized the story's pace was significantly accelerated; an encounter that spans multiple episodes in the anime is concluded in less than 10 minutes. This segment includes some of Luffy / Shanks' backstory and the legend of the Straw hat. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised by Iñaki Godoy's performance and now understand why Oda believes he is the perfect Luffy because he definitely shines brightly throughout this first episode.
As we speed race through what is almost 100 episodes in the anime, we are next introduced to both Zoro (played by Mackenyu) and Nami (played by Emily Rudd), all within minutes of each other. Zoro's fight scenes are definitely a shining point in the series so far. During the mission to steal the Grand Line map, we see the iconic moment when Luffy frees Zoro from his 7-day hanging in the yard in front of the Marine base, almost a bar-for-bar recreation from the Anime.
I must admit, I did not have high hopes for this Live Action Adaptation going into this episode. Based on trailers and footage released beforehand, it looked like the CGI was rough, and some moments with Luffy were going to be hard to watch, as we have never really done a rubber person well in film throughout history.
However, as I started watching, all of those worries went out the window as Iñaki Godoy is so charming and funny as Luffy. The casting is a lot better than I thought it was based on everything released prior to the actual series coming out. It does feel like they are going "yada yada" a lot of the story and assume you already know what happened. Which was actually appreciated by myself, but I'm not sure if newcomers to the series and One Piece world will feel the same.
All in all, my rating for the First Episode of the Live Action "One Piece" gets an 8.3 / 10. Despite my initial reservations, the episode managed to capture the essence of One Piece while making necessary adjustments for the live-action format. The performances, particularly by Iñaki Godoy as Luffy, were standout, and the fight scenes did not disappoint. While the accelerated pace may be jarring for some, it was appreciated by this viewer and did not detract from the overall enjoyment of the episode. Here's to hoping the rest of the series maintains this momentum!