One Piece: The reason manga creator was weary about Netflix show’s release

The creator of the source material that inspired Netflix’s latest hit predicted fan outcry ahead of its release.

On Thursday (31 August), the streaming service unveiled the live-action version of the long-running Japanese manga series One Piece, which is rising up the most-watched charts around the world.

The show was developed by Matt Owens and Steven Maeda, at a rather large cost to Netflix. Ahead of its release, Eiichiro Oda, who created the original manga, predicted certain dedicated fans would not be happy with the end result.

In an open letter, Oda assured fans that there were “no compromises” when it came to making the series.

In July 2023, one month before the live-action show’s release, he wrote: “It’s absurd that the idea of adapting One Piece to a live action was conceived seven years ago! How was it possible to transpose such a world into reality?

“It took a lot of work… the efforts of the actors, the reconstruction of buildings and costumes, realising the situations so that they could only work in live action, the dialogues… and the commitment of so many people who worked together was already in itself something beautiful. “

He acknowleged that, once the show arrived, he is “sure that some will point the finger at that character that is missing, or that scene that was omitted, or the differences from the manga”, adding: “But I’m sure these criticisms will come from those who have love for One Piece.”

Oda admitted that “there were some lines” that he thought didn't seem like things the manga’s main character, Luffy, would have said – but when he "saw the filmed scenes", he believed they worked due to the performance of lead star Iñaki Godoy.

Eiichiro Oda’s open letter to ‘One Piece’ fans (Twitter)
Eiichiro Oda’s open letter to ‘One Piece’ fans (Twitter)

He also said production agreed to re-shoot “numerous scenes” because he “felt they weren't good enough to put out into the world”.

Since its release in 1997, One Piece has become the best-selling manga series in history. As of August 2022, it had sold over 516.6 million copies in 61 countries and regions worldwide.

Netflix’s live-action series stars Godoy as Monkey D Luffy, a character who goes on an expedition to locate lost treasure alongside a pirate crew that includes Roronoa Zoro (played by Mackenyu), Nami (played by Emilky Rudd), Usopp (played by Jacob Romero) and Sanji (played by Taz Skylar).

One Piece is available to stream on Netflix now.

Find the full list of every new Netflix release in September here, and a compilation of every movie and TV series being removed from the service in the coming weeks here.