Netflix is Hoping ‘One Piece’ Will be Their Next Big Franchise

Netflix is hoping that the next big genre franchise, following in the footsteps of Game of Thrones, The Witcher and The Mandalorian will be One Piece. Written and drawn by Eiichiro Oda, One Piece is the most successful comic book in the history of the world.

One Piece follows Captain Monkey D. Luffy’s quest to become king of the pirates by finding the legendary treasure One Piece. After eating the Gum-Gum Fruit, Luffy became a rubber man who could stretch his body in impossible ways at the expense of not being able to swim. He’s joined on his travels by the Straw Hat Pirates, names after Luffy’s signature straw hat given to him when he was a child by his mentor Shanks: first mate Roronoa Zoro, navigator Nami, the phantom thief, Usopp the sniper, Chef Blackleg Sanji and the ship’s doctor, Tony Tony Chopper, a reindeer who ate the Human-Human Fruit and became a reindeer man.

There was actually a series of ads in Japan for Indeed that showed a live-action version of the Straw Hats that included an actual reindeer as Tony Tony Chopper.

That actually looks pretty badass, but I doubt that they’ll use those actors. Deadline is reporting this is actually an American production written by Steven Maeda and Matt Owens, though Japanese publisher Shueisha and creator Oda will be involved in the production.

One question is what exactly the show will be adapting; One Piece is entering its 23rd year of publication and the comic is closing in on 1000 individual chapters. Kids in Japan are reading One Piece who hadn’t even been born when it started, and the show could spend its entire 10-episode first season adapting early stories without even introducing most of the main cast as One Piece has generally added a new character to the crew with every major story arc.

My best guess is that the first season will primarily adapt the popular ’Arlong Park’ story where Luffy and his crew fight the Fishman warlord Arlong who has tormented Nami since she was a young child. This was really the storyline that took One Piece from being a popular comic to being the biggest thing going for the next 20 years, it’s hard to imagine that it isn’t what they use to draw viewers into the show.

Considering One Piece is insane popular as both a comic and an anime both in Japan and around the world, Netflix could have a bona fide cultural phenomenon if they handle this project right. The appeal of an easygoing but fiercely loyal and determined hero having adventures on the open seas is universal, and it’s not hard to imagine One Piece achieving the same sort of cultural currency Game of Thrones had. Just hopefully with a better ending.

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