One Piece: Is the Netflix Show Adapted From Anime or Manga?

Image Credit: Casey Crafford/Netflix

Netflix’s fantasy adventure series, ‘One Piece’ follows the story of a young pirate and his crew of misfits who go on an epic adventure to find a lost treasure. The protagonist of the story is Monkey D. Luffy, who dreams of finding the infamous One Piece and becoming the King of the Pirates. On his journey, he crosses paths with a bounty hunter, Roronoa Zoro, and a thief, Nami, who becomes a part of his crew, albeit unwillingly. Created by Steven Maeda and Matt Owens, the show follows Luffy as he expands his crew while facing some dangerous foes. If you want to know more about the origins of the series, here’s what you need to know about it.

One Piece is Based on a Japanese Manga Series

Netflix’s ‘One Piece’ is based on the Japanese manga series by Eiichiro Oda, which first appeared in July 1997 in an anthology magazine called Weekly Shōnen Jump and continues. The manga has been adapted into an anime that premiered in 1999 and is still ongoing, with over 1,000 episodes. The series has also been made into films and video games, making it a very successful venture. When Oda started writing it, he thought about ending it after five years, but as he kept writing, the characters started to grow, and he realized he needed to keep writing until the story found its natural end.

The idea to write ‘One Piece’ germinated in Oda’s mind owing to his love for manga and to create a story he wanted to read when he was young. He aimed to do something different from the stories about heroes and demons, which he said had saturated the market then. “I wanted to do something different but relatable. I understood that I had been supported and helped by a lot of people to get to where I was, so friendship became a central theme,” he said.

He knew he wanted to write the story of a young pirate and created Luff’s character and appearance out of the instinct he had. As the story expanded, he knew he needed to add more pirates and create a distinct backstory and appearance for all of them. He was also focused on giving stronger arcs to female characters because he didn’t want them to exist “just to be rescued.” “I didn’t want to create a story about women being kidnapped and saved. I depict women who know how to fight for themselves and don’t need to be saved. If a moment comes where they’re overpowered, their shipmates will help them out, and vice versa,” he said.

Image Credits: Casey Crafford/Netflix

With the success and popularity of ‘One Piece’ over different mediums, Oda wanted it to be adapted into live-action, but he didn’t think it was possible until he saw ‘Shaolin Soccer’ and realized that technology could help render a faithful adaptation. Over the years, several attempts were made to deliver a live-action version, but none materialized until now. When Netflix got the chance to adapt ‘One Piece,’ they decided not to do anything without Oda’s approval. The streaming service had faced failure with the adaptation of another popular manga series, ‘Cowboy Bebop,’ and they didn’t want to repeat the mistake of disappointing the audience.

The only way to ensure they were on the right path was to have Oda on board about every decision, every step of the way. He “read the scripts, gave notes, and acted as a guard dog to ensure the material was being adapted in the correct way.” He was involved in casting approval and post-production to ensure everything, even the necessary changes made to the story, was done right.

For showrunners Steven Maeda and Matt Owens, the idea was to make something that “when you looked at the show, you thought this was a live-action version of the manga that just felt like another feather in the legacy of Oda.” They wanted to stay faithful to the material as much as possible, but some changes needed to be made because they had to adapt the first 100 chapters of the manga into an eight-episode season. They got Oda’s stamp of approval for everything, ensuring they did right by the fans who have been invested in Luffy’s story for so many years while bringing something exciting to the audience who will experience this story for the first time.

Read More: Where Was Netflix’s One Piece Filmed?