Everything You Need to Know Before ‘One Piece’ (2023) Set Sails

Note: This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the series being covered here wouldn’t exist.

Gather round crew. We have a very important adventure into uncharted territories that we need to discuss. At the end of the month, Netflix will be unleashing a live-action One Piece adaptation into the world which objectively is a wild sentence to be typing even by the wild standards of the current timeline. But it is in fact happening, so at the very least I can do is offer a guide in preparation.

One Piece

In the grand time scale of One Piece’s literally historic run, I am a relative newcomer to the fandom. I watched the original 4Kids dub when it aired on Fox and then let the memory fade until around 2020, whereupon at a friend’s insistence I started watching the series proper. And over the course of three or so years, I have become, as the kids say, “current” in the content and have become ingrained in the fandom of one of the most meticulously planned and executed manga I think might have ever existed. Eiichiro Oda has managed to capture and captivate the minds of the steadily growing masses, and Oda’s direct involvement with the show is perhaps the biggest sign that this series will not follow the example of several other live-action anime adaptations that we won’t be reliving.

But as such, we’re gonna do this two times. Once for those who haven’t set sail before, and one for those who have been following the journey, whether on via anime or manga.

What’s What in the World of One Piece?

Hello dear reader. I’m going to briefly entertain the notion that while you’re on a site called Black Nerd Problems that you may somehow have managed to avoid knowing about one of the nerdier franchises in history, so here’s the quickest of refreshers on the pedigree.

One Piece is one of the longest running comics, with its first serialization dating back all the way to 1997. Now, we’re looking at 1000+ chapters and counting, 1000+ episodes, 15 animated films, and a slew of video games. One Piece holds two Guinness World Records (Most Copies Published for the Same Comic Book Series by a Single Author & Most Copies Published for the Same Manga Series). You’d recognize the title card from a mile away. You may not know the entirety of the Straw Hat Crew, but I’m fairly certain that if someone said “Monkey D. Luffy” you’d be able to manifest a response of “Oh, he’s the one that’s gonna be King of the Pirates” on reflex.

One Piece

And if you’re intimidated by the sheer preponderance of media cultivated over twenty-six years, I don’t blame you. But I do implore you to start somewhere and Netflix’s live-action adaptation may be a good place to start in a way that’s slightly more manageable. Although, part of the beauty of One Piece is that given the intricate level of detail, there’s always something to appreciate when revisiting the pages and panels.

The series doesn’t assume prior knowledge of the behemoth of content, so you don’t need to be too worried about getting lost. The show will explain the historic context of the Great Pirate Era, the conflict between Marines and aforementioned Pirates, the odd geography between the Red Line and the Grand Line, and four major bodies of water. It’ll explain the currency of berries, the supernatural power granting Devil Fruits, and other piracy related shenanigans. And it will do it all with a sense of whimsy.

One Piece

You will be able to watch the eight episodes and step foot into the wild world of piracy. While you are sure to have several questions, some will be answered within the series, and some will be answered in the future (whether it’s future seasons or if you correctly make the decision to read the manga or watch the anime). The high seas Shonen inspired adventure will have something for you to latch onto.

To My Siblings of the Straw Hat Grand Crew

The following sentiments are not a review. I’ll do a deep dive of the series at some point, but for now, I want to say that it is clear that there is a lot of love for the source material in front of and behind the camera.

I think this was evident when the casting was announced, and the cast aligned with the canonical nationalities of the Straw Hats that Oda had provided in the past. I think it is evident in how directly involved Oda has been with making sure that the different elements of the adaptation live up to his expectations. The Japanese dubbing of the series is utilizing the original anime voice actors, and Inkal Godoy is so very clearly living his best life. He fully understands that he has the gargantuan task of portraying one of the most iconic protagonists, and he has absolutely reveled at the chance. The outfits are styled to match to a near T.

One Piece

It is not a completely straight adaptation of the source, but it does maintain the signature cadence. It attempts to celebrate a story in a new way and a new light. Hell, maybe it’s better to call this a companion to the source. A remix and remaster of the arcs we are familiar with. You’ll ultimately have to be the judge of whether or not how the translation works, but if there’s anything I know about One Piece fans is that we’re always looking for more One Piece content and at the end of the day, this is more content.

The eight-episode run will take you on a familiar journey. This might be a way to share your love of the franchise with friends and family who aren’t as anime/manga inclined and may be a way to sneakily get them invested. We’ll talk more closer to release, but for now, know that Eiichiro Oda asked for re-shoots when the moments weren’t quite as momentous and was ready to rewrite dialog until he saw Inaki perform the lines.

We’ve been burned by bad live-action anime adaptations before (and in recent memory no less), but Oda’s seal of approval is much more meaningful than mine ever will be.


Mark the date on the calendar with an X, or a straw hat. The live-action adaptation of One Piece comes out at the end of the month, and we’ll reconvene soon enough.

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  • Mikkel Snyder is a technical writer by day and pop culture curator and critic all other times.

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