Am I the only person who’d never heard of One Piece before this year?!
Turns out this rollicking oceanic fantasy is based on one of the longest-running anime series of all time, which in turn originated with the manga comic of the same name. None of which I knew when I decided to try Netflix’s live adaption…
In a way, maybe that was a good thing – I came to the series with no preconceptions, no expectations of character, plot or pacing. All I’d seen was the trailer, which I thought warranted a few minutes of viewing while folding the laundry. A week later, the washing has almost reached the roof, and I’ve seen the entire eight episodes.
There are pirates, princesses and powers; comedy, conflict and colourful characters. We get high jinks for high stakes on the high seas. And buckets of breath-taking battles in search of the ultimate bounty atop the boundless, briny blue!
Based on the Eiichiro Oda manga that debuted in 1997, One Piece takes place in an oceanic world peopled with outlandish creatures. The title references a legendary pirate treasure sought by all – even the marines, who seem to be the baddies of the story. Our main character is Monkey D Luffy, an irrepressibly positive young man with strange, rubber-like powers. And his supporting cast includes a cunning thief, a skilled swordsman and a kung-fu chef!
As the group travel from island to island, we find out more about the world: the mysterious Grand Line, where the One Piece treasure is said to lie; the stolid marines, who relentlessly hunt the pirate crews; the pirates themselves, who come in various shades of good, bad and evil incarnate. And we also discover what makes our characters tick: the fascinating (and often tragic) back stories that drive them to pursue their dreams.
So here’s a word of warning. Setting sail into the One Piece realm isn’t a journey to be undertaken lightly. If, like me, you have a passion for escapist fantasy, for lovable misfits and fantastical worlds, you’ll be utterly hooked. It’s likely you’ll look into Season 2, and realise the writers’ strike is playing havoc with its release. And you’ll probably start watching the original anime series – all 1,000 episodes!
Safe to say, the laundry is going to remain unfolded for some time to come!