It’s crazy to think that we first heard about the live-action One Piece series in 2017. For many years, we’ve waited for some sign of life until it suddenly picked up steam in January 2020 with creator Eiichiro Oda announcing the partnership with Netflix. We got an official logo, and a tease of the script, and finally, the project was slowly moving forward. While it wouldn’t start filming until January 2022, it still felt like we were closer than ever before. To kick off 2023, we got our first look at the series with not just one teaser poster but a second one hinting at the entire Straw Hat crew.
It’s been a wild ride following the many steps of this production and seeing as it evolved. Showrunners Steven Maeda and Matt Owens have reassured their love for the franchise throughout the years and with Eiichiro Oda heavily involved, it almost seems like there’s a chance the anime live-action adaptation curse could finally be lifted. Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop may have been recently scolded by its creator, this project feels like there’s a chance things might go a little differently.
Even the small details in these posters give the feeling that a lot of love and care has already been put into the project. We know the first episode will be titled Romance Dawn like the manga’s first chapter. So, it’s fitting that we get our first look at Inaki Godoy‘s Luffy staring off into the beautiful orange of dawn. We get a good look at the iconic Straw Hat and his sleeveless red shirt from the East Blue Saga. If you zoom in, the bird in the sky is a News Coo, as he even has the iconic hat and bag around his neck.
The main cast image doesn’t give us a full look at their designs, but they are very close to what they were in the manga and anime. We have some minor details added (and people freaking out over Luffy not wearing sandals) but even seeing Usopp’s slingshot brought to life just adds that little something. We even got some iconic poses to just add that little tribute to the original. Their ship is in full display with her new figurehead, which truly brings the merry to the Going Merry.
Many fans online noticed that this may also be a tribute to the first ending of the One Piece anime with the characters from behind staring into the ocean reflecting the orange sun of dawn. It’s a recurring element in the early days of the anime, as it was also a visual utilized in the eyecatchers that were used in between commercial breaks. Twitter user @Monkey_D_2shar even used the poster designs to bring that iconic visual to life for the live-action variation.
We still don’t have a release date and the fact that Netflix is willing to promote a series early on without a fixed release date. It seems strange to say so but Netflix isn’t famous for truly promoting its shows and projects over a long period of time. Not only did we get cast announcements throughout last year but even a first look behind-the-scenes in a video during Netflix Geeked, their biggest live-streaming event.
Some have some concerns but that isn’t uncommon when seeing a manga being brought to life; though did not expect issues with sandals to overshadow the complete redesign of the Going Merry. Even though some pointed out a similarity to the Cowboy Bebop premiere poster but that is mostly due to the shot from behind with an orange hue, a poster does not reflect an entire production.
Plus, this poster isn’t with a set release date with only a few months to go like with the last Tomorrow Studios production. So, they are set to promote this over a longer period of time, and the last series to get a teaser poster was Wednesday and went on to actually get a rare Season 2 renewal from Netflix. There’s no direct correlation but if they are willing to promote it as much as possible, there’s a chance they believe in this project.