Here’s a little suggestion: Go watch One Piece on Netflix. It’s really, really good. And I can’t really wrap my head around the fact that they managed to pull it off.
A little background: One Piece is originally a manga. And not just any manga, it’s one of the longest running manga series ever. I bought the first volume back in 2002, and by that time the series had been running for five years. This year, the piratey adventures of Monkey D. Luffy, Japan’s version of Guybrush Threepwood or Jack Sparrow turned 26! And it’s still good.
The story: Happy-go-lucky Monkey D. Luffy wants to be King of the Pirates. The only problem is: A magical devil fruit robbed him of his swimming powers. Now Luffy doesn’t care, he’ll just be the kind of pirate that doesn’t fall in the ocean. And more importantly: The devil fruit granted him magical powers – by turning him into rubber. On his 1000 chapter and rising long journey, he goes from rags to riches, gathers a crew consisting of, amongst others, a samurai, a thief, a sniper, a cook, a woman who can summon hands everywhere, an antropomorphic racoon, a cyborg and fucking skeleton Jimi Hendrix. This series gets incredibly weird, and the adventures of the straw hat pirates get insane – but even after all these years, I’m still enthralled. The reason: Eiichiro Oda, the mangaka, is a storytelling genius, who can create stories as complex as Game of Thrones (but weird) and still never lose track of what the emotional core of the series is: Dreaming big.
I have no idea why it took so long for someone to do a live action version of this story, seeing how it’s so insanely popular. But what I understand even less is that, in world in which Cowboy Bebop (a grounded rock-music-themed anime that is a pastiche of Sci-Fi and Film Noir) gets a show, One Piece is the one to actually be good. Yes, it’s silly, but it gets the emotions just right. It features shockingly little CG (for a show about a rubber man). And it has a stellar cast that’s just plain fun to watch.
Will they adapt the entire run? Unlikely, seeing how that would take them at least ten years. Will this show stay good? Hard to say, but season two is a true trial featuring the first truly outlandish stuff in the story. But hey: I’m giddy. Because after 20 years of reading One Piece, I can finally write this post and convince everyone to partake in the magical journey I have been on all this time. So what are you waiting for?