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  • Writer's pictureWill Scarbrough

Review: One Piece - Season One

In a seafaring world, a young pirate captain sets out with his crew to attain the title of Pirate King, and to discover the mythical treasure known as 'One Piece.'

Iñaki Godoy, Emily Rudd, Mackenyu, Jacob Romero, Vincent Regan, Morgan Davies, Jeff Ward & Armand Aucamp.

‘One Piece’ season 1 was one I wasn’t particularly excited for. I’ve never seen the anime and don’t plan to, so I won’t be able to comment on how well it adapts the anime, but I definitely can talk about everything else the series has to offer.

For me, this season was a very mixed bag with a lot of inconsistencies. But, first and foremost I have to praise Iñaki’s performance as Luffy whom was electrifying to watch on screen. His presence lightened up every scene and outshined every actor he shares a scene with. His performance, unfortunately, highlighted how terrible some performances were and he really set the standard. I don’t want to name names, but I thought a particular was shocking to watch and was a heavy weight in every episode dragging it down. Emily & Mackenyu were also quite delightful to watch each episode, growing on me more and more as each episode passed. As well as some of the supporting who I thought were engaging on screen and had some nice presence to each episode.

The filmmaking was rather all over the place at times though. The series has a great use of lenses and cinematography, but tends to over-utilise it making it less and less effective. It’s also very overdramatic & not in a fun way, taking away a lot of really nice moments by being too over the top with its music choices. The score is well composed, but it’s poorly used and ruins many scenes, communicating a different emotion or feeling for the audience that was rather confusing to watch.

The fight scene was a massive highlight for me. The camera work is fluid and the choreography is stellar. While it may not be as stylish as many will expect, having being an adaptation of the anime, but its fight scenes won’t be one of audiences disappointments.

The narrative and screenplay leaves a lot to be desired. The structure and use of flashbacks with the main story didn’t work for me, it felt random and often cliche, too coincidental with how a character relates their certain situation with a memory they had years ago. Dialogue is sometimes over dramatic, cringey & far too simple with what could be a complex and compelling adventure. However, it’s hard not to be entertained by how the story moves with the pacing and how it’s inconsistent but not all bad.

The main crew have such a fun dynamic with one another, I couldn’t help but feel entertained. The costumes and production design was poor in moments, shirts looking like they’re straight out of a 2023 charity shop and production design that felt too clean and polished as if they were very much: Plastic.

Either way, as a non anime fan, I enjoyed Netflix’s One Piece. While I can’t comment on its adaptation, I’ll happily say I wasn’t disappointed with my expectations (which weren’t too high). It has lovely cinematography, camerawork and fight scenes, accompanied with a fun cast dynamic. But falls short with its screenplay, supporting performances and other technical elements. I do think this is going to be a Netflix hit, however.

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