one piece (2023)

september 16, 2023

i found out this existed this week. i don't follow media anymore, i'd heard this was being made a long time ago but completely forgot about it until i heard someone say "the live-action One Piece show was pretty good" and i said "the what???" then i immediately decided i would be watching it over the weekend. regardless of whether i believed it actually might be good, i wanted to witness an attempt at making a live-action One Piece show

i do remember when this was announced, wondering what exactly the scope of its production would even be. because if it was a straight adaptation, either it would go on waaay longer than it could possibly sustain itself for, or it'd eventually get cancelled and go unresolved and they never find the Big Piece. so i just expected they'd do whatever the hell with it, even so far as ignoring any big-budget wacky anime superpower VFX stuff and just making a more grounded, but completely different, television show about funny pirates

i am not a big One Piece-head. i read maybe the first hundred chapters a long time ago, i think i got a bit further than that in the anime much longer ago. but i've seen enough that watching the trailer i was always thinking "oh yeah that!" - reinforcing my confusion about the scope of the show. this is the first season, it apparently cost a million billion dollars to make, and if it's all close enough to the beginning that i'm still recognizing things, then this will have to end up being a lot more than a "what if One Piece was less visually interesting" experiment

and make no mistake that that is what it inherently is. One Piece exists already, you can read it (or watch it - you can already do that) if you actually want the story. and i don't know who's gonna finish this season as their first exposure to One Piece, and wait for the next season all excited, instead of just...watching or reading One Piece. but it's nothing new that a live-action adaptation of a thing inexplicably exists and will inexplicably make a ton of money. and yes of course i pirated it instead of paying for Netflix. haha pirated i just got that

i'm glad this show still has some anime DNA in its designs. i've heard people complain about adaptations looking like a "cosplay convention", but they should!! this is a story about an endless supply of goofy-looking guys with goofy powers, and it would be mega snoreworld if they tried to play it straight. i get that by cosplay convention people probably mean there isn't enough effort put into translating the designs to live-action so that they look not too silly but still faithful, but i still maintain that the sillier the better

i'm three episodes in so far. i remember generally what happens in what i've read of the manga (by which i mean a character appears and then stuff rushes back to me), but not specifics. i can't make a lotta comments regarding accuracy, what changes i like or don't like, etc. though i'm pretty sure the stuff with Buggy was changed up a bit, but i liked what they did with it. the fact the logo changes each episode to signify the subject of the episode does ease some of my worries about the pacing; it's not like anime where episodes will end at whatever point they've filled enough time and so who knows how long an arc will go on

september 19, 2023

i've finished the season now and: i enjoyed One Piece Parentheses 2023. i don't watch much TV, let alone new* TV, let alone new* TV with 50+ minute-long episodes. i'm still in the very long process of getting a caffeine balance down after quitting ADHD meds so after watching the first few episodes i spent the entire next day in the headache realm. and i wasn't in the headspace to be able to fully understand nor appreciate the intricacies of Rubber Boy Shouts About Friendship

"guess the important character" is still very much playable in live-action

this show kinda likes to sit weirdly in the middle of feeling like the source material and being its own thing. the One Piece manga is pretty consistently goofy, but here it'll be in the middle of a straight thriller sequence and i'll suddenly very jarringly be hit with "Gomu Gooomu...!!! [cartoon stretching sfx]". also when the least cartoonish character in the show suddenly has cartoonish powers. it's definitely a unique balance and that's interesting, but i still think it's too much The Witcher and not enough Speed Racer (2008)

there was one scene at the end of episode 7 that i thought was super cool until it was super lame. the actress for Nami rules and the actor for Luffy. well it's not that he's bad, that scene was just terribly written and made me laugh when it could've made me yell but. Luffy just doesn't feel like a character who translates well to a real human guy with real guy skin. sure the other characters are written slightly differently from their manga counterparts too but Luffy feels like another awkward "in-the-middle" situation

just as i said. now i'm in the mood to read One Piece again, and when the second season rolls around the story will be a lot fresher in my mind and i'll be watching simply out of curiosity (unless they decide to diverge the story (they should)). there were changes but from what i can tell nothing that major. you could make the same argument for the anime but that's sort of a different case; right now the live-action series is a cool 24 years behind the manga, and the anime is probably "whatever close enough" for a lot of people. anyway Buggy was my favorite before and he's my favorite here too that's my closing thought

september 20, 2023

wait no i have more. i thought Arlong was cool too. ok i'm done. no but i've been thinking about why this show exists and the kind of audience they're going for with it, though i've only read like a one-tenth piece of One Piece so maybe i don't know a damn thing i'm talking about. i don't know the consensus among OP fans, i don't feel like diving into that because i feel like i'd see a lot of nitpicking about changes i don't care about

finding out where a story goes obviously isn't anywhere near the only reason to watch something; i've been in the mood to watch Breaking Bad again and i already know that he ends up throwing the pizza on the roof (spoilers sorry). but for a story that's been continuously running for over 25 years, and has been incredibly successful for those 25 years, it loses some of that specific - albeit not that big - draw. i thought that would be a much bigger issue with the show before i watched it, and now after thinking about it i also think it felt like enough of a different thing to be worth watching in that regard

i suppose i'm just going back on what i said before about "watching this instead of One Piece One Piece". hell i watched it. they got me. and i already said i liked it and that i'll watch a second season! and i have seen OP fans say they liked it! it's not like the anime which, from what i've read, there isn't much reason to watch it over reading the manga. it tells the same story with the same beats, a lot of the same dialogue and shots, with worse pacing. but it's worth watching the episodes with the cool animated fight scenes. and for One Piece fans, and people who get into One Piece because of it, this show has a lot more to offer than just those "episodes with the cool animated fight scenes". like Helmeppo naked

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