This blog is cutting it a little close to the end of the month.
Ok, I know I said I wouldn’t make any more updates about my back until something big happened, and this isn’t huge, but I’m feeling a lot better. God bless Danny Blakely, my friend and 3 of my good friends’ father. He’s been telling me since I hurt my back that I should go to yin-yoga with him and how it’s changed his life and he’s feeling great. He’s been suffering with a bad back since he was 19, so he knows what kinda stuff I’m going through. I went over for his wife’s (my friends’ mom) birthday and we got to talking about the McGill big 3 and how he does them twice a week during his gym sessions and how we should start doing them together. I went over a week later not expecting much, and pushed it as hard as I could without hurting myself. I woke up thinking “Man I haven’t done anything that intense with my arms in so long, they’re sore.” then I thought a little bit more and said “Wait, my leg doesn’t hurt”. I was in 0 sciatica pain. We’ve done 3 sessions so far, and slightly tweaked them each time, but I’m getting better. Some days are still harder, but overall I feel a lot better. I even went to Walmart with my family for the first time in a year, which used to be a weekly event.
One Piece Live Action
The Netflix One Piece live action adaptation came out on August 30th, and it’s actually pretty good. There are minor spoilers in this section up until the end of Arlong Park in the original story, so if you aren’t caught up to then with the manga or the anime I just wouldn’t read the rest of this post at all (lol). I discuss some important changes that effect things all to the chapters in the 400s.
Overall it was enjoyable and it’s leagues well above other adaptations that I have seen. If you’re hesitant about watching/reading One Piece and haven’t seen it before, I recommend it as an introduction. If you have seen One Piece before, I still think it’s worth to watch.
I’m not the biggest fan of some of the changes that the live action included, but the creators have ok reasons for why they did what they did. Oda was pretty close to the project, and Matt Owens (the showrunner and executive producer) is a huge One Piece fan so I think that’s a big reason why it was so successful. One Piece’s story is very calculated, it’s not something that you can mess with for the most part. Small things add up later on.
The casting was really good, I think everyone who played the straw hats did well. There were certain aspects about the characters traits I didn’t like; like how Luffy was a little too smart and “aware” of certain situations instead, and how Zoro was too edgy and not as arrogant (at least in my estimation). I’m certain this is just how they were directed as the show seemed very well put together and intentional with the direction they wanted to go. I’ve never watched the anime, so my understanding of the characters might be different than others anyway.
The side characters were probably my favorite part about the casting. Mihawk and Buggy are some of my favorites; these were also the 2 that I thought could’ve been messed up the easiest too. The Mihawk/Zoro fight on the Baratie was my favorite part. Buggy was a little more vulgar and Joker-esque than I had hoped, but it was still a really good performance. His chop-chop fruit powers were some of the best CGI in the show for sure, they did him a lot of justice (Buggy stays falling upwards).
My 2 least favorite casting choices were probably Arlong and Shanks, unfortunately. I think Arlong wasn’t built up enough as a character, and overall seemed more bark than bite, which in part was due to his size. He was a lot smaller than in the manga. I don’t expect someone to actually be 8’ tall, but he was like the same height as Luffy (who’s canonically 5'8", Iñaki Godoy is a little shorter at 5’ 6" according to IMDB). All the fishmen were a little janky overall though, so that might’ve compounded the issue. Shanks wasn’t quite as disappointing, but he still just didn’t seem right. Part of it, in my mind, was that he looked like someone cosplaying Shanks more than someone playing him. Shanks is a character that can be very kind and goofy, but will get super serious when he needs. I don’t think Peter Gadiot hit that mark quite right.
Overall the good far outweigh the bad, and the bad is mostly me being picky. I definitely recommend the show. Even if only to see the lovely Emily Rudd who is my new celebrity crush (email me if you like nerdy guys with bad backs Emily 😘). They’ve recently been greenlit for a second season, and they have plans for up to 6 seasons right now. I think this is a really good project to get people into One Piece, I have seen a lot of people already starting the anime after the live action which is awesome.
Spoilers About Significant Changes in the Live Action
If you don’t know the story of One Piece up until around chapter 480 of the manga (~421 of the anime) then I would skip this. Some of this is revealed in the live action, but not all of it.
Marines and Garp
There were a bunch of changes overall to the story, some pacing changed, trivial characters removed, etc. Nothing to make it totally unrecognizable, it’s mostly the same story. The BIG change that I was confused about, and a lot of other One Piece fans were too, was the inclusion of the B plot for Garp’s crew with Koby and Helmeppo; and also the reveal that Garp is Luffy’s Grandpa. The live action only covers to the end of Arlong Park, but Garp isn’t shown in full until after Enies lobby in the original. From several interviews, this was included because a lot of western television shows include a B plot that creates a feeling of tension for the main characters, so the marines coming after Luffy is meant to create that tension.
On one hand, this story with Garp was happening off screen (in cover stories in the manga, I’m not sure about the anime) at the same time as the arcs from Baratie all the way until Enies Lobby. If they had included it but never let Luffy and Garp clash or interact it would’ve seemed incredibly pointless and confused a lot of people. So the fight between them in the final episode had to happen.
On the other hand, I think they could’ve done much more with Arlong. He felt really underdeveloped to me and nowhere near as menacing or powerful as he did in the manga. In the manga, as with many of the villains during their respective arcs, Arlong seemed unbeatable. There was just so much going on in the live action that he didn’t get enough buildup to make the stakes high. We see him capture Buggy, and we do see what happened with Nami’s village but that’s it. With the theme of fishman discrimination being huge throughout One Piece, they could’ve replaced most of the marine stuff to include new examples of that. It was a good chance to introduce that form of racism early and make you see more of the world.
Revealing Garp is Luffy’s grandpa so early is kind of crazy. They might clash again at some point, but Garp is one of the only people who know that Dragon is Luffy’s father (before Marineford). The start of the next season should include Dragon, so I’m not sure if they’ll reveal that at Loguetown or not. Dragon and Luffy still have not directly interacted at all during the entire story, so having that happen first in the Live Action sounds like a huge gamble.
Very Important Missing Character
For some reason, they totally removed Hachi from the Arlong Pirates. Hachi is the only one (that I can remember right this instant) who appears later on in an important way. He’s the one who introduces the straw hats to Rayleigh and Kamie, and directs them around in Sabaody.
I’m really not sure what this means for that part of the story, I feel like if they didn’t want to use him later then they could’ve had him not reappear. It’s better to have him and not need him, than to need him and not have him is where my head is at basically. I’ve heard a few times that the CGI in the show was already hard to do and costly, so it could’ve been that Hachi was just too tough to pull off, but the fishmen were mostly practical effects anyway. Or perhaps they didn’t want to cast him too far ahead, and promise a part like that so early on. I’m not sure, I just didn’t like the implications of what happens by not including him for the story.