The Big Picture

  • The One Piece Netflix series introduces the main characters earlier than the source material, bringing Luffy, Zoro, and Nami together from the beginning.
  • Showrunner Steven Maeda explains that this decision was made to fast-forward their encounter and allow audiences to connect with them immediately.
  • Other characters from future arcs of the manga are also introduced early in order to set up future seasons.

One of the things that manga and anime fans of One Piece will quickly notice as soon as they press play on the Netflix series is that the Straw Hats’ meeting each other happens a lot earlier than it does on the source material, with. Luffy (Iñaki Godoy), Nami (Emily Rudd) and Zoro (Mackenyu) meeting all at once before eventually finding Usopp (Jacob Romero) and Sanji (Taz Skylar). In an interview with Collider’s Arezou Amin, showrunner Steven Maeda talked about the decision of making the Straw Hats become a thing sooner rather than later.

During the interview, Maeda said that the plan to kick off the series with Luffy, Zoro and Nami all at once was the way they found to both introduce them in similar ways that they are in the manga and also fast-forward their encounter, so audiences could connect with them from the get-go:

“Story-wise and in script, a decision was made pretty early to introduce them together and around the same time and focus that all around Luffy trying to get into the marine base in Shells Town. So, it felt like an opportunity to jump-start, a little bit, the beginning of Luffy starting to pull in his crew as opposed to doing it separately, the way it’s done in the manga. There was an opportunity to compact there in a way that still felt really natural. So we still get Zoro hanging from that cross, we still get Nami being a thief, but Nami’s story, particularly, is in a slightly different context, so that it allows Luffy to kind of pick them both up at the same time. Then immediately starts the kind of squabbling inter-crew dynamic of him calling everybody a crew, and they’re like, ‘Not a crew!’ which we thought was really fun.”

Image via Netflix

One Piece Introduces Other Characters Really Early As Well

Of course, Nami and Zoro aren’t the only characters that are introduced very early. Maeda and his team were also bold to bring forward characters that only pop up in future arcs of the manga, but the reason behind that was so future seasons could be set up. Nonetheless, all changes were overseen and approved by franchise creator Eiichiro Oda, who was actively involved in the production of the series.

Other characters that can be seen throughout Season 1 of One Piece are Koby (Morgan Davies), Helmeppo (Aidan Scott), Bogard (Armand Aucamp), Buggy the Clown (Jeff Ward), Kaya (Celeste Loots), Alvida (Ilia Isorelýs Paulino) and Garp (Vincent Regan).

You can stream all episodes of One Piece on Netflix.

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By asm3a