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Netflix continues anime land grab with live-action One Piece series

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Yet another manga adaptation

FRANCE-CARTOON-MANGA Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

Netflix has ordered a live-action show based on One Piece, the colossally popular Japanese manga and anime franchise, as first reported by Deadline. It’s said to be a ten-episode series from publisher Shueisha and Tomorrow Studios, the studio also working on Netflix’s forthcoming Cowboy Bebop show.

Steven Maeda (The X-Files, Lost) is reportedly the showrunner as well as writer and executive producer, with Matt Owens (Luke Cage, Agents of SHIELD) also writing and executive-producing. Further executive producer credits go to One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda and Tomorrow Studios’ Marty Adelstein and Becky Clements. Plans for the series were first announced in 2017, though Netflix wasn’t on board at that point.

“I know I announced the production of this back in 2017, but these things take time,” Oda says in a handwritten note posted to Twitter. “Preparations have been slowly progressing behind the scenes, and it seems that I can finally make the big announcement: Netflix, the world’s leading streaming entertainment service, will be lending us their tremendous production support! This is so encouraging! How far will the story progress over the 10 episodes of Season 1? Who will be cast?! Please be patient a little longer and stay tuned!”

I’ve somehow never watched or read any One Piece-related content, but it and its characters are truly ubiquitous in Japan. From what I gather, it involves pirates, treasure (the titular One Piece), and a cute reindeer named Chopper. The manga series holds a Guinness World Record for the most copies ever published.

The new series is a further move by Netflix to court manga and anime fans. The company has already produced live-action adaptations of properties like Death Note, made high-profile acquisitions of the rights to Studio Ghibli movies (outside the US) and Neon Genesis Evangelion, and produced its own series like Aggretsuko and Castlevania. Just this week Netflix released the first trailer for its new CGI version of Ghost in the Shell.