While we haven’t even seen any footage from Netflix’s upcoming live-action adaptation of One Piece yet, earlier this year, the streamer announced that it intended for the series to debut sometime in 2023. That could still happen, but a new update from Eiichiro Oda makes it sound like there’s a chance we might be waiting a little longer than expected, which is a bit tricky considering that Netflix’s One Piece doesn’t even have a firm premiere date yet.
In a lengthy update shared to Netflix’s Geeked Twitter account today, Oda opened up about what it’s been like working with Tomorrow Studios and Netflix on One Piece and how, even though everyone involved in the new series “understand each of the characters,” they also “come from very different cultures,” which apparently led to some frustrations stemming from “different codes, skill sets, and aims.”
“If we’re going to do it, I want to be able to supervise things while I’m still active.”
“Sometimes it could be frustrating for both sides,” Oda said. “It felt like, ‘We’re all trying to get to the same place so how come we’re not on the same wavelength?’ There was even a time when I thought, ‘Is a foreign production even possible?!’”
As much of a concern as One Piece’s intercultural friction once was, Oda, 48, says that now, “each and every entity involved is working in sync.” He also assured everyone that the entire crew has been hard at work getting the series ready for its debut — something he, personally, wanted to be involved in as the series originator.
“Considering my expected life span, I believe this is the last chance to bring One Piece to the entire world,” Oda said. “If we’re going to do it, I want to be able to supervise things while I’m still active. That’s why I agreed to the live-action adaptation of One Piece back in 2016.”
Oda has been open about the negative impacts his working schedule has had on his physical health and expressed confidence in his colleagues’ abilities to complete various One Piece projects were he to fall ill or pass in the midst of a production. Speaking about the Netflix show, Oda commended the streamer for the “enormous resources” it’s poured into the production and for promising that it “won’t launch [One Piece] until I’m satisfied.”
“The entire cast and crew, spanning various countries, are brimming with love for One Piece,” Oda insisted. “They’re burning with passion, and I’ve reminded everyone involved that this should be fun. We’re in the final process! Right now! Of finishing all 8 episodes! We’ll be setting sail very soon!!”
That is very nice to hear! But at the same time, however, if Netflix really has agreed to hold off debuting One Piece until Oda’s satisfied with the finished production — which would arguably be what’s best for everyone involved — that could mean that the show might need a bit more time before it’s good and ready.
Between Death Note and Cowboy Bebop adaptations, we’ve all seen just how patently Not Great™ Netflix’s live-action projects based on anime can end up even though the creative teams involved clearly mean well. Oda presumably doesn’t want One Piece to suffer the same fate, and it might not, even if it does still debut this year. But if more time is what the production ultimately needs to shine, then Netflix’s best bet would probably be to just wait.