Well, we all knew this was coming for Netflix‘s adaptation of One Piece. They are going to deviate from the original source material by Eiichiro Oda. By how much, you might ask? Well, read on:

Going Merry of Theseus?

Netflix's "One Piece" logo.
You would think they would know better by now.

Netflix’s One Piece cinematographer Nicole Hirsch Whitaker recently spoke about her experiences filming for the live-action series in an interview with Filmmakers Academy. In fact, the whole interview was specifically about this live-action adaptation of the anime and manga by Eiichiro Oda. Unfortunately, they only dedicated two sections of the interview to the show itself. Even worse, it seems Whitaker is confirming that the show will deviate from the source material.

According to the interview, both Whitaker and the director (presumably the showrunners Steven Maeda and Matt Owens) both insist that this live-action One Piece adaptation will “stand out on its own and not just be a carbon copy of the anime”. If that sounds a bit ominous to you Eiichiro Oda fans out there, it gets worse. Whitaker continues by saying:

“There will always be fans and critics. You can’t please everyone but at the heart of it, the most important thing is the story. And if the story isn’t there, and that doesn’t grab the viewers, it doesn’t matter what you do. We can only hope that we’re going to gain a new audience and people that find it fascinating and interesting.”

Netflix’s One Piece and the Ship of Theseus: Opinion

Photo of the "Going Merry" set facing the bow for Netflix's "One Piece"
If you replace the Going Merry plank by plank, is it still the same ship by the end?

To give you all some background: the Ship of Theseus is a thought experiment of Ancient Greek origin. Basically: if you replace a ship plank by plank until the new planks are all that’s left, is this ship still the same ship as the one before the whole replacement started? This is the thought experiment that came to me upon hearing this bit of news about Netflix’s One Piece, and quite appropriate considering the maritime nature of said experiment.

Simply put: if you replace bits and pieces of One Piece with your own original stuff, how much can you replace before your show stops being One Piece? I don’t care if they only change minor things like the exact colors of ships, or if the main characters differ a bit from their canon appearances. But if they start changing the story as well, will this still be the same work by Eiichiro Oda? My opinion of this is “No”. At some point, you’ll get to the point where it stops being One Piece.

I get the feeling Nicole Hirsch Whitaker as well as Netflix are going to find that out when they finally release the One Piece live-action series if they can’t walk the fine line between the source material and their original content. The fact that Tomorrow Studios did the Cowboy Bebop live-action adaptation gives me less confidence still, considering how quick Netflix was to cancel it.

Source: Filmmakers Academy