Most folks who have watched Netflix‘s One Piece will have noticed that Netflix more or less stuck with canon. However, fans of the anime and manga by Eiichiro Oda will definitely have noticed that Netflix didn’t stay completely true to canon. In fact, there are many things Netflix either altered from canon, or outright cut from it. Too many things to list, really. So that’s why I’ll list what I think are the 5 most important things Netflix cut out/changed from canon. Starting with:
5. Going Merry Figurehead
I know this might be a small thing to some people, but to me, the look of Going Merry‘s figurehead in Netflix‘s One Piece triggers me. You can see it above. Now look at it in the anime below:
My biggest issue with the live-action version of the figurehead is that it is completely unpainted. Or rather, it’s all whitewashed. The horns should be brown and the pupils should be black, as per canon. It’s such a small thing too. Painting them in wouldn’t really affect anything and shouldn’t be too big of a budget problem. So why Netflix left the figurehead whitewashed is just baffling.
But most of all: the live-action just…doesn’t look cute. This may be subjective on my part, but I don’t think the figurehead in Netflix‘s One Piece looks cute. It looks more like Netflix tried to make it look cool, but that’s not the Going Merry. The Going Merry was designed by Merry, who intentionally made it look cute because he simply liked sheep. Merry still designed the Going Merry, so why he didn’t make it cute is baffling as well. Netflix, just color that figurehead in. Seriously.
I know objectively this is a minor-ish plot point, but damn it, Chouchou was a good boy! Why in the world Netflix’s One Piece chose to cut Chouchou almost entirely out the plot is likely going to be a mystery for the ages. It’s not like Netflix cut the good boy out of ignorance either. Chouchou actually makes a very brief appearance at the end of Ep. 2, and I do mean “brief”. He literally appears for only a few seconds, and that’s it as far as his cameo is concerned.
Somehow, that makes it even worse on the part of Netflix’s One Piece. It’s like Matt Owens and Steven Maeda are telling us outright that they did all their research on the manga and anime. However, they decided to ignore the canon storyline for…reasons. Reasons that will probably forever remain unknown.
3. Buggy the Clown
The Buggy the Clown that’s in Netflix’s One Piece isn’t the Buggy the Clown you know from the manga and anime. This Buggy is far too serious, dramatic, competent(?!), and altogether Joker-like to be that Buggy. In fact, I would best describe live-action Buggy as the Buggy canon Buggy dreams of being. Or rather, the Buggy canon Buggy insists he is, but is very far from being so.
It’s not just their personalities that are different though. Netflix’s One Piece has live-action Buggy play a far more prominent role in the initial storyline than canon Buggy did. He’s not only the one who gives away the Straw Hat Pirates’ location to Arlong (albeit unwillingly), but he also even joins up with the Straw Hat Pirates for a brief time (also unwillingly) in order to get his body back. Regardless though, it will actually be interesting to see what Netflix does with live-action Buggy in the next season. Presuming that there will be a next season, of course.
2. Arlong Pirates
Fans of the anime and manga would very quickly notice what’s wrong with the Arlong Pirates in Netflix’s One Piece. They’re clearly missing 2 major crewmembers Eiichiro Oda gave them. The first is Hatchan the octopus fish-man. He may have been silly, but he was also legitimately dangerous. I was surprised and disappointed that Hatchan didn’t appear in the live-action Arlong Pirates. This though actually creates major problems with the story later, since he was actually the one who led the Straw Hats to the fish-man kingdom under the sea. How Netflix will do this later though is, I suppose, a conundrum for later.
The second major character is a very big one. Literally. Momoo the giant sea cow is nowhere to be found among Arlong’s crew, or even at all. It’s a bizarre too, because there was ample opportunity to have Momoo show up as the Straw Hats were making their way to Conomi Island. In fact, we only ever see Momoo as a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo on a map of the South Blue. I guess Netflix are just allergic to big and cute things. It really makes me fear for Laboon when the Straw Hats reach the Red Line. I hope they don’t cut the adorable and plot-critical whale out.
1. Usopp Arc
Usopp’s story arc in Netflix’s One Piece is, in my opinion, the most changed from canon. The biggest change is, as you can see above, Usopp and Kaya getting to kiss. This did not happen in canon in the slightest, but this isn’t a bad thing. One Piece has never been big on romance, so we never got to see those 2 kiss in the story. Thus, seeing it happen in the live-action version was a big treat for me.
The second biggest change is the cutting of Jango out of the story of Netflix’s One Piece completely. As in: he doesn’t even show up. I guess he was just too silly for the serious and dramatic story Netflix wanted to go with. Which creates some problems for the story later when Jango joins up with the Marines, but that, I suppose, is something Netflix will also presumably cut from the story.
The third and final biggest change is Netflix’s One Piece killing Merry off for real. Honestly, I feel like this didn’t really add to the story. It just made Matt Owens and Steven Maeda look like they’re making this live-action adaptation to be “edgy”. One Piece isn’t supposed to be “edgy”, and frankly, I think this is just edginess for the sake of edginess. They tried to make it melancholic by having the Going Merry‘s name be a memorial to Merry, but honestly, it didn’t really feel right to me. Your mileage may vary here. There was also the changing of the entire arc to take place entirely in Kaya’s mansion and genderbending Sham, but I consider those to be minor issues compared to everything else.