From the East Blue to the Grand Line, Luffy’s Adventures are Encapsulated in Eight Fantastical Episodes.
Netflix released its live-action adaptation of the beloved anime One Piece to its platform in late August of 2023 and has received high praise for its fantastical world-building and intricate character development. The adaptation does well to keep the same attributes that made the anime so successful and famous, changing little from the plotline to the lovable characters and retaining the adventurous and exciting spirit of the anime.
The live-action adaptation follows Luffy, a young boy with a big dream to find the one piece, a treasure hidden in the grand line, and become king of the pirates. Luffy’s charisma and lovable personality draw in a rag-tag crew: the reluctant thief with a mysterious past, Nami, and pirate hunter Zoro calling themselves the straw hat pirates after Luffy’s infamous straw hat. Luffy and his team embark on a whirlwind of adventure, making Netflix’s season one entertaining as they fight formidable foes and make their way toward the grand line. Below is every episode from season one ranked, and forewarning, this list does include a few minor spoilers.
8. Episode 2: The Man in the Straw Hat
Episode two follows Luffy, Zoro, and Nami as they embark on an adventure headed for the Grand Line, a place only reachable with a map. Of course, maps to the Grand Line are scarce, making Luffy and his crew a target for others hoping to get their hands on such a rare artifact. A clown pirate named Buggy jumps on the opportunity and captures Luffy and his team, returning them to his stronghold. There, Buggy tries his best to acquire the map, using nothing less than torture to do so.
While the idea of fighting a crazed clown pirate who can detach their limbs at will sounds entertaining, there is little to no action until the end of the episode, and it was short-lived at best. Instead, the episode is filled with flashbacks to Luffy’s past and scenes of Zoro and Nami trying to escape to help rescue Luffy from the clutches of Buggy. While these scenes are not necessarily unimportant, they drag on just a bit, making the episode a bit drab compared to the rest of the show.
7. Episode 3: Tell no Tales
Episode three sees the introduction of Usopp, a resident of the Syrup Village, and Kaya, owner of her late parent’s shipyard. Luffy, Zoro, and Nami arrive at Syrup Village, seeking another ship, and are swept into the drama revolving around Kaya’s life and her mysterious servants. Luffy, Zoro, and Nami befriend Kaya and Usopp, resolving to help Kaya against an evil force hoping to prey upon her wealth.
Episode three does well to reimagine Kaya’s whimsical mansion home and Usopp’s upbeat personality, making their introduction to the show realistic and relatable. It’s warming to watch Luffy and his crew go out of their way to extend a helping hand, even in the face of nasty pirates. And it’s the first glimpse viewers get of Nami, Zoro, and Luffy finally acting as a crew, even if Zoro and Nami still deny being a part of the Straw Hat pirates. However, like episode two, the pacing is perhaps a bit slow, focused more on character development than the plot or the action.
6. Episode 1: Romance Dawn
Episode one follows Luffy as he embarks on the journey of a lifetime, rescuing his newfound friend Koby from a vicious pirate. Together, they head toward a marine base so that Luffy can acquire a map of the grand line and Koby can enlist as a marine. However, seeing as though marines hunt pirates, Luffy must sneak onto the base and steal the map for himself, running into Zoro and Nami while there. Without much choice, Zoro and Nami join Luffy’s crew, and Koby stays behind to become a marine.
The introduction of all the show characters makes for a highly entertaining first episode. Luffy is pictured as a carefree boy with a seemingly impossible dream. Zoro is the brooding pirate hunter known for his skills with a blade, and Nami is a sly thief with unclear intentions. Not to mention the ripe potential Koby and Luffy’s relationship can bring to the show as they essentially become enemies. Seeing each character first interact with one another is hilarious and exciting, laying down the building blocks for the rest of the season. It’s an exciting episode that promises mysteries, adventures, and pirates galore.
5. Episode 4: The Pirates Are Coming
This episode follows Kaya and Usopps’ story as it comes to a climax and a close, resulting in Luffy and company getting their ship and Uspopp joining the Straw Hat Pirates as they take off for their next adventure. It’s also the first time Koby and Luffy meet again after separating in the first episode, adding a dramatically emotional element as viewers watch to see how the situation will be handled.
The fast-paced episode and the fight scenes are intense as Luffy, Nami, Zoro, Usopp, and Kaya uncover the truth about what is really going on beneath the surface and fight off the Black Cat pirates. There is also a fantastic sequence of shots in which we see flashbacks to Zoro’s past as he struggles to free himself of a prison of sorts in the present timeline. The scenes are emotional, and we finally get a glimpse into the life of the otherwise closed-off and prickly pirate hunter. The episode also ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats.
4. Episode 5: Eat At Baratie!
After the Straw Hat’s adventure at the Syrup Village, the crew engages in a brief battle with the marines, led by Vice Admiral Garp, before heading for the Grand Line. However, Luffy is lured by the smell of food to a floating restaurant in the middle of the East Blue named the Baratie, headed by Chef Zeff, and the crew stays for a meal, meeting Sanji, one of the restaurant’s cooks. It is soon revealed that Sanji wishes to find the All Blue, a legendary restaurant that is located on the Grand Line.
Usopp is a fun addition to the crew, feeding off of and encouraging the light-hearted, and sometimes ignorant, attitude of Luffy. It’s a fun dynamic portrayed in the episode, especially as their personalities clash with the more severe and mysterious attitudes of Nami and Zoro. The episode comes to an emotional close when Zoro’s fate is questioned after a deadly duel, and Nami admits she worries for Zoro, a sign she considers him a friend. It’s the beginning of her character arc.
3. Episode 6: The Chef and the Chore Boy
Episode six remains on the Baratie as Zoro recovers, and Luffy is forced to look inward and investigate his light-hearted attitude as potentially being a bad thing. Sanji’s and Chef Zeff’s gristly past is revealed, humanizing Sanji’s character and laying the groundwork for his eventual enlistment into the Straw Hat Pirate crew. Viewers are also introduced to Arlong and his band of seamen who come to Baratie for the map, causing a stir with their entrance.
The intense episode, from the fight scenes to the dramatic internal struggles within each character, makes it an engaging and nail-biting watch as the plot progresses. Nami, Zoro, Luffy, and Usopp each come to a bit of a crossroads, revealing their true nature and thinking over the type of pirates they want to be. However, Nami’s true intentions are revealed, ending the episode on a tension-filled note, as Luffy decides to follow Nami, despite being warned not to.
2. Episode 7: The Girl with the Sawfish Tattoo
Following the cliffhanger ending in episode six, episode seven leads into the backstory of Nami and her history with Arlong and his vicious crew. It is revealed that Arlong pillaged Nami’s home, the Coco Village when she was just a child. Ever since, Arlong has been occupying Coco Village, enforcing outrageous rules and collecting high tributes. Vice-Admiral Garp reaches Baratie after Luffy leaves, questioning Chef Zeff on the Straw Hat pirate’s whereabouts.
This complex episode makes it clear that Nami and her past are far from black and white, and even though she is portrayed as the ‘bad guy’ working for the ‘bad villain,’ there is clearly more than what meets the eye. Instinctively knowing this, Luffy pursues Nami back to Coco Village, even though it seems she has betrayed him entirely. The cinematography in this episode is also the best of the series, making it one of the most creative episodes in the show.
1. Episode 8: The Worst in the East
The series ends with a fantastic episode, the best in the series by far. The fight between Arlong and Luffy’s crews comes to an inevitable clash, and later, Vice-Adrmial Garp finds Luffy, resulting in another explosive battle. Koby and fellow marine Helemeppo resolve to become better at fighting pirates.
The final episode finally sees the Straw Hats Pirates as one; no longer is anyone keeping secrets (at least for now), and everyone finally accepts their role as crew members. Not only that, but the fight scenes are beautifully choreographed, and loose ends are satisfyingly tied while still promising more adventures and foes in the next season. The episode is also littered with touching moments that will cause misty eyes and a hearty laugh. Viewers can’t help but fall in love with the ambitious Luffy and friends as they come together to finally make their way toward the Grad Line.
One Piece (2023) Official Netflix Trailer