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Home > Top 10 Characters In Netflix’s ‘One Piece’

Top 10 Characters In Netflix’s ‘One Piece’

One Piece Main Image

These Characters Stole the Spotlight

It’s been over a month since Netflix’s One Piece set sail and landed on TVs everywhere as the first live-action adaption of the beloved series and the first successful live-action adaptation of an anime by Netflix. So, it should go without saying that this adaptation had plenty riding on its shoulders. Thankfully, the results were (mostly) worth it and gave viewers a reason to be excited for a now-confirmed second season. It’s no secret, however, that the reason One Piece as a whole is so popular is because of its enormous cast of crazy and loveable characters. A big part of why many people were so excited by the idea of a live-action adaptation in the first place was to see their favorite characters portrayed in the flesh.

Despite only spanning eight episodes and covering the entirety of the East Blue arc (with the exception of Loguetown), creating a list of the top ten characters from this season is surprisingly difficult. Despite being an adaptation, the live-action version certainly took liberties with certain events and characters. This means that certain characters from the anime who had little to no screen time suddenly ended up having more time in the spotlight in the live action. On the other hand, other characters were completely dropped altogether. Jango, for example, was completely cut out of the Syrup Village episodes. This Michael Jackson-inspired hypnotist was one of the most unique characters in the early portion of the anime, so his absence was certainly disappointing. Regardless of the missing characters, the characters that are present makeup for it. 

10. Kobe

Kobe

Arguably, the most shocking and biggest change that the live-action makes is the addition of Kobe having a larger role to play in the East Blue Arc. In the anime and even the manga itself, Kobe’s role was nowhere near as involved at this point in the series. Instead of feeling like a weird addition, Kobe’s perspective actually adds more depth to the world of One Piece itself. Viewers also get to see what marine life is like for newcomers. In the anime, it was rewarding to watch Kobe go from meek to strong-willed and confident. The beginning of this transition can be seen in the live-action, hinting at further development down the line. It was also nice to see Kobe and Luffy together. Their relationship is unique because it is not only a light-hearted rivalry but also one of deep admiration and respect. They also kept his signature pink hair, which is a running thing with many of the characters in the anime. Despite the other changes made, it was as if Eiichiro Oda himself forbade any changes to the hair of any character.

9. Luffy

Luffy

Some fans may feel offended that the overall main character and captain of the show ranks so low. It is actually a testament to Inaki Godoy’s skill to bring the character to life. Within the anime, Luffy, as a character, can often feel two-dimensional and overly wacky. His two defining sides can be described as goofy and fight crazy. In anime in general, this is a popular archetype. While it’s not too unpleasant in anime, it can be corny and on the fringe of cringe seeing an actor physically act like an anime character. Thankfully, Inaki does a good job of not just bringing this character to life but also translating him into his own interpretation of the character. Without being too corny, Inaki brings Luffy’s happy-go-lucky nature to life. Also, a funny phenomenon that has been occurring around various forums is the fact that Luffy is missing his iconic sandals. Some fans were genuinely upset with this design change since Luffy’s original design is supposed to represent ultimate simplicity and freedom, which is lost with the addition of shoes in the live action. 

8. Buggy The Clown

Buggy

Another seemingly difficult character to get right, Buggy the Clown, is one of the best comedic relief characters in anime. In the anime, he’s a clown who takes himself way too seriously. As mentioned, certain things can be difficult to translate from an anime to a live-action adaptation. The humor in most anime is certainly one of them. It’s easy for jokes to lose their punch or get lost in translation, and Buggy the Clown is literally all jokes. The trailer released before the show’s premiere also didn’t paint a pretty picture. Even in terms of design, it seemed as though this Buggy was heavily inspired by Jared Leto’s Joker, which was despised by fans for being overly edgy just for the sake of being edgy (Remember his infamous line “I’m the Joker, baby!”?) Thankfully, after his initial introduction, Buggy actually manages to leave the viewer wanting more, due to no small part by Jeff Ward. While somewhat more sinister than his anime counterpart, this version of Buggy is fairly funny. He also plays a bigger part in the live-action compared to the anime, with his severed head being carried around for the later portion of the show. Thankfully, the writers make excellent use of Buggy’s powers for some excellent gags.

7. Sanji

Sanji

The gentlemanly chef whose food and fighting style have plenty of kick. With a cool factor as high as Zoro, the only reason live-action Sanji is ranked lower boils down to two reasons. The first is that he is introduced towards the latter half of the season and doesn’t quite get as much screen time as his crewmate. The second reason is his iconic spiral eyebrows which genuinely suited his character design. Unlike Luffy’s design, which only had one minor change, Sanji’s signature eyebrow was almost like a centerpiece that tied his entire design and persona together. The archetypal cool guy who smokes a cigarette in a suit with his hands in his pocket. His unique eyebrows give an air of flamboyance missing in the live action. That being said, Sanji definitely has some of the best-choreographed fight scenes, which will leave viewers rewinding just to see how they were possible. His on-screen rivalry with Zoro is also fun to watch, with the idea of future episodes playing into this rivalry being tantalizing.

6. Garp

Garp

In the anime and even the manga, fans were not introduced to Garp until further into the story. In the live-action, however, not only is Garp introduced early on, but he also acts as a central villain for this first season. His motives aren’t necessarily clear, but when his reason for chasing Luffy is revealed, it leaves fans with a heartwarming feeling. Similar to Luffy, Garp is fairly goofy in the anime, but the writers and actors did an excellent job of toning it down, which made his relation to Luffy less obvious. By all means, he is still an eccentric character whose actions will leave characters around him scratching their heads. His sultry Irish accent was also a pleasant surprise without being too distracting. It was genuinely fun just hearing him talk.

5. Nami

Nami

The iconic orange-haired girl is played by Emily Rudd, who does a great job of bringing this character to life. When initially introduced, Rudd’s Nami comes off as a smart-mouthed femme fatale and thief. Rudd showcases the different layers of this character, and by the last two episodes, fans finally get a glimpse at the true Nami and how selfless she can be. The only major difference between the anime version and live-action versions of this character is that Rudd seems to open up more quickly to Luffy and his crew, whereas it felt like she never really opened up in the anime prior to Arlong Park. This actually makes it more tragic when she closes herself up again and betrays Luffy and his crew. Based on Rudd’s performance, it’s hard to imagine anyone else being able to play this surprisingly complex character. While not as cool or funny as everyone else on this list, live-action Nami was fun to watch nonetheless.

4. Usopp

Usopp

An underrated character even in the anime, the live-action Usopp doesn’t disappoint. While not necessarily as funny as Buggy the Clown, Usopp is still charming and can be pretty good comedic relief. While the other characters can brag about having “cool fight scenes,” Usopp’s fights are equally enjoyable to watch as he’ll defeat his opponents through creative and funny means. His cunning use of gags and tricks to win in fights translates well to live action, making things feel slapstick. Unfortunately, Usopp has a similar issue as Sanji, as a large component of his character design is missing: his nose. This is a genuine travesty which, even if approved by Oda himself, feels like nothing less than a mistake. His defining feature in the anime and manga is his shlong of a nose which is reminiscent of Pinocchio’s nose. One of his defining personality traits is that he constantly lies and tells tall tales. Him having a long nose is a cool reference to this classic character. Even more aggravating is the fact that Arlong, who also has a unique nose, gets a prosthetic nose to recreate his anime design.

3. Arlong

Arlong

Arlong was the perfect choice for a final villain for the first season. He came off as evil but not cartoony. McKinley Belcher III, who plays Arlong, actually brings the perfect amount of cockiness to the character. From as early as episode two, Arlong’s appearance had been teased and built up. It was clear from the get-go that he would be serving as the tentative “final boss fight.” For the most part, the final fight met expectations( although Luffy and Arlong could’ve had more back and forth). The climax even matched the anime with Luffy’s tower-crushing axe kick. Even better is that unlike some of the other characters on this list, Arlong and the rest of his fishmen crew are faithfully designed. Going in, some fans may have been worried that the production team would resort to CGI to bring Arlong and his pirates to life. Luckily, however, they used prosthetics instead, which left the entire crew looking like a dream. They even got Arlong’s nose right.

2. Mihawk

Mihawk

Perhaps the only character more intimidating than Arlong, Mihawk, was given proper justice. As one of the seven Warlords in the anime, Dracule Mihawk comes off as a monster. Not a monster in the same way that Arlong is, but rather his power. Even the way they introduced his character in the live-action was appropriate. In a callback to the anime, Mihawk is introduced via a battlefield where he fights off against Don Krieg (while technically still here, Don Krieg played a bigger role in the anime). Single-handedly, Mihawk took out Don Krieg and his entire battalion of pirates. Despite “going easy” in his fight against Zoro, the fight itself was still spectacular. The design team also did a good job of capturing his style, especially with his sword and his eyes. The sword resembles a giant cross, which is impressive as it can often be seen wielding it with one hand. His eyes are also perfectly captured. 

1. Zoro

Zoro

The number one spot should be an obvious guess. Just like in the anime, the coolest character in the live-action is Zoro, hands down. First of all, the showrunners got the perfect actor to play him. Mackenyu Maeda has starred in the Rurouni Kenshin live-action films and is the son of the legendary actor and martial artist Sonny Chiba. This not only explains Maeda’s ability to be so effortlessly cool but also why he’s so believable with a sword. From his tone and demeanor to his style and attitude, there is no doubt that this is Zoro and not just an imitation. His chemistry and dynamic with the other characters are equally enjoyable to watch. Often serving as the serious man to the wackiness around him in the anime, Maeda plays this role. His stone face often enhances the humor of his crewmates, especially Luffy. The perfect duo in terms of comedy, Inaki and Mackenyu recreate that dynamic perfectly.

One Piece (2023) Netflix Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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A lover of gore and over the top violence, no movie can make my stomach squirm. The only thing better than a bloody death scene is a well choreographed stunt. Whether it be action or horror, if it has blood in it, then I've likely already seen it.
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Matt Keyser is a recent graduate of Cal State Fullerton University with a bachelor's in Communications-Journalism. He is a freelance entertainment reporter with a focus on film and television. As a former senior programming coordinator for the Newport Beach Film Festival, Matt's experience with critiquing narratives and documentaries has helped showcase his passion for television and cinema through his writing.