Netflix's New One Piece Show Reveals a Major Shift in Strategy
Get ready for the anime-to-TV-to-anime pipeline.
Netflix’s hit pirate adventure series One Piece managed to take a sprawling manga and cram it into a bingeable live-action TV series while still preserving the goofy heart of its source material. Given the success it found, it’s easy to see why Netflix would want to double down on the world of Monkey D. Luffy and friends, and so the streamer recently announced there will be another One Piece show.
This one, however, is taking the story back to its roots: anime. It may seem strange to announce a new anime series when One Piece already has an ongoing anime adaptation, but it’s only the latest in a line of adaptations that could change the future of TV.
The new anime adaptation, called The One Piece to differentiate itself from its predecessor, will begin at the same point in the story as the live-action series: the East Blue saga. While both series will live on Netflix, this new anime isn’t technically based on the live-action series. Instead, it goes straight to the source and adapts the manga. However, with both co-existing on Netflix, it will be hard not to see them as two adaptations working in collaboration.
While One Piece already exists as an anime that’s been running for 21 years, The One Piece is only the latest in a long line of attempts to capitalize on a live-action Western project with an anime adaptation. Wit Studio, the animators behind The One Piece, are also working on an anime adaptation of DC’s Suicide Squad called Suicide Squad Isekai. Like The One Piece, Suicide Squad Isekai is technically an adaptation of the comic book source material, not the live-action version, but the two will inevitably be compared anyway.
This trend isn’t limited to live action, either: Rick and Morty is getting the anime treatment with Rick and Morty: The Anime. With anime more popular than ever, anime adaptations may become the new norm. Why just tell a new story in a beloved universe when you could reimagine the entire universe in a brand new way? Netflix is betting big that its brand recognition will overcome the fact that the show it just announced has already existed for nearly a quarter-century. It’s a risky proposition, but one worthy of the story’s pirate hero.