Netflix's One Piece showrunner Matt Owens assures fans the characters in the live-action adaptation will be faithful to their source material.
Matt Owens, showrunner for the upcoming Netflix adaptation of One Piece, promises to stay true to the original characters. Adapting anime to live-action has always been an issue. Due to the dynamics of anime, it can be difficult to try and transfer visuals and characters to another medium. However, past adaptations will diverge from the source material so blatantly that they end up becoming too radically different from their source. Major examples of this include Dragonball Evolution, which took away the fantasy elements for a dark and bland setting, and Death Note, which tried too hard to change the lead character's motivation.
Netflix is going to try and break away from past failed adaptations with One Piece, starting with the cast. Owens has spoken to Nux Taku about his intent to remain accurate with the characters as much as possible. The casting has already received praise due to retaining the ethnic appearances as imagined by One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda, and now fans want to see how their characterizations will be presented on screen. Read his full quote below:
‘The Straw Hats if you want to qualify their relationships in any way, are all siblings. It’s a family. There’s no romance between Straw Hats.’
Oda had previously stated that he equated One Piece's Straw Hat Pirates to that of a family, even going so far as to label who is the designated mother, father, sibling, etc., of the group. The character of Sanji, however, is known for being very flirtatious with women, particularly with the only two female members of the crew, Nami and Robin. Owens revealed that while the Netflix One Piece version Sanji will retain his adoration of women, he will not be over-the-top or lecherous to them as he previously had in the manga and anime for obvious reasons.
Owens is right to keep the Straw Hats as nothing more than a family. While romance has been hinted at and displayed in One Piece, it was usually kept to a minimum or played out for comedic effect. When asked whether any of the Straw Hats were in love with someone or something, Oda simply responded that they love adventure more than anything else. One Piece has first and foremost been about a group of misfits who form a family to hunt for the greatest treasure in the world and, as a fan of the series, Owens understands that more than anyone.