The One Piece live-action series has become one of the biggest hits not only in the history of Netflix but also in terms of anime adaptations. This is because it was surprisingly good (read our One Piece live-action review), albeit with some major differences that totally transformed the flow of the East Blue Saga. While most fans were happy with the alterations, there were an equal number of people who didn’t like them at all. So today, we have compiled this article to showcase the most important changes made in One Piece’s live-action series as compared to the anime and manga. Keep reading to learn about how the live-action strayed away from the source material in this article.
Spoilers Warning: This article contains spoilers about the first season of the One Piece live-action series as well as the anime. Therefore, make sure to read the manga or watch the anime in order to avoid ruining your intended experience.
1. Garp’s Early Introduction in OPLA
The most substantial change in the One Piece live-action series is the early inclusion of Garp. Garp wasn’t present during Roger’s execution in the original source material, and he definitely wasn’t chasing around East Blue to get him to stop from chasing his dream. In the manga and the anime, Garp was introduced on a cover page and handled the escorting out of Axe-hand Morgan. He also took Koby and Helmeppo under his wings as he did in live-action.
But what’s different here is the fact that Garp being the grandfather of Luffy wasn’t revealed until 400 chapters later in the Post-Enies Lobby arc (one of the best One Piece arcs). That was one of the best twists in One Piece’s history. However, this fact was revealed in a casual tone earlier than expected in the live-action. This was the biggest issue for many longtime fans, including the creator Eiichiro Oda. As per a recent interview, the showrunners had to convince to include Garp in Season 1. Did you love it or hate this change? Let us know.
2. Changes to Luffy’s Character
When Luffy sets sail for the first time, he is interrupted by the same Sea King who took Shanks’ arm off while he saved Luffy. But this time, Luffy was able to beat it with a single punch in the manga and the anime. This showed us how strong Luffy has become, but the live-action team completely skipped this scene. This is likely due to the budget issues as they have to VFX for the Sea King as well as Luffy’s attack.
Another change in his character is how Luffy eats the Gomu Gomu no Mi devil fruit (Gum Gum devil fruit), one of the strongest devil fruits in One Piece. In the source material, Luffy eats it accidentally in the Partys bar when Shanks and crew are present alongside him. However, in the live-action, Luffy eats the devil fruit alone, without anyone’s knowledge, after finding it in a box. But Luffy finding out the powers he gained by eating the fruit for the first time stays true to the manga.
3. Zoro’s Introduction in Live Action
Zoro’s introduction in the source material was totally different than in live-action. However, the live-action introduction is canon as it stays true to the source. Let me explain it briefly! In the manga/anime, Zoro was introduced as being tied to the cross in Captain Morgan’s base at Shells Town, that’s where Luffy meets Zoro for the first time.
But in the live-action, Zoro was seen on Sixis Island where he was confronting Mr.7. You all know how that story went as he cut that Baroque Agent into two halves. This was a clever easter egg (see all the easter eggs in One Piece live action here) as this scene indeed happened in the One Piece universe but was never shown either in the anime or the manga. It was only mentioned in the Arabasta arc.
4. Orange Town Arc’s Setting Changed
Next up, another big change in the live-action is how things play out in the Orange Town episode. It was totally different from the original source material retaining only the key factors of this arc. Originally, Nami was first introduced in this arc in the manga. However, live-action and anime did it differently. The whole battle taking place inside his circus setting also happened very differently in the manga/anime. Additionally, there were no people kidnapped in the manga/anime but in the live-action, the aforementioned event made Buggy even more scarier.
The most important change here is leaving out two of the important characters Mayor Boodle and Chouchou’s story. In the manga/anime, they will defend this town with their lives, and all of that is scrapped here. However, their cameos were shown in the live-action episode. There were also many Buggy Pirates who weren’t seen in the live-action episode. Therefore, this arc was totally changed for the live-action medium and it successfully looked refreshing too.
5. Usopp, the Unexplored Scaredy Cat
Up next, we have the Syrup Village arc being split into two episodes. They made slight changes to the storyline here as well which turned into some serious flaws. First of all, Usopp was introduced in this arc and never got to be the cowardly hero he was in the manga. He is just a scared cat here and the hero of this arc was never explored. The same goes for Kaya as well where she didn’t even stand up against Klahadore as she did in the source material. Usopp Pirates was eliminated and the whole town looked different than in the source material.
The whole battle with Kuro and his black cat pirates took place in a different setting. And they completely got rid of the Black Cat Pirate members including Jango who is one of the highlights of this arc. Last, but not least, Merry (financial advisor/ servant) was never killed in the manga or anime, he was the one who designed the Going Merry ship and gave it as a gift to the Straw Hats. It should be noted that the ship’s figurehead looked different from the one in the original as well.
6. Arlong’s Arrival to Baratie
One of the major villains of the show, Arlong and his pals were introduced way early in the live-action series. This also means that the fight between Luffy and Arlong at Baratie never happened in the manga. This also laid a nice setup for the Arlong Park arc in this series as Arlong looks slightly intimidating as a westernized villain even though his looks didn’t match with the source material at all.
7. Some Known Characters Missing
There were many characters that were totally omitted from the live-action due to time constraints as well as budget issues. They are Hatchan, Gaimon, Jango, Johnny Yosaku, Usopp Pirates (three kids), Sea King Momoo, etc. These characters do play their parts very well in the source material which made the One Piece world even better. For example, Hatchan, one of the important members of Arlong Pirates plays a vital role here as well as in the future arcs. Therefore, I don’t know how the live-action team is going to make up for the omissions.
8. Don Kreig Pirates & Baratie Arc Changes
The Don Krieg Pirates made their way to Baratie where the Straw Hats especially Luffy would fight against the Don himself in the source material. But the handling of Don Kreig Pirates was distinct in the live-action. Hawkeye was seen obliterating them in a different place and they were never seen near Baratie. The introduction of Hawkeye was different as well where Garp never made the call to this warlord and asked his help to hunt down Luffy. These are all extra additions to the one-piece world which fans liked at the end of the day.
9. Nami and Her Relation with Villagers
Coming back to the Arlong Park arc, there was a big blunder change here. The people of Nami’s hometown knew about her sacrifice all along including her sister Nojiko. That is why she got a tattoo in the first place in order to make her sister feel that she is not alone in this fight. But this was completely forgotten in the live action as the people considered Nami a traitor and learned about the truth when Straw Hats arrived on the island. Also, Garp visiting Coconomi Island and the events after that also never happened in this arc. This was a forced change that was not well received by the fans, to be honest.
10. Skipped the Logue Town Arc
Finally, the ending of One Piece was also moved up front by excluding one of the best arcs in One Piece that is Logue Town. The team decided to leave it out for the next season (read about One Piece live-action season 2 here) but decided to adapt one of the iconic moments (barrel scene) which happened at the end of the aforementioned left-out arc.
In my opinion, they should have extended the first season to 10 episodes by including this arc. Thereby, the series starting at Logue Town and ending in the same place could have been a better parallel and fitting conclusion to wrap up the first season. But, the barrel scene in live-action also looked great in its own way.
Bonus: Snailpods and Electricity
Technically, this is not a change per se instead new additions to the world by the live-action team. The first thing is electricity, it was never seen as a part of the One Piece world in the manga/anime. But in the live-action series, you can see the lights, neon lights in the Partys bar, inside Kaya’s mansion, etc. This change was approved by Oda it seems according to the production designer.
The next thing is what people call the “Snailpods”. Only the Den Den Mushi telepathic snails were present in this world for communication. However, the live-action introduced mini snailpods (used by Mihawk, Nami, etc.) which are similar to the modern-day airpods we have. This was a cool new device and fans all over the world liked it for sure.