In Season 1, Episode 1 of the Netflix series “One Piece,” titled “Romance Dawn,” Luffy embarks on his journey to become the Pirate King. Twenty-two years prior, the World Government executed Pirate King Gold Roger (Michael Dorman) in his hometown of Loguetown in East Blue. Vice Admiral Monkey D. Garp, the Hero of the Marines, oversaw the execution. Roger’s death was witnessed by many, including a young Dracule Mihawk (Theo Lee Ray), a young Shanks (Matt Herrington), Monkey D. Dragon, a young Smoker (Matthew Leck), pirates, Loguetown’s citizens, and others. Before his execution, Roger encouraged the crowd to search for his hidden treasure, the “One Piece,” sparking a wave of people and pirates setting out to sea in pursuit of the title of Pirate King. However, the treasure is possibly in the Grand Line, the world’s most treacherous sea route.
In the present, Monkey D. Luffy (Iñaki Godoy) begins his journey to the Grand Line to find the One Piece and claim the title of Pirate King. During his childhood, Luffy became a pirate under the guidance of the great pirate Shanks (Peter Gadiot). Luffy also consumed the Gomu Gomu No Mi, a Devil Fruit granting his body the properties of rubber, turning him into a rubber human. However, Luffy faces a rough start as his boat sinks, forcing him to survive in a floating barrel. The barrel later finds itself aboard a pirate ship led by Captain Alvida (Ilia Isorelýs Paulino) of the Alvida Pirates. Luffy befriends Koby, an unwilling cabin boy aspiring to become a Marine, and together, they defeat Alvida, destroy her ship, and escape on a small boat to Shells Town to recover a map to the Grand Line from the Marine 153rd Branch.
In an undisclosed location, the pirate hunter Roronoa Zoro (Mackenyu) encounters Mr. 7 (Ben Kgosimore), a member of Baroque Works, a criminal organization secretly run by one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea, Sir Crocodile. Mr. 7 attempts to recruit Zoro into Baroque Works, but Zoro refuses. Consequently, Mr. 7 tries to kill Zoro, only to be decapitated by the Pirate Hunter in a sword duel. Zoro takes Mr. 7’s head to claim the bounty at the Marine 153rd Branch in Shells Town.
In Shells Town, Zoro clashes with the Marines after witnessing Helmeppo (Aidan Scott) bully a young waitress named Rika (Kamdynn Gary), who had kindly provided food to the pirate hunter moments before the incident. Due to Helmeppo being the son of corrupt Marine Captain Axe Hand Morgan (Langley Kirkwood), the Marines imprison Zoro for his “crimes.” Simultaneously, the cat burglar Nami (Emily Rudd) steals a Marine uniform to infiltrate and steal the Grand Line map. Luffy also sneaks into the base and frees and allies with Zoro. Luffy collaborates with Nami to improve their chances of stealing the Grand Line map. Despite encountering resistance from Axe Hand Morgan and his Marines, the trio successfully steals the map. As they attempt to escape Shells Town with the map, Koby, guarding Luffy’s boat, decides to stay behind and enlist in the Marines, revealing his goal to become a great Marine. Luffy wishes Koby good luck. The episode concludes with Garp learning of Luffy’s incursion in Shells Town and Buggy the Clown’s (Jeff Ward) desire to hunt Luffy, Zoro, and Nami to obtain the Grand Line map for himself.
In One Piece Season 1, Episode 1, Director Mar Jobst, writers Matt Owens and Steven Maeda, and the legendary Eiichiro Oda delivered a terrific pilot episode for the live-action adaptation of the One Piece series. The seamless transition from anime to live-action is evident in the team’s meticulous attention to detail, from dynamic visuals to authentic character portrayals. Noteworthy performances, such as Iñaki Godoy as Monkey D. Luffy and Peter Gadiot as Shanks, capture the spirit of the beloved source material. The episode balances character development, world-building, and action, setting the stage for an engaging series. As it unfolds, the narrative skillfully weaves together themes of camaraderie and adventure, echoing the wonder of Eiichiro Oda’s original creation. In essence, One Piece’s live-action debut is a promising and faithful adaptation of one of the grand adventures Oda wrote and drew.