The world popular manga series One Piece is finally coming to Netflix through a live-action series that features 10 episodes for the first season of the show, covering the East-Blue Saga, the first half of the Strawhats’ journey. One-piece manga in itself is widespread around the globe and the readers especially love the multitude of genres the manga has managed to incorporate.
From shonen action to immaculate character developments, colossal worldbuilding, captivating history, and sophisticated geography, the manga has upheaved the art of storytelling. The much-celebrated Manga series, drawn by Eiichiro Oda, has found its way to bring in a breath of fresh air in the form of live-action. I
n the light of how fans have always been sceptical about the live-action of their favourite manga and anime not living up to their expectations, the live-action for One Piece might be a different case, as Oda himself has been actively involved in the casting and pre-production phase of the series. Let’s move on to the casting of our east-blue strawhats.
Emily Rudd ( playing Nami )
If it’s one actor who has been gathering attention to play one of the strawhats, it’s Emily Rudd for the character of “Cat Burglar” Nami. The actor was anticipated to be second to none by the fan of the manga when it comes to portraying Nami’s role in the live-action series. We could see pictures of her with edited orange dyed hair circulating on the internet even prior to any announcement regarding Netflix’s live-action.
Consequently, Rudd, who was already popular in people’s eyes for the role, was the one to be chosen when the series was finally planned. As a matter of fact, the actor seems to be quite a fan of Nami herself, as she recently shared screenshots of the navigator from manga panels, including a sweet family picture of Nami, Nojiko and their foster mother Bellmere.
Emily has been fond of the character way back when there were no rumours whatsoever surrounding the live-action. To show you what I mean, the actor was seen posting a video of Nami and familiarizing herself with the character, which can be a good thing for successfully portraying the role.
Aside from One piece, Rudd seems to be no stranger to Japan’s anime culture, as she is seen posting anime related pictures multiple times on her Instagram. She recently posted a picture from the romantic fantasy film Your Name. Similarly, the actor has also posted about other animes like Tokyo Ghoul and Death Note, and Sailor Moon.
As we can already see that the actor is a fan of Japanese anime, she definitely understands the culture and can incorporate her understanding of Nami’s role.
Speaking of past works, Rudd also featured in Netflix’s Fear Street, and you can also see her in DJ Snake’s Let me Love You, featuring Justin Bieber.
Iñaki Godoy ( As Monkey D. Luffy )
It is difficult to find someone who has the charisma and goofiness that Luffy has, and casting Inaki as Luffy might be bang on, as we can see the actor’s fun-loving attitude in his Instagram posts, and capture that trait of Luffy might come naturally to him.
At the same time, that resemblance is not enough when it comes to playing a character like Luffy, who despite being goofy while hanging out with Usopp, has a lot of depth and willpower. Luffy is one of the faces of Shonen, and Godoy has been throwing himself in for in-depth research on the character.
I’ve been doing my research on one piece and I know how much this means to all of you. I wanna let you know I will do my best and I appreciate all the kindness you’ve showed me. THANK YOU FOR THE TRUST.
Like Emily, Inaki has also worked with Netflix before. He appeared in the Mexican crime-drama soap series, Who Killed Sara?, in which he plays Bruno.
The 18-year-old actor is also set to appear on the sci-fi and fantasy show “The Imperfects”.Inaki recently posted a video on his Instagram about how he’s proud of his Mexican Ethnicity.
What a thrill to share this news with you, and what pride to be Mexican. I’M GOING TO BE THE KING OF PIRATES !!!
Hopefully, he’ll nail the role he has been presented with.
Mackenyu ( as ZORO)
Zoro is the embodiment of strength, burning ambition and utmost loyalty. As the character would be from Japan in the real world, Mackenyu, also being a Japanese actor, has the ferocity that’s needed to portray Zoro’s role. As an illustration, take a look at this clip, where Mackenyu shows his swordplay portraying Enishi Yukishiro, the final villain of the Rurouni Kenshin live-action series in Rurouni Kenshin.
He recently shared BTS shots from one piece filming by announcing he is thrilled to work on the project.
Mackenyu’s keenness with acting and martial arts comes from his father, who has remained a martial arts legend in his own right, and also has had roles in American films like “Kill Bill” and “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”.
The Canadian actor Keanu Reeves has great admiration for the legendary actor.
We can assume that Mackenyu has learnt some skills from his father that might come in handy while playing our Three-sword style green-haired swordsman, like Chiba, who passed away recently of COVID, also played Hattori Hanzo, a retired swordsman, in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill.
Even the Canadian actor Keanu Reeves has great admiration for the legendary actor and they even met one another during the actors trip to Japan.
Jacob Romero Gibson ( USOPP)
Moving on to Jacob, the man who is aiming to become the brave warrior of the seas as God Usopp, is already building the hype for the character as you can see in his Instagram profile picture.
The actor also shared his utmost gratitude for getting the opportunity to portray the character of the Sniper of the strawhat pirates.
Speaking of his past works, the actor has had a recurring role in Green leaf and even had a short role in Grey’s Anatomy.
With each adventure comes the fear of the unknown, and at the same time, the resolve to overcome it. Such a man is Usopp, who being funny at times also showcases both fear and bravery. It will be a treat to the eyes to see how Jacob bring the great Usopp to life.
Taz Skylar ( SANJI )
Moving on to the chivalrous chef Sanji, the role has been assigned to Taz Skylar. Getting into Sanji’s character can be a daunting task, as the character itself is complex and has many layers to him. Kindness, strength and principles, all tangled into one person, it will be interesting to see how well Taz manages to pull this off, and if he does pull it off, then he will make the role memorable for all the viewers, especially with his heartwarming scenes in Baratie.
The actor, who was born in the Canary Islands to an Arabic father and British mother, is represented by Independent Talent and does theatre shows as well. After having worked on his feature film debut ”The Kill Team” and in Agatha Christie’s ”Witness For The Prosecution”, the theatre actor is looking into inspirations for the roles, and just like Inaki, is doing his bit of research as well.
For all the Canaries, Spaniards and Latin Americans who are fans of One Piece! Thank you very much for all your positivity in the last days! The thousands of messages I have received have given me infinite energy to work until my legs bleed in the gym and until my hands bleed in the kitchen, to give Sanji the spirit they deserve! Thank you! I will make my island of Tenerife proud of me!
Overall, the cast of One Piece’s live-action series seems very promising and all we can do is have faith in the entire team involved in the making of this series.