Co-showrunner Steven Maeda claims that adapting Eiichiro Oda’s popular manga One Piece was as difficult as the Straw Hat Pirates’ trek to the Grand Line.
While speaking to TVLine he says, “It’s definitely the biggest undertaking I’ve ever been involved with in television. We’re very fortunate to have had the support to make this version of the show, and also a very healthy budget to be able to pull it all off.”
Maeda reveals that he decided to limit this season to the initial 100 chapters of the manga. He further elaborated on the challenges posed by the diverse array of settings, each distinct and non-repetitive. The production team faces the task of depicting new locations almost every one or two episodes. “There are so many different directions to go in, and none of the sets ever really repeat, which makes it a huge production challenge because they’re going to new places every one or two episodes. I think [the manga] is at 1,089 chapters now and it isn’t finished yet.”
Maeda’s key alteration was accelerating the Marines’ pursuit of the pirate crew in the early episodes, a change from the manga’s pacing where this intensifies later on. This change strategically integrates Vice Admiral Garp into the narrative sooner and introduces Koby as a contrasting character to Luffy. The show uses their dynamic to explore their aspirations of becoming a prominent Marine and pirate respectively, establishing an unconventional friendship.
“The season is just a series of wonderful, inventive, unique locations an and antagonists, That wouldn’t hold the eight episodes together. There had to be a sense that there was a villain who was kind of the main thrust of the first season.”
One Piece is streaming on Netflix.