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Netflix Knows The Stakes Are High With The One Piece Live-Action Series

Live-action series can be a gamble, especially when they are based on well-known properties. Two of the biggest victims of unfaithful adaptations are video games and manga; both have seen countless projects fail to capture what made the original so popular to begin with. Netflix is hoping to defy the odds with the upcoming "One Piece" live-action series.

This isn't the first time the streaming service has delved into manga and anime. Their 2021 adaptation of "Cowboy Bebop" wasn't met with the anticipated enthusiasm; featuring a talented cast and the anime's iconic soundtrack, the project seemed to be a sure bet for the service. Critical reception was less than favorable, though. "This Cowboy Bebop, far from a triumph of translation, exists as a cautionary tale of artistry crushed beneath the Netflix house style," Inverse stated in their review. Instead of outlasting the criticism, the service would cancel "Bebop" after just one season (via Indiewire).

Everything about the new "One Piece" represents a major move for Netflix. Its success could signal a new wave of live-action titles suited to the market or drive them further away from that IP. A significant figure at the service is even feeling the pressure to make this title work; they are speaking out about their hopes and fears for the series.

Netflix's Director of Original Series is learning lessons from past failures

Ted Biaselli is an important voice in Netflix's original projects. As the service's Director of Original Series, he's been at the head of an onslaught of ratings juggernauts and experiments with various genres. Not everything is up to par, and Biaselli recognizes how significant "One Piece" can be towards future live-action projects.

First and foremost for Biaselli is dealing with the rigors that come along with these high-profile series. "The pressure of live-action anime has always been a disaster, and I do not want that on my record," he told the "Gayest Episode Ever" podcast (via CinemaBlend). In a nod to the criticism that Netflix didn't understand manga and anime, the Director of Original Series was keen to show his appreciation for the source material. "I want to be the guy that understands what they're making and the intention behind the source material and how we translate that and bring that to life," he added.

One of his biggest intentions seems to be straying away from the obvious traps when doing adaptations. He mentioned avoiding those shot-for-shot remakes, something "Cowboy Bebop" famously accomplished during its opening sequence. Biasilli also shied away from the prospect of taking IP and throwing out everything else. This time, he's looking for a middle ground that will appease newcomers and fans alike.