One Piece creator talks Netflix's live-action series: "If I wasn't satisfied, this wouldn't see the light of day"

Netflix's One Piece still featuring all of the Straw Hats from the show on Going Merry
(Image credit: Netflix)

More than 25 years after One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda had the first chapter published, the live-action adaptation has released on Netflix. The entire eight-episode first season is available to stream right now, but it's been a long road to get to this point. Even so, there's a light on the horizon as Netflix has officially renewed One Piece for a second season.

But ahead of the show's initial release, GamesRadar+ attended a roundtable interview with Oda where he addressed changes made for the live-action show, giving his final blessing, and exactly how involved he was in the production.

According to Oda, it's all about the characters in One Piece when it comes to the changes. "The flashbacks [...] are a very, very important part of giving backstories to our Straw Hat characters, so that the readers can really understand where these people come from, and fall in love with them," says Oda through a translator. "And so we were very, very deliberate in making sure that part of their characters and their backstories were depicted fully in the adaptation. And we had a lot of conversations to make it right. But as a result, I think we ended up with very, very strong backstories to fill out these characters."

Monkey D. Luffy points to the horizon in One Piece live-action adaptation still

(Image credit: Netflix)

That's not to say that this was an easy or simple process. According to Oda, getting his final sign off on the project wasn't just down to one thing or another; it was everything.

"I cared about every detail in the show, and I didn't want to compromise," says Oda. "Whether it's the story, whether it's the action, I wanted to make sure that the final product is something that fans can watch and really, really, truly enjoy. And so I wanted to be the break to make sure that if things are not working out, we can stop this at any moment. That was important to me."

In fact, according to the One Piece creator, it wasn't always smooth sailing. It got to the point where he even believed Netflix's One Piece would end up pushed to 2024.

"There was a time when I really thought we had to postpone this until next year or something because we were getting down to the wire," he says. "May or June we were still discussing various details, and I was giving notes on a lot of different scenes, a lot of very detailed things. And I wasn't sure if it was going to be possible. But thankfully the production team responded to all of my notes, and they made it happen at a pace that surprised even me, and we were able to make this happen."

If it sounds like Oda was heavily involved in the making of the live-action show, that's because he was. Though, according to him, it was largely in the sense that he was allowed "the final blessing on all aspects" rather than being, say, on set.

"Whether it's in the outline form, whether it's the scripts, whether it's the editing, they allow me to essentially say, 'This is good enough to go out there,'" says Oda. "And if I wasn't satisfied, this wouldn't see the light of day. And there were times when I would be very, very blunt with my notes about things that I wasn't happy with, and they responded to all of those."

Showrunner Steven Maeda echoed Oda's explanation of his involvement when we spoke with him as well:

"Oda-san was very opinionated, very challenging, and constantly on us to say, 'Is that One Piece?' And it was really interesting for the writers and producers to kind of learn One Piece from him and from the source material, but then also to see that translated through to all our department heads as we got into production, because it's such a steep learning curve to understand what is One Piece and what is not. And I'm hoping that we got that mostly right. But it was definitely challenging for everybody, and I feel like we got it."

While you wait for Netflix's One Piece season 2, here's where to get started with reading the One Piece manga.

Rollin Bishop
US Managing Editor

Rollin is the US Managing Editor at GamesRadar+. With over 16 years of online journalism experience, Rollin has helped provide coverage of gaming and entertainment for brands like IGN, Inverse,, and more. While he has approximate knowledge of many things, his work often has a focus on RPGs and animation in addition to franchises like Pokemon and Dragon Age. In his spare time, Rollin likes to import Valkyria Chronicles merch and watch anime.