It’s been annoying for years and it just doesn’t get any better

Its been annoying for years and it just doesnt get
One Piece is a hit in every way. As the best Netflix series of 2023 so far, it delights anime fans with passionate actors, detailed sets and great respect for the original. But there’s just one problem that’s been bothering me since the first second, and I just can’t ignore it. Although the budget is higher than Game of Thrones, the series suffers unspeakable Netflix look. The big One Piece problem: what is the Netflix look?

Netflix series all look the same. At least that is the opinion of many subscribers. And they’re not wrong: In many of the streamer’s series and films, the image appears strangely artificial and empty, the colors are too bright and the perspective is too flat. Great publications themselves seem like Instagram parodies of their own story. Unfortunately, this is no different with One Piece.

The pirate adventure around Luffy (Iñaki Godoy) looks too clean and tidy. The costumes look fresh off the rack, every deck and every hut is sparkling clean. Make-up is more reminiscent of carnival than the everyday appearance of a figure. Characters like Morgan (Langley Kirkwood) and Beauregard (Alexander Maniatis) look like avid cosplayers, but not like real people. And that makes the series worse.


Beauregard (Alexander Maniatis) and Miss Kaya (Celeste Loots) in One Piece

Why is the Netflix look in One Piece a problem?

If settings and characters seem artificial to me, I develop a distance from them. I’m constantly aware that I’m watching a series and can only be excited up to a certain limit. In order to avoid this phenomenon, there are techniques in film production such as invisible editing: image changes that are as inconspicuous as possible, which are not intended to drag viewers out of the story and back into the cinema.

But when I see Morgan’s signal-colored outfit and Beauregard’s sterile, wrinkle-free suit, Netflix reminds me that I’m watching a series. Instead of immersion, there is abstraction. This is also problematic because it goes against the experience of the original anime. The optics there are also exaggerated, but not abstracted. I do not think so: “I’m currently looking at a cultural product from Japan.“No. I’m going on an adventure with Luffy and the Straw Hats.


Morgan (Langley Kirkwood) in One Piece

But when it comes to the Netflix adaptation, I keep thinking: “Aha, here they have glued decorative dishes to the wall. This is a set ship in South Africa. Ropes were certainly used for this scene. Did the stars have fun?“And the more I think that, the more irrelevant the actual story becomes to me.

Corona measures have certainly made the One Piece sets appear even emptier and forced the camera to compress the space using a fisheye lens. But the Netflix look is a much bigger problem and goes beyond both the pandemic restrictions and the anime adaptation.

This is how the Netflix look comes about

The Netflix look is even seen in flagship series like The Witcher or Wednesday. In Red Notice or The Gray Man he literally jumped at the audience. The superhero series Jupiter’s Legacy also has the same problem as One Piece: empty locations and costumes that make the film world look like a caricature, not to mention the boring color correction that makes everything look the same.


Jupiter’s Legacy

But what is this aesthetic actually about? As a VICE article analyzes, it’s probably a mixture of a lack of budget and Netflix’s production policy. A lot of money is spent on the stars’ fees on big projects; costumes and make-up lose out. Even a pile of money like One Piece doesn’t help, which even exceeds the cost of Game of Thrones.

Incidentally, the streamer demands this from producers use of certain cameras, all of which are at least 4K capable. Their images appear flat, especially on a cell phone or laptop, and are ridiculously sharp at the edges. So will fans just have to accept One Piece’s Netflix look in the future?

Will One Piece look different in season 2?

The streamer is not expected to change its production standards any time soon. But there is always hope. For the second season of One Piece I want an aesthetic that which is more similar to Pirates of the Caribbean than the Teletubbies. Who doesn’t distort every picture of my heroes into a caricature. Thanks to the passion of the series’ producers and cast, the Netflix look is easy to get over. But without him she is almost perfect.

Podcast for One Piece fans: The German Luffy voice in an interview about the Netflix series

Netflix’s One Piece series breaks the curse of bad anime adaptations. A highlight of the shrill pirate adventure is the return of the well-known German anime voices. Monkey D. Luffy explains to us personally why that was the only right decision in the podcast conversation.

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Voice actor Daniel Hose has been lending his voice to the Straw Hat pirate Luffy for over 20 years. In the podcast he talks to us about his work on the Netflix adaptation and reveals why he almost turned down the job. We also discuss our highlights from Netflix’s One Piece.

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