I keep thinking of actor David Park singing “What Did I Miss?” as Thomas Jefferson in the Manila run of the musical Hamilton. The man is having such a blast playing both Lafayette and Jefferson and it shows.
I can't help but think of him as I write this because, what did I miss? Apparently, “One Piece.”
One Piece, from the wildly imaginative mind of creator Eiichiro Oda, is the best-selling manga of all time and it's been around since 1997. The television show, which debuted in 1999 is still running with a total of 1,075 episodes as of the time I am writing this. I would see that straw hat and skull logo everywhere but for decades I never bothered to ask about it.
It has taken Netflix's live action adaptation of this beloved series to get me to finally take notice.
It is terribly cute and fun. It starts off with the capture of notorious pirate Gold Roger. He is executed in front of townspeople by the marines of a world government. They may have killed him but before he dies, he says his treasure, known as the “One Piece” is still out there, ready for the taking by anyone intrepid, enterprising and brave enough to do so.
A little boy named Monkey D. Luffy bears witness to all this and vows to find the One Piece and “become King of the Pirates.” Despite being advised against it, it remains his dream. Luffy is wide eyed and optimistic. He believes a crew should stick up for each other and that being a pirate is not about greed or cruelty but about freedom and adventure.
In the course of first season's eight episodes, Luffy assembles his crew (who will sometimes respond with “not a crew!”). They are: Nami (Emily Rudd), a thief who also happens to be an expert navigator, Roronoa Zoro (Mackenyu), a three-sword wielding pirate hunter who oddly enough has no qualms sailing by Luffy's side, Usopp (Jacob Romero Gibson), an excellent shot and teller of tall tales who finds himself part of real exploits, and Sanji (Taz Skylar) the ship's cook with superhuman strength.
Together they evade capture at the hands of the marines and fight bizarre villains like Kuro of a Thousand Plans and Buggy, a sadistic clown.
The characters and locations (with names like Orange Town and Syrup Village) are highly imaginative, making the show utterly madcap, silly and strange. One Piece's world is one without phones or Wi-Fi, people communicate via snails known as Den Den Mushi which come in various colors, shapes and sizes.
This series makes me feel like a kid.
If you're done with “One Piece” and are still in search for more lunacy, the second season of “Our Flag Means Death” is out on HBO Asia. We'll find out what becomes of Stede Bonnet and Blackbeard and their crew after the couple's bitter split. Minnie Driver and Rachel House are expected to make appearances as Anne Bonny and Mary Read.
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