In a recent in-depth interview with Screen Rant, Steven Maeda, the co-showrunner of Netflix’s One Piece live-action series, discussed the live-action in great length.
During the interview, Maeda answered numerous questions, ranging from how he began working on the series, his interactions with Eiichiro Oda, and more.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the interview:
Q: “What is exactly that drew you to the story of One Piece? Is there something that particularly resonates with you?”
A: “I thought it was a wonderful combination, a very unique world first off which you don’t see that often in under in big fantasy uh intellectual property and comics and mangas they’re there but they’re hard to come by, but they’re especially hard to find the really good ones and so I was really taken with Oda-san’s World and then the storytelling was so kind of simple and Elemental about a boy who’s following his dreams and who inspires other people to follow their dreams”.
Q: “What were the main challenges of adapting such a popular story and a story coming from such a different medium?”
A: “I would say the biggest challenge was finding the balance um that was the biggest from the get-go with the writing with what stories to tell and how to tell them and how to break them up over a season because obviously when the manga was written it was not with an eye toward an eight-episode television season and so I had to reframe that and kind of figure out okay what’s a good beginning middle and end to the season that has a really interesting storytelling character arcs emotion so it was finding that balance”
Q: “What were some of the hardest moments in this journey?”
A: “I think the hardest part was getting the scripts right getting them right for Netflix getting them right for Oda-san, getting them right for us.
And, it was it was definitely a journey in trying to it’s that balance; trying to figure out how much fan service to pay where to make changes are those changes going to be okay, and how to keep alive the emotional content of those scenes so that even if a scene is not exactly as it was in the manga you still feel the same emotion that you felt when you first read it whether that’s you cry, you laugh, you’re excited thrilled, scared.
The whole point was to try to bring up that emotion and even if something wasn’t a one-to-one um that was that was a huge challenge.”
Q: ” All the showrunners, they must have kept in mind the hard lessons learned by previews live-action adaptations of anime, Cowboy Bebop, Death Note, so how did you try to be different from these shows and what’s the recipe that you found and applied to your show?”
A: “I think that the whole thing about um uh you know has never been a successful anime adaptation is a little overblown.
It’s true and yet at the same time those were all different people who were working on those shows it really wasn’t like it was the same group failing again and again and again.
So I think we just had to have the courage to say hey you know what this one’s going to be different and if we pay the right attention the right amount of attention to the fan base and to keeping those Easter egg moments alive and really giving people a lot of the texture of the one-piece manga and some of the anime as well then we will be forgiven the new stuff that’s added and I certainly hope that’s the case.”
A: “I would say, just trying to figure out the amount of fealty and loyalty that had to be uh given to the manga and initially, look, sometimes when something when something is adapted, it’s very very faithful, sometimes it’s a radical difference where you just take the idea and run with it in a different direction.
It was clear as we were talking about it that getting too far away from the source material was not going to be good in any way sure there were wonderful stories that could be told that were not as close to the manga but I think that rightfully so the fan base would not have accepted those shows because one piece is such a beloved piece of material and so I really wanted to, after a lot of trial and error, really wanted to uh honor what Oda-san wanted to do which was to do; have a version of the show that we felt really good about that he felt really good about.”
Source: Screen Rant Plus on YouTube