Netflix’s One Piece stands little chance of adapting the entire anime, but one character in particular will show whether such a feat is even feasible.

Whether or not Netflix’s live-action One Piece TV show can adapt the entire anime and manga series will hinge on the success or failure of one major character. To say that transforming Eiichiro Oda’s epic One Piece story into a live-action endeavor is ambitious would be an understatement of Elbaf-sized proportions. Even before a single frame has aired, the prospect of Netflix’s One Piece adapting Monkey D. Luffy’s entire voyage is remote. With One Piece clocking in at over 1000 chapters and counting, and Netflix developing a ruthless reputation for canceling TV shows, the live-action adaptation will almost certainly end early – even if it proves successful.


Even working on the extremely unlikely assumption that Netflix allows One Piece to follow Luffy all the way from East Blue to Raftel, however, the live-action TV adaptation still faces a major obstacle. The deeper Netflix dives into One Piece‘s timeline, the more frequently wild and wonderful characters will appear. If One Piece reaches Whole Cake Island, for example, prepare for flowers performing musical numbers. If One Piece makes it to Wano, expect dragons so big they put the Targaryans to shame. Whether One Piece can adapt such weird Oda creations will hinge largely on a single character.

Related: Why Netflix’s One Piece Must Change The Manga’s Ending

Chopper Will Be The Real Test Of Netflix’s One Piece

One Piece Chopper Smug Suit

Netflix may be able to tone down or omit zanier characters for One Piece season 1, but Tony Tony Chopper cannot be avoided and cannot be changed. The Straw Hat Pirates’ resident doctor is a talking, anthropomorphic tanuki – sorry, reindeer – who can transform into various alternate forms ranging from a rampaging monster to a fur-covered humanoid in a bright red hat. If the Netflix One Piece anime adaptation faithfully renders Chopper in live-action and does so without creating an “Ugly Sonic” problem, the TV show would have proved its ability to include the various crazy characters Luffy will meet in later adventures.

With Luffy, Zoro, Nami, Usopp and Sanji all confirmed for One Piece season 1, Chopper’s arrival is an issue the show cannot put off indefinitely. Likewise, removing any of his visually challenging elements would mean Chopper becomes unrecognizable from the One Piece character Eiichiro Oda created. This potential One Piece Chopper problem has already caused a stir online, with fake pictures of live-action Chopper circulating on social media to widespread ridicule. Without question, bringing the Straw Hats’ doctor and emergency food supply to life could dictate the very future of One Piece on Netflix. If Chopper cannot be included successfully, Luffy’s live-action long-term prospects will be severely limited.

How One Piece Can Get Live-Action Chopper Right

One Piece Netflix characters

With his cute appearance and amazing inability to hide properly, Chopper could easily become the “Baby Yoda” of One Piece. Unfortunately, the character demands a level of dialogue and movement that a puppet – even a very elaborate and expensive puppet – would be incapable of. This leaves CGI as the only option, and Detective Pikachu, Sonic the Hedgehog and Guardians of the Galaxy all demonstrate how talking animals can be integrated into live-action environments effectively. The key in each case was finding the required level of balance between the design of a real animal, and the design of a cartoon animal.

One problem the Netflix One Piece show must avoid is making Chopper too realistic. Amplifying Chopper’s animalistic traits would restrict his ability to emote and engage – and then he really would become little more than the Straw Hats’ pet. One Piece‘s best strategy for Chopper is a design that leans into the extraordinary aspects of Chopper’s anime and manga design, but adds touches of realism that lift the hat-wearing reindeer into the real world – most akin to Detective Pikachu out of the above three examples. Chopper will likely not come cheap for Netflix, but if One Piece can get him right, the show can sail forward with confidence.

More: Why Netflix’s One Piece Luffy Design Change Is Actually Good

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