The One Piece live-action is only a few days away from reaching Netflix, and tensions are running high. Some fans are hopeful for a good adaptation, while others are — understandably — scared of what’s to come. Adding to the uncertainty, a recent interview with the live-action editor has revealed her limited familiarity with this enduring saga.
In an interview with Nerds and Beyond, Tessa Verfuss — the editor for the upcoming One Piece adaptation — delved into various aspects of the series. However, one detail stood out: she has never actually watched One Piece. Interestingly, Verfuss confessed that what initially drew her to work on the project was its large-scale production, which even resulted in a visit from South Africa’s president to the set.
“Actually, no! There was a lot of buzz around Cape Town that there was this massive show coming in, it’s pretty much the biggest production that’s ever been done in South Africa. The president came to visit the set, that’s how big a deal it is for us. When you hear something that big is coming, obviously you’re gonna be interested whether or not you’re familiar with the IP.”
In addition to this bittersweet admission, Verfuss also shared that her past experience with Black Sails was also an influencing factor in her choice to work on the series, sharing that she wished her past knowledge would come in handy with the live-action production. Unfortunately, that wasn’t necessarily the case, as the shows are quite different at the core.
“When I heard it’s pirates, I was like, ‘Oh, well I’ve done pirates on Black Sails!’ Sword fights, that’s totally right up my alley, but this is a bit different from something like Black Sails — a different vibe.”
As someone who is wholly obsessed with One Piece, and binge-watched Black Sails years ago, it comes as no surprise that someone who isn’t familiar with Eiichiro Oda’s work would wrongfully believe two pirate shows would somehow be similar. However, it does come off as concerning that anyone — even with as much experience and knowledge of the piracy world as Verfuss — would dare work on an adaptation of One Piece without prior knowledge.
Anyone remotely familiar with the manga series can attest to its complex plot and characters, and even more intricate lore that even avid fans have a hard time keeping up with. Personally, I can’t even tell you the amount of times I’ve had to research the brilliant lore and details to just make sense of what is happening in a chapter or episode.
Nonetheless — even with this bit of information — here’s to hoping that the show’s debut on August 31 will prove every single fan wrong.