Netflix’s live-action One Piece has given fans of the manga and anime plenty to debate, but one objectively true fact is that the casting is aces. There’s no disputing this, I’m sorry. It’s hard to imagine anyone but Iñaki Godoy being more capable of doing everything a Monkey D. Luffy needs to do. Mackenyu has the kind of emo glower that makes every dang move look cool (including holding a sword in his teeth). The rest of the Straw Hat Pirates all bring their cartoonish counterparts down to Earth enough that they’re not just believable, but alive. People are even simping for dirtbag Buggy — this is what casting directors call success.
So it’s no surprise that, having assembled an almost unreasonably cool crew for the series, Netflix would parade them around the internet for as long as possible. Which is why the streamer delivered an end-of-week package of photos of the cast that seem clearly intended to be printed out, hung on walls, and adored.
This is not a common tactic for Netflix. There was no pal-ing-around-with-my-pals photo shoot for The Witcher. There were no dreamboat layouts for Wednesday tailor-made for teen mags. The Cowboy Bebop adaptation didn’t even earn this otaku-aimed ploy. Part of this may be the societal circumstances around the release of One Piece; Netflix and its partners in the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers remain at a standstill over contracts with both the SAG-AFTRA actor union and the Writers Guild of America screenwriters union, and therefore can’t run traditional publicity campaigns where the series’ good-lookin’ cast might get their individual magazine cover moments.
One wishes the studios could pay everyone fairly and release a bunch of swoon-worthy pics of their stars, but alas. If anything, what follows is a reason to pay actors working at every level what they’re owed so they can keep bringing this energy. This is a skill, folks.
One Piece is heartthrob representation.
The first season of One Piece is currently streaming on Netflix. As for season 2, that’ll likely depend on when the strike resolves. But who would waste this cast with just 10 episodes?