Netflix’s One Piece brings to the screen the tale of the famed “Straw-Hat Pirate,” Monkey D. Luffy, in an intriguing live-action format. The first season of the Netflix series revolves around a young and ambitious adventurer, Luffy, who has only one dream and wants to achieve it at all costs. Luffy had promised his idol, Captain Shank, that he would someday find the famed One Piece treasure and become the King of Pirates in the process. While the first season is mostly spent introducing us to the world and the characters, with Luffy gathering his crew members, it does set up a solid base for future seasons to come. For someone not well acquainted with the original manga series or the anime, Netflix’s One Piece comes off as an entertaining show that successfully introduces the world so esteemed in recent pop-culture history.
Plot Summary: What Is The Series About?
One Piece begins with a flashback from twenty-two years before the present, at a place called Loguetown, where massive crowds gathered to witness a rare event. In a world filled with pirates and unlawful groups of men who roamed the seas looking for loot and plunder, the notorious King of Pirates had been caught. The police force of the World Government, called the Marines, had worked hard for a number of years to get their hands on the dangerous criminal, Gold Roger. As the stage for a public execution was set up in the city center, Gold Roger fearlessly called out for more piracy and refused to bow down to the authorities. Even as the man was stabbed to death by the Marine officials, he called out to all the aspiring pirates in the world to go find his hidden treasure and make it their own. This esteemed treasure, believed to have been carved out in a single piece, came to be known as the One Piece, and became the object of the adventures of many a pirate. Believed to be rich enough to make one the King of Pirates, the One Piece treasure has never been found by anyone yet.
Twenty years later, at present, a young man named Monkey D. Luffy introduces himself to us aboard his small dinghy boat, with his intentions clear from the get-go. Although still not a pirate in the strictest of terms, Luffy wants to locate the famed treasure in order to become the King of Pirates. However, the man’s inability to swim has him taking shelter inside a barrel, and soon, he finds himself on the ship of a wanted pirate called Alvida. After defeating Alvida using his supernatural power of a flexible rubber-like body, Luffy saves the cabin boy, named Koby, and finds his first friend along the way. Planning to steal the map of the Grand Line, which is where the One Piece treasure is believed to be hidden, Luffy starts coming across various other characters, many of whom become his friends and crew members for life.
What Is The Story Behind Luffy’s Straw Hat?
Out of all things in the world, Monkey D. Luffy’s most prized and loved possession is his iconic straw hat, which the man protects with all his might whenever in danger. When the clown pirate Buggy tortures Luffy for information about the Grand Line map, the protagonist does not mind any of the physical torture but is immediately enraged when his hat is touched. The hat soon becomes the most characteristic feature of Luffy as well, as he and his crew get recognized as the Straw Hat Pirates. The story behind this iconic straw hat is very closely linked to Luffy’s past and the purest bond he had with any other character. Growing up an orphan, Luffy looked up to a pirate named Red-Haired Shanks, who had largely shaped the boy’s life. It was Shanks who taught Luffy that not all pirates had to be inconsiderate and evil, and it was after seeing Shanks and his crew that young Luffy decided to live the pirate life.
As a boy, Luffy always wanted to become part of Shanks’ crew, but the man always claimed that he was not ready yet. Around this time, the boy came across an unidentifiable fruit inside a hidden box and ate it out of curiosity. This happened to be a Devil Fruit, a special fruit in the world of One Piece, which grants different supernatural powers to people owing to the fact that each Devil Fruit is unique. This was how Luffy got his power of flexibility, and in other pirates who had also eaten the Devil Fruit, the powers were different. But as a negative side effect of eating this fruit, Luffy lost the ability to swim, and getting exposed to seawater not only takes away his supernatural power but can also very quickly kill him.
After getting his powers during his childhood, Luffy brashly attacked a vile pirate, and it was then that he first realized the horrific effects of seawater on him. The boy was about to drown and die when Shanks came to his rescue and managed to save Luffy from the pirate and from a dangerous sea monster. Shanks lost one of his arms in the process, but he was happy to have helped his dear friend Luffy. Ever since then, Luffy’s respect and admiration for Shanks had increased even more, and the boy was understandably heartbroken when Shanks and his crew left to find the One Piece treasure and never returned. Before leaving, Shanks had given Luffy his beloved straw hat, and this hat became the only reminder of Shanks for the protagonist. At present, Luffy, therefore, protects the hat from every possible danger and always goes around wearing the hat as a reminder of Red-Haired Shanks.
Who All Became Part Of Luffy’s Crew?
One of the most interesting facts about Netflix’s One Piece is the well-presented backstories of each of the important side characters who gradually become part of Luffy’s adventure. To begin with, the first companion that Luffy finds is the master swordsman, Roronoa Zoro. Unlike most other characters, Zoro is always calm and serious, but he is greatly motivated to achieve his goal of becoming the best swordsman in the world. Zoro’s backstory is gradually revealed, as the man had always been trained to fight with swords and wield two swords at the same time. During his childhood, Zoro only had one friend, a girl named Shimotsuki Kuina, who was actually the only student better at sword fighting than Zoro. After initially challenging each other to regular fights, the two vowed to help each other train every day until Kuina tragically passed away one day. Zoro then took on the personal mission of becoming the best swordsman in the world since he and Kuina had promised that either of them would train to become the best, and he also carries around Kuina’s sword as a third weapon. When Marine Vice Admiral Garp appoints Hawk-Eye Mihawk to hunt down Luffy and his crew, Zoro challenges Mihawk because the latter is currently the best swordsman in the world. Although this fight ends in defeat for Zoro, Mihawk lets the man stay alive, and Zoro becomes all the more determined to keep his promise to Kuina of becoming the best swordsman in the future.
The next member of the Straw Hat Pirates group is a young woman named Nami, who happens to be a thief intending to steal the same Grand Line map from the Marine headquarters. After meeting with Luffy and getting helped by him along the way, Nami initially refuses to be part of any pirate crew, just like Zoro, but the two ultimately end up becoming Luffy’s closest friends. Nami’s character does, however, have an air of mystery and suspicion about her, as she is seen contacting someone after getting hold of the Grand Line map. Revelation with regards to this comes much later in the series, though, and Nami obviously ends up having some personal reasons for her actions.
Usopp, a young man with tall claims of boastful adventures and bravado, becomes the next member of the group when Luffy and his friends go in search of a ship to Syrup Village. Although Usopp is just a meager caretaker at the village’s big shipyard, he happens to be best friends with the owner of the place, Kaya. Having lost her parents during her childhood, Kaya had a sad life owing to a mysterious ailment that weakened her and kept her restricted to her house. Now looked after by her butler, Klahadore, and two servants, Kaya would often feel lonely and dejected, and Usopp would go to cheer her up with his false stories. Eventually, Usopp, Luffy, and the rest of the group save Kaya from danger, as Klahadore turned out to be a notorious pirate named Kuro, who was disguised as a butler to steal all of Kaya’s fortune and kill her. Usopp finally joins the Straw Hat Pirates after an old connection is also discovered, for his father Yasopp used to be a close friend and gang member for Red-Haired Shanks. Luffy, therefore, recognizes Yasopp after hearing his name, and Usopp decides to stick with the crew for more real adventures and acts of bravery.
Lastly, while visiting a floating restaurant named Baratie, Luffy and his friends meet Sanji, a charming waiter who wants to become the chef, much against the wishes of the restaurant owner, Zeff. Like everyone else, Sanji also has a personal mission—to find a place called the All Blue, where fish and supplies from all four seas are believed to be found. Sanji wants to procure these materials and cook up delicious meals, and it is to find the All Blue that he joins up with Luffy and his crew. Sanji’s own backstory and his emotional connection with Chef Zeff are also revealed, for the man had been found by Zeff in his childhood. Zeff used to be a pirate, and after finding Sanji, he carefully protected and raised the boy, but with enough strictness. Zeff always wanted Sanji to leave the Baratie and see the world for himself, and for this, he refused to let Sanji become the chef and settle down for a boring life. Ultimately, though, Zeff also gets his wish as Sanji bids an emotional farewell and leaves with Luffy.
Along with these friends, a number of foes also keep returning in Luffy’s adventures, the biggest being Marine Vice Admiral Garp, who actually turns out to be Luffy’s grandfather. Garp intends to stop Luffy, not only for ethical reasons but also because he does not want his grandson to become a dangerous fugitive who could be killed any day. Garp, therefore, appoints the whole Marine crew to find Luffy and, in the process, trains Koby and Helmeppo. Despite becoming very good friends with Luffy, Koby had decided to become a Marine and protect the helpless, although the man does have a moment of disillusionment about the honor of the Marines. Helmeppo, on the other hand, was the wastrel son of Axe-Hand Morgan, a famous Marine officer who got punished and killed by Garp. Ultimately, though, Helmeppo and Koby become good friends, and they continue to serve the Marines under the leadership of Garp.
Why Does Nami Betray Luffy?
The real story behind Nami’s past and her grand betrayal of the Straw Hat pirates is revealed later on in One Piece. When the Fishman pirate Arlong attacks the group and wants Luffy to work for him, Nami comes out as her real self and hands over the Grand Line map to Arlong. It is revealed that Nami had always been a member of the Arlong Pirates, as proved by her hidden fish tattoo, and it was Arlong whom she had been contacting all this time. However, the real reason for Nami’s actions was much less harmful or villainous than it initially seemed, for the woman had been subjected to a life of suffering from a very young age. Many years ago, a Marine woman named Belle-Mere had been on a mission when she found two very young girls orphaned after a pirate attack. Belle-Mere rescued the two girls and adopted them, naming them Nojiko and Nami. The woman then raised the two as her own daughters in her native Coco village, which was then attacked by Arlong and his fishmen.
The vicious Arlong wanted to take revenge against all humans for having oppressed fishmen for centuries, and he cruelly extorted money from all the villagers in Coco. When Belle-Mere offered to sacrifice herself to save her daughters, Arlong shot the woman dead in front of her two young daughters. After witnessing this and understanding the plight of all the villagers, young Nami decided to somehow help the situation. It was then that she joined Arlong’s group of pirates, against a promise that if she could ever pay one hundred million berries (the currency in the world of One Piece) to Arlong, then he would have to stop the extortion at Coco village forever. In exchange, Nami agreed to help draw maps for the Fishman pirate and help him explore the seas.
At present, while thieving and stealing things from wherever she could, Nami was actually collecting the hundred million berries in order to help her villagers be set free. She had kept all of this a secret from Nojiko and the other villagers, letting them believe that she was a traitor when she actually wanted to keep them safe. She betrays Luffy and the group by handing over the map not only to help the villagers at Coco but also to ensure that Arlong does not kill Luffy. But in the end, Arlong betrays the woman and sends the corrupt Marine Nezumi to take away all the collected money. Despite having collected the hundred million berries, Nami is unable to free her villagers and realizes that it is not possible to do straight business with Arlong.
What Happens To Luffy And His Crew?
During One Piece’s Ending, Nami reunites with Luffy, asking for his help against Arlong, and the fishmen launch an attack on Coco village. Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates retaliate with their own attack at Arlong Park, as Luffy and Nami go to seek revenge. Luffy realizes that he is not powerful enough to beat Arlong yet, and so he instead destroys the fishman’s den, taking apart all the maps and plans set at the place. The scene ends with Luffy destroying the whole map room, and it is not clear what happens to Arlong.
Soon, the Marines led by Garp reach the place, and Nezumi tries to blame Luffy for the attack on Coco village. However, Garp finally realizes that his grandson is extremely determined to become the King of Pirates, so much so that Garp sees a flash of Gold Roger in Luffy. He reveals that he had been testing the will and strength of Luffy for so long, and now, after realizing his resolve, Garp lets Luffy be a free pirate. Luffy and his gang also get their first wanted poster, that too with the highest amount of bounty placed on their heads, as the World Government now sees them as a serious threat. One Piece season 1 ends with Luffy, Zoro, Nami, Usopp, and Sanji coming together once again and setting sail on their ship towards some new adventure as the united Straw Hat Pirates.
What Can We Expect From Season 2?
Along with the satisfying and heroic end, One Piece season 1 also leaves plenty of hints about a possible season 2, which Netflix has yet to confirm. Firstly, Arlong is not really shown to have died, and considering that each of the previous villains, like Buggy and Kuro, are shown to be alive, Arlong might also return for his revenge. Buggy and Alvida are now shown to have teamed up together, as they both want to take down Luffy and his crew. Therefore, the two villains will work together from now on, and whether they join hands with some more baddies remains to be seen.
Unlike what Luffy believed, Red-Haired Shanks is actually seen to be alive as the man is approached by Mihawk with the news of the bounty on Luffy’s head. Despite being rivals, Shanks and Mihawk are seen to be quite friendly, meaning that Mihawk might help Luffy and his crew sometime in the future. Along with this, a secret organization called Baroque Works was also mentioned in One Piece season 1, episode 1, when a representative approached Roronoa Zoro to be a member of their group. What exactly this group is and how they operate might come into play in season 2. Lastly, season 1 also leaves with the teasing image of a man smoking cigars and burning down a poster of Luffy. Who this character is needs to be seen, as he seems to be an important antagonist that Luffy will have to face in One Piece season 2 when it arrives in the future.