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Warning: Spoilers ahead!
The Straw Hats is the name of Luffy’s pirate crew! This article will contain many references to the live action series and anime, so it would be better appreciated if you have knowledge about One Piece.
Conversely, if you read this with no prior knowledge, maybe this will make you curious enough to check out the show!
As an avid anime watcher, I decided to dip my toe into the world of live-action by watching Netflix’s Death Note. Never again, I decided.
Turns out, there was a reason why so many people were skeptical when the One Piece adaptation was announced. Netflix has had a reputation for deviating from the original material, not focusing on character development, and making questionable casting decisions.
Fast forward to September 2023, when I noticed numerous edits about a certain green-haired man popping up all over my For You Page (FYP). Fascinated, I opened the comment section and discovered that he was Zoro, from the recently released One Piece live-action.
Everybody loved him. They couldn’t get enough. After watching it, I completely understand why.
@onepiecenetflix We love Zoro a totally normal amount. #OnePieceNetflix #OnePiece #OnePieceLiveAction ♬ original sound – One Piece Netflix
Having found my newest obsession and riding the waves of excitement from finishing the show in one shot, here are five things I learned from the Straw Hats:
From Luffy: Stay True to Yourself
Luffy’s strengths? He is absolutely fearless, very extreme, and frighteningly stubborn. Luffy’s weaknesses? He is absolutely fearless, very extreme, and frighteningly stubborn.
Despite appearing childish, he is fiercely protective of his friends, and would never give up on them even if they give up on themselves.
Throughout his long journey, Luffy has never wavered from his goal: To become King of the Pirates. I simply love the moments where Luffy looks up at a terrifying new enemy and pronounces his goal with the utmost confidence – while his crew reacts in various states of disbelief.
He has absolutely no doubt in his ability to achieve his dream, and his confidence is contagious: I have the utmost faith in him. I aspire to have even a fraction of his deep-rooted ambition and morals.
From Zoro: Healthy Rivalry Should Benefit Both Sides
When Zoro was younger, he had already set his sights on becoming the world’s greatest swordsman. The person standing in his way? His childhood rival, Kuina. He had not once won a fight against her despite their numerous duels.
One day, after a particularly humiliating defeat, he decided that there was no point fighting anymore because he would never win. He decided to give up.
To his surprise, Kuina revealed that she also felt helpless. She expressed her fear that although she might be strong now, she believed that Zoro would grow up to be physically stronger and faster, and there was nothing she could do about it.
Instead of being glad that his rival felt this way, Zoro told her that she couldn’t give up, because she was his goal. He declared, “Let’s fight every day. We’ll keep getting better and stronger until one of us becomes the greatest.”
That is healthy competition, when people push each other to be better instead of trying to drag the other down.
From Nami: It’s Okay to Ask for Help
I have to admit, I was skeptical about Nami throughout the first few episodes. Her secretive nature and, well, constant declarations that she was not a part of the crew, did not give me the best impression of her.
However, it is then shown that she is simply a complicated character who sacrifices herself for others, not caring if they misunderstand and hate her for it.
She didn’t want to needlessly endanger her friends when they encountered Arlong, thinking that it would be better for her to abandon them now before things take a turn for the worse.
Of course, Luffy would not let his crewmate leave just like that, and when she finally broke down and asked him for help in a heartbreaking sequence, her crew was more than happy to fight for her.
Things might have been settled earlier had she opened up to her friends sooner, but this character arc really showed that when you choose to suffer alone, you could end up hurting the people around you too.
From Usopp: DON’T LIE! (But also, anyone can have a redemption arc.)
Like the proverbial boy who cried wolf, Usopp was the boy who cried pirates, and when they really came, no one believed him.
It was a big blow for him when even the person he cared about most did not believe him when he said that danger was coming, but he demonstrated courage when he decided to stay and face the repercussions of his lies.
Throughout the rest of the series, Usopp demonstrated some character development and instead of purely telling tall tales, he started developing his own style of fighting to back up these claims.
He still has a long way to go, but I’m sure he’ll continue growing into a brave warrior of the seas!
From Sanji: Never Forget Where You Came From (or who got you there)
The moment Sanji appeared on screen, I knew for sure he was going to be an interesting character. The aggressive love-hate way (mostly hate) he interacted with the head chef at his restaurant, Zeff, just screamed dramatic backstory.
Then he met the rest of our Straw Hats, and the polarizing difference between how he treated Nami and the guys was just hilarious to witness.
Despite how Zeff did everything he could to make Sanji quit, Sanji did not hesitate to protect Zeff and the restaurant with all his might when enemies attacked.
This complicated relationship was explained when it was revealed that Zeff saved Sanji’s life when Sanji was just a little boy by sacrificing a part of himself.
The reason? Sanji has the same dream as him, to find the All Blue. “If I can’t find it…maybe you can. So, I’m going to need you to live on, and I’m going to need you to fulfill that dream. For both of us.”
This part of the series was the one that actually made me shed a tear.
Sanji has forever been grateful, staying at the restaurant because he believes he owes Zeff his life. However, they also know that Sanji will never achieve his dream if he never takes the first step.
Their tearful (and insult-filled) goodbye was truly heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. Superb acting from the actors.
@onepiecenetflix Straw Hats! Toss your 👞 up and tell us your dream! 🏴☠️👑 #OnePieceNetflix #OnePieceLiveAction #OnePiece ♬ original sound – One Piece Netflix
My Final Thoughts
Season 1 ended with each of the Straw Hat Pirates’ declaring their dreams once more before setting off into the Grand Line.
Coupled with the hopeful music, it was truly a powerful moment that, I kid you not, convinced me to start watching the anime (which currently has more than 1000 episodes)! I simply can’t wait to know what happens next.
After all, seeing these characters hold on to their dreams no matter what made me yearn to find my own dream, something that I can strive towards with enthusiasm.
They have truly inspired me, and somehow, I think –
The journey has just begun.