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Why An Early One Piece Manga Moment Could Define The Netflix Show

One key moment near the beginning of Netflix’s One Piece could determine the course of the entire live-action TV venture. As the good ship One Piece prepares to sail into the choppy waters of live-action anime adaptations, plenty of questions remain over whether Eiichiro Oda’s long-running manga will float or sink as a Netflix TV series. Having botched the likes of Death Note and Cowboy Bebop, arguably both far better suited for adaptation treatment, One Piece’s arrival will be greeted with no small amount of caution.

How far into the original manga One Piece season 1 will adapt remains a mystery, but flashbacks to Monkey D. Luffy’s youth are guaranteed. Not only has Colton Osorio been cast as the younger Luffy, but Peter Gadiot will portray Red Hair Shanks, who enjoys an instrumental role in Luffy’s flashbacks. This raises the question of whether Netflix’s One Piece will adapt the controversial manga scene where Luffy attempts to prove his pirate credentials by cutting his own face with a dagger.

Luffy’s Scar Scene Will Define Netflix’s One Piece
Young Luffy in One Piece
Happening within the opening panels of Oda’s One Piece manga, Luffy scarring his face lays the keystones of his character. The scene demonstrates Luffy’s determination to become Pirate King, reveals his gung-ho style, and establishes his admiration for Shanks in one quick stab. Needless to say, however, a child cutting their own face with a knife did not come without controversy, and the One Piece anime initially skipped the self-inflicted injury, only adapting it long after One Piece had already become a worldwide success. Whether Netflix’s One Piece shows Luffy scarring himself or concedes to censorship will provide an early indication of what kind of adaptation the live-action series will be.

Showing the story behind Luffy’s face scar would signal One Piece as an authentic adaptation, not afraid to explore the darker aspects of Oda’s manga. Ignoring Luffy’s scar would immediately point toward Netflix’s One Piece as being a sanitized retelling that fails to properly engage with its source material. Coming so early in the story, this decision could potentially set the tone for the entirety of One Piece season 1 on Netflix, and sway early opinion on whether Netflix has broken its anime adaptation curse, or ruined yet another beloved anime and manga property.

Why Netflix’s One Piece Must Show How Luffy Got His Scar
One Piece’s Luffy is incredibly surprised by something.
One Piece is a story of tonal extremes. One minute Luffy is doing hilarious impressions of nakama; the next, his beloved brother has been punched straight through the chest. Some One Piece stories are delightfully silly; others have deep social and political meanings bubbling beneath the surface. Navigating this balance is one of Netflix’s biggest One Piece challenges, and showing the Luffy flashback scar scene would provide a clear sign that the live-action series is willing to visit both ends of the One Piece spectrum. Additionally, the anime’s censored flashback triggered questions about Luffy’s scar from viewers unfamiliar with the manga. The Netflix version must avoid the same problem.

Regardless, showing a child deliberately injuring themselves with a blade to prove their toughness is not exactly something the Netflix One Piece TV series can adapt lightly. Perhaps a happy medium would be to heavily allude toward Luffy scarring himself without resorting to a graphic onscreen depiction of the act itself. Netflix’s One Piece could show Luffy with the dagger to his face, then immediately cut away to the reaction of Shanks’ crew, leaving no doubt as to what happened, but skirting around actually showing the gritty details.


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