Almost exactly 20 years ago, Shueisha’s “Weekly Shonen Jump” began publishing One Piece, writer/illustrator Eiichiro Oda‘s serialized story about a band of powerful pirates sailing the open water of the Grand Line in search of the world’s greatest treasure. That story still continues to this day, as fans of the long-running manga and ongoing anime adaptation know full well. The best-selling manga series of all time, as of June of this year, has also inspired 13 animated features films, 11 television specials, and numerous spin-offs like video games and other merchandise. But now, the eternally popular series might just be getting a live-action adaptation.
According to Japan Times (via BC), One Piece is getting a live-action TV series treatment through Shueisha, Inc. and Marty Adelstein‘s Tomorrow Studios; manga creator Oda will act as executive producer on the series. Details such as budget, distribution deals, and likely release date haven’t been released; it’s probably enough at the moment just to consider that this massively ambitious project is even being attempted. The announcement was made in celebration of the manga’s 20th anniversary of publication.
Obviously the popularity and marketing potential of One Piece has elicited offers over the years, as confirmed by Hiroyuki Nakano, editor in chief of Shonen Jump:
There have been offers from various directions about live-action before but they did not really get settled for a number of reasons. This time, it’s finally come to the point where we can make an announcement. This means that we consider the project this time to have exceeded our expectations,… so please look forward to it.
Adelstein, whose Tomorrow Studios also announced their plans for a live-action Cowboy Bebop series just a couple of months back, also weighed in:
“I’ve been a fan of One Piece for 20 years. I am so honored that Shueisha and Oda-san have entrusted me with such a cherished iconic property. I will do everything in my power to make the One Piece TV series an absolute success. While I expect this to be one of the most expensive shows ever done in television, the worldwide interest is tremendous and will be well worth the financial commitment.”
The ever-hard-working and rarely sleeping Oda commented as well:
“I received numerous offers for live action adaptations for One Piece. Three years ago, I finally decided to take a step forward on a live-action adaptation. After twists and turns, I met the right partner. It is a great coincidence yet pleasure that I’m able to announce the live action adaptation today on the 20th anniversary of One Piece. The first condition I presented is that ‘the live-action will be faithful to the fans who have supported One Piece for 20 years.’ I expect to hear worries from fans but more than that, I’m looking forward to hearing the excitement. Stay tuned for more news on the project!”