The announcement of Netflix and WIT Studio’s remake of “One Piece,” titled “The One Piece,” aimed at expanding the franchise’s global influence, has reignited discussions among fans regarding Shueisha’s past sentiments towards the long-running adaptation by Toei Animation.
The recent reveal of “The One Piece” in production reminded many fans of Shueisha’s controversial ‘Bustercall Project,’ which unfolded between 2019 and 2020. Shueisha, the publisher of Eiichiro Oda’s “One Piece” manga serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump, seemingly operated under the guise of unofficial accounts to promote fan art and projects. This initiative sought to explore creative possibilities within the “One Piece” universe. Notably, the project also criticized Toei Animation, Bandai Namco, and Fuji TV in interviews for what it deemed as the production of “low-quality” anime adaptations and merchandise, hindering the expansion of the franchise through derivative content. The project essentially considered anything beyond the original “One Piece” manga as derivative work.
Fans have speculated that Shueisha’s previous discontent with the quality of the “One Piece” anime might be a driving force behind the production of the remake. While some agree with criticisms of the anime’s quality, others defend Toei, acknowledging their long-term commitment despite any perceived flaws. Artwork promoted under the Bustercall Project showcased fan-driven creativity and interpretations of the beloved series.
Shueisha’s comments during the Bustercall Project interview expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of the anime and merchandise associated with “One Piece.” They highlighted concerns about the lack of innovative and stylish apparel, cool figures, and cutting-edge games, emphasizing that the current content surrounding “One Piece” did not meet their expectations. Criticism was also directed towards Fuji TV’s branding restrictions, hindering the creation of engaging content promotions. Furthermore, there were remarks regarding the perceived lack of a sense of urgency among rights holders despite authors’ hard work.
Shueisha later issued an apology for the deceptive nature of the Bustercall Project, acknowledging the controversy it generated. However, this led fans to contemplate the implications of Shueisha’s actions and their indirect criticism of Toei Animation and other entities associated with the franchise.
Netflix’s “The One Piece” live-action adaptation has already debuted, breaking records and garnering attention worldwide. The upcoming “The One Piece” anime remake by WIT Studio, in collaboration with Netflix, presents another opportunity to captivate a new generation of viewers. Despite Toei and Fuji TV being listed on the production committee for the remake, there’s uncertainty about their involvement, leaving some individuals currently working on the anime dissatisfied. An animation director expressed disappointment at the remake, hinting at a sense of devaluation of the anime built up until now.
Netflix plans to stream “The One Piece,” featuring Monkey D. Luffy and his crew’s adventures in search of the legendary One Piece treasure. The series is anticipated to introduce the iconic story to a new audience through a reimagined animated format.