The streaming industry’s impact, both good and bad, will likely remain a topic of discussion for many years. However, one undeniable achievement of streaming is its ability to expose international shows to a broad, global audience like never before. Netflix stands as a testament to this, with U.S. viewers eagerly embracing series such as Spain’s Money Heist, France’s Lupin, and notably, the South Korean sensation, Squid Game.
Recently, Netflix introduced American audiences to one of Japan’s beloved franchises by producing a live-action version of the celebrated manga and anime, One Piece. The fantastical pirate saga by Eiichiro Oda is experiencing a surge in popularity. Although the series has always been a hit in Japan and among dedicated anime enthusiasts worldwide (boasting over 1,000 episodes), its cultural presence is currently unparalleled.
The live-action One Piece made a stunning debut, topping Netflix’s TV charts, and soon after, it was confirmed for a second season. Adding to the buzz, Academy Award winner Jamie Lee Curtis expressed her desire to portray the character Doctor Kureha in the upcoming season. Moreover, the lead character, Monkey D. Luffy, will be showcased as a balloon in the forthcoming Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Yet, amid this ubiquity of One Piece characters, the one face notably absent is that of the series’ creator, Eiichiro Oda. True to the nature of his creation, where characters’ faces grace wanted posters, Oda prefers to remain elusive, safeguarding his personal privacy.
However, the team responsible for the Netflix adaptation wanted to honor the visionary behind the saga that began in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1997. To this end, they had Iñaki Godoy, the series’ star, present a unique token of appreciation to Oda. In a rare move, Oda allowed himself to be filmed (though his face remained hidden) during the unveiling of this special gift, which was subsequently shared on the show’s Instagram.
And the cherished gift? A prop transponder snail! This snail, distinct with its humanesque mouth, serves as a communication tool in One Piece’s nautical realm. It’s among the more inventive facets of Oda’s imaginative universe — something he probably never expected to see materialize in real life.