What can the One Piece live action series learn from Dragon Ball Evolution’s failure?

What can the One Piece live-action series learn from Dragon Ball Evolution's failure

The dread of live-action adaptations by anime fans is entirely baseless but rather due to the result of similar attempts in the past. One of the most infamous of these is the movie Dragon Ball Evolution, which is brought up almost every time whenever the topic of Live Action anime adaptation is discussed. What can the One Piece live action series learn from Dragon Ball Evolution’s failure? Let’s find out.

Changes to the Core Plot

Evolution of the art style of anime since the 1950s
Dragon Ball 1986 | Image Courtesy via IMDb
  • One of the most discernable changes in the Dragon Ball Evolution movie is its plot. Dragon Ball is not the most intricately woven anime, especially in terms of the story. But even then, the narrative was simple and engaging enough for a battle-shounen series based on martial arts.
  • However, Evolution hijacked the entire plot and turned it into a weird, cliched ‘Save-the-world’ mess.

In the case of One Piece, this plot integrity is extremely crucial. Oda is known to sprinkle details and foreshadowing all over the series to later revisit. If the Netflix series changes some crucial aspect of the series, say Luffy’s Devil Fruit origin for example, that would threaten the entire foundation of the show, ruining any potential future seasons.

Tone and Characterization Changes

Another very noticeable change in the Dragon Ball Evolution change was how the overall tone and characters felt. Dragon Ball was supposed to be a comedy anime filled with witty quips and over-the-top comical scenes. The movie, however, was serious just for the sake of being serious rather than setting up a truly tense atmosphere with stakes.

Dragon Ball Evolution also shows Goku as a teenager from the get-go, which consequently led to all the shortcomings mentioned above. Many fans also complained about how the characters didn’t sound like themselves. The One Piece live-action trailer does sound promising in this regard, but we can’t be too sure without witnessing the final product.


5 Issues that could ruin the One Piece live-action series
Image Courtesy of Netflix
  • The most significant barrier when it comes to adapting animes as live-action movies or series has to be the budget, specifically the VFX and CGI budget. Dragon Ball Evolution wasn’t exactly a masterpiece in terms of the technicalities either.
  • The CGI was sloppy in most places. Piccolo never felt like Piccolo and the special abilities like Kamehameha were lackluster.

This would be a huge challenge to overcome as far as the One Piece live-action is concerned. The entire series is built upon bizarre characters and weird powers alongside enigmatic creatures and phenomena. It is not too far-fetched to say that the depiction of Devil Fruit’s powers would be the metric to calculate the success of One Piece live action.


After the recently revealed trailer of One Piece trailer, many fans have chosen to be optimistic. While most live-action adaptations in the past like Dragon Ball Evolution ended up being a total disrespect towards the parent series only to be religiously ignored by the fans.

However, since Oda himself was involved in the development of the One Piece live-action, it might exceed the expectations of fans and critics as well, finally breaking the live-action curse.

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