Netflix has added another 62 episodes of the popular anime series One Piece. With a new live-action, big budget adaptation due to hit at the end of August, now’s a good time to try and catch up with the original animated series. Adapted from the manga by Eiichiro Oda, One Piece is an action-adventure series about a ragtag group of pirates who dream of finding the One Piece – the treasure of a legendary pirate, Gol D. Roger. The series is an interesting mix of genres and plenty of references to real world nautical history inspire different aspects of the show. It also features a series of wild characters often gifted with special abilities and shows ridiculous fight scenes built on spectacle.
One Piece focuses on Monkey D. Luffy, a young pirate who dreams of becoming the king of the pirates and who excitedly throws himself into danger. Luffy is also a ‘Devil-fruit user’ – having eaten a magical fruit that turned him into a rubber man, though took his ability to swim away. Luffy recruits his crew, including dim swordsman Zoro, Casanova-wannabe chef Sanji, cowardly liar Usopp and con-artist navigator Nami. One Piece operates on a series of arcs of varying length and shifts from comedy to drama frequently, though primarily operates as an action series.
With this latest drop of episodes, Netflix has 381 episodes (or 15 arcs) of One Piece available to watch (alongside a few movies), putting it some 680 episodes behind the anime’s actual output. At 381 episodes, this places Netflix’s endpoint at the Thriller Bark arc. Netflix has invested in One Piece, with their upcoming live-action adaptation spending $18million USD per episode. Compare that with the $15m USD per episode spent on the last season of Game of Thrones. Still, even with a gigantic budget, watching the anime series will leave you wondering how this series will transfer to live-action.
The historical drama Domina returns with its second season on Monday. Domina tells the story of Livia Drusilla – wife of Roman emperor Augustus – and her rise to power. In some ways the series recalls the short-lived Rome, even overlapping in some areas of the narrative. While Rome spent much of its focus on the reign of Julius Caesar and the power struggle after his assassination, Domina begins after Caesar’s death and chronicles Livia Drusilla’s banishment from Roman society and then her return. The series jumps forward in time regularly, its first two episodes working more as a prologue to the show proper.
Domina’s main draw though, aside from the historical power struggles that have been adapted to stage, film and TV before, is that it brings a different perspective to the story. Everything is viewed through the lens of Livia’s struggles, both the gruesome murder plots and the subservient role she is expected to fill in society.
The show highlights how little ancient Rome thought of women, wanting to silence them, leave them ignorant and placing importance only on their pregnancies. In fact, Livia spends much of the first half of the show pregnant – though she proves to be much smarter than the arrogant and entitled men she deals with.
And sticking with dramas of greed and ambition, Sylvester Stallone stars in Tulsa King, a series that sees the 77-year-old play a hardened gangster who spent 25 years behind bars to protect his Don. After his release, Dwight Manfredi expects to be rewarded for his loyalty and is instead sent to Tulsa, Oklahoma to establish a base for his crime family – an act he considers banishment.
Stallone plays Manfredi as an intelligent figure, he’s spent 25 years reading classical literature and casually drops references to Julius Caesar, shows his taste in fine clothing and finds it easy to navigate people. He also overpowers several people through sheer force – spending a large part of the first season bullying a marijuana dispensary owner (played by Martin Starr – known for Freaks and Geeks and Spider-Man: Far From Home), recruiting his crew and running afoul of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Tulsa King is an engaging show, contrasting the classic New York City gangster against a more rural, quiet and respectable backdrop. Stallone is joined by an interesting cast including Garrett Hedlund, Andrea Savage, Jay Will, the aforementioned Martin Starr, and Dana Delany.