Let’s pick up all the one pieces together.

Earlier we reported on the two-day One Piece Day 2023 extravaganza held at Tokyo Big Sight on 21 and 22 July while also being livestreamed around the world on YouTube. If you weren’t one of the two million fans who watched or if you just want to relive it all, here’s everything that went down.

The first day featured a showing of the huge hit film One Piece Film: Red which grossed over 31.9 billion yen (US$227M) globally. Since this screening was full of die-hard fans, everyone was encouraged to cheer throughout. And who better to cheerlead than cast members Kaori Nazuka who played Uta and Jellyfish Pirate voice actors Seiya and Soshina from the comedy group Shimofuri Myojo.

▼ Chopper was also there to help warm up the crowd.

The second day was a much more jam-packed affair that started with the world premier of the latest trailer for the Netflix live-action series introduced by the anime series’ voice actors Mayumi Tanaka (Monkey D. Luffy), Kazuya Nakai (Roronoa Zoro), Akemi Okamura (Nami), Kappei Yamaguchi (Usopp), and Hiroaki Hirata (Sanji).

The venue also had a section dedicated to the series with displays of costumes and props.

After the trailer, a special message from series creator Eiichiro Oda about the live-action series was read by Mayumi Tanaka:

“The teaser and the trailer for the live-action ONE PIECE are both out now, and the launch date for the show itself is set for August 31. I’ll say this, there are no compromises on this show! And the festivities have already begun! It’s already fun seeing the flurry of reactions after each release of information. And the very fact that adapting ONE PIECE into live-action was conceived 7 years ago is wild!

How will this world be brought to life!? There was so much that went into it – all the efforts by the actors, the building of the world and the costumes, presenting things in a way that can only be done in live-action, the dialogue, and the entire process of so many people putting their heads together was a festivity in and of itself. After the launch, I’m sure I’ll hear about some people pointing out how this character is missing or that scene is omitted, or this bit is different from the manga. But I’m sure they’ll come from a place of love, so I intend to enjoy even those comments! lol

The story will span 8 episodes and take us up through you-know-where!! Even after the shoot was over, there were numerous scenes the production agreed to re-shoot because I felt they weren’t good enough to put out into the world. On the other hand, there were also some lines that I thought didn’t feel like Luffy on paper, but when I saw the filmed scenes, I went, “it works when it’s Inaki performing it as Luffy! As a matter of fact, it works great!!” (Inaki is the actor who plays Luffy) There was so much works that had to be done to keep things from looking too unnatural in live-action.

The producers and the crew are pros at live-action and frankly, they’re ONE PIECE superfans, too. The more knowledgeable you are about ONE PIECE, the more you’re likely to notice the love they poured into this. It was June when we made the final decision to go ahead and launch this show. MY editor who’d worked so hard on this actually cried as he said, “It was such a long journey…” lol. Not that working hard on something guarantees success, of course. By now I just love this production team and the cast so much. I can’t wait for them to get the acclaim they deserve from everyone around the world. And if by chance people have some gripes, I’ll be there to receive them together! No, whatever feelings you choose to harbor in the meantime, it’s still going to be one month so please have some tea as you wait!”

Things got really exciting when the actors and production team shared behind-the-scenes stories about the Land of Wano Arc because along with all the dishing fans got to see the first-ever look at the debut of Gear 5.

That was followed by a bunch of announcements for never before seen One Piece games and other merch, such as a lot of Gear 5 gear that will be available at UFO catchers or through convenience store raffles all over Japan.

▼ The One Piece Card Game Ultra Deck: The Three Captains is also set to be released in English this November.

The surprises continued right to the end as well, when Maki Otsuki, the singer of the first two ending themes “Memories” and “Run! Run! Run!” appeared to perform them. She also announced that on 6 August when Gear 5 makes its debut, the One Piece anime will once again have an ending theme for the first time since 2006. That theme will be the song “Raise” by Chili Beans.

▼ Maki Otsuki

▼ “Raise” by Chilli Beans

The other big announcement was that a new opening theme song will also arrive along with Gear 5, a yet-to-be-titled song performed by the hugely popular band Sekai No Owari.

▼ Sekai No Owari

And with that, another successful One Piece Day came to a close with Otsuki singing “We Are!” with the other panelists and fans singing along.

If you missed it, the good news is that the livestreams from both Day 1 and Day 2 can still be viewed on YouTube. That ought to be enough to tide everyone over until One Piece Day 2024 drops anchor once again.

Images: ©Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, Toei Animation
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