Luffy’s adventure is now so big that it’s starting over before it’s even finished.

Remakes are becoming more common in the anime industry as of late. As time and technology marches on, such projects present an opportunity to spruce up the visuals and smooth out a story’s rough edges, perhaps subtly shifting the focus of certain scenes to cater to current viewer tastes or to more brightly highlight aspects of the series that proved to be more popular with audiences than the creators originally expected, drawing in new and returning fans alike.

So if you were to hear that a remake has been greenlit for a broadly popular anime hit that premiered 24 years ago, with a large cast of likable and recognizable characters, the timing for the decision would feel pretty natural. However, it’s a little more surprising when the series that’s being remade is one that hasn’t even finished yet: One Piece.

▼ Teaser trailer for the One Piece remake, The One Piece

Announced as part of this year’s Jump Festa event by Weekly Shonen Jump publisher Shueisha, The One Piece is a remake of the One Piece anime TV series, starting all the way back at the events of Chapter 1 of the manga. It’s currently unclear how much of the story so far will be re-adapted, but the description of the teaser video, posted to the official One Piece YouTube channel, says “[The] anime will once again be created, starting from the One Piece original manga’s East Blue arc.”

What makes the announcement so surprising is that the first One Piece anime TV series, the one that’s being remade, is itself still ongoing. Since hitting Japanese TVs in the fall of 1999, the One Piece anime has just kept going and going and going, with none of the extended between-season breaks that have since become the industry norm. Just this last Sunday, One Piece Episode 1,088 aired in Japan, and with the source-material manga still not in its final arc, there are likely hundreds more to come.

The teaser video is sparse on details such as a release date for The One Piece. The on-screen text, though, announces “25 years ago, the legend that started, spread out to, and connected the world, will now begin once more,” which would imply a release sometime in 2024, the 25th anniversary of the premiere of the current One Piece anime. That means that, unless the One Piece anime takes the unprecedented move of going on extended hiatus, there are probably going to be two separate anime adaptations of One Piece releasing new episodes at the same time next year.

One of the few concrete pieces of information in the teaser, though, is that The One Piece will not be produced by Toei Animation, the studio behind One Piece. Instead, animation for The One Piece will come from Wit Studio, most famous for animating the first three seasons of Attack on Titan and the ongoing Spy x Family. Though One Piece has, in recent years, developed a reputation as a place where individual animators can flex their artistic muscles with lavish short battle sequences, in general Toei is known for cost-effective, workmanlike projects, whereas Wit has a bit more prestige regarding its moment-to-moment visuals.

One Piece and The One Piece won’t be competing for television ratings, however, as the remake will be distributed by Netflix. The streaming giant is fresh off of beating the odds with the critical and popular success of its live-action, Western-produced One Piece live-action series, which released at the end of August and quickly had a second season given the green light.

Given the massive size of the One Piece anime TV series, it seems unlikely that The One Piece is going to be a complete remake of each and every story beat so far. Most likely, it’s going to serve as a way for existing fans to revisit some of their favorite parts of the Straw Hat Pirates’ adventures, and also serve as a gateway for those who are curious about the series but don’t want to watch 1,000-plus episodes to get up to speed, especially with the humbler production budgets from the days before One Piece became the runaway hit it is now.

Source, images: YouTube/ONE PIECE公式YouTubeチャンネル 
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