Monkey D. Luffy’s live-action portrayer, Iñaki Godoy discussed his aversion to copying the anime version of his character too closely.
In Netflix’s One Piece, Luffy assembled his Straw Hat pirate crew and set sail toward the treacherous Grand Line to find the legendary treasure known as the One Piece.
Naturally, the live-action series took tons of cues and story beats from the original One Piece anime and manga but there were many noticeable differences that longtime fans were able to pick out.
Iñaki Godoy Intentionally Didn’t Copy Mayumi Tanaka
Speaking to Teen Vogue in an interview recorded before the SAG-AFTRA strike, Iñaki Godoy discussed the many elements that went into his role as Luffy in the live-action One Piece adaptation.
Among the many things the actor touched upon was that he did not want to emulate the way that Luffy’s voice is done in the anime by Mayumi Tanaka. He noted that, while her rendition is “amazing,” he needed to do his “own thing:”
"I watched the anime. I mainly saw the Japanese dub. Mayumi Tanaka has been voicing Luffy for a very long time, since 1999. And what she has done is amazing. Amazing. And I would never try to replicate any of that. Because that’s her own thing. She created her own version of this character, and I have to do my own thing with the live-action too. So, y’know, more than paying attention to what the dub actors were doing, I really just paid attention to what the character was all about."
Godoy remarked on the importance of the anime and live-action versions of One Piece coexisting, with the latter not trying to just copy the source material but “stand by its side:”
"The anime is great as it is, I would never try to replicate it. I mean, that’s why it’s been going for so long. And the live-action needs to stand by its side."
The actor, who used his natural accent for the series, also explained how he was able to find the right tone of voice for Luffy, contrasting the manner in which he speaks in Spanish to the cadence and inflections he used for his character:
"My voice in Spanish is a lot deeper. [speaking in Spanish] If you heard me speak in Spanish, my Spanish is a lot lower than Luffy. [returning to English] So, yeah, my voice in Spanish is like, way deeper than Luffy’s voice in English. I found his voice just with time, it just appeared. And slowly with time, I started to speak [raises pitch] more like this. More like, ahh, oh wow! And being more loud."
He additionally praised the show’s script as something that further inspired his performance:
"It just came natural. The script is so good that it just pushes you to say the lines in a certain way."
What’s the Status of One Piece Season 2?
One Piece has been a smash hit for Netflix, and with smash hits usually come renewals, so where do the chances stand for more of the series?
First things first, Hollywood is currently in the midst of a double strike, as the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild have not worked for several months due to the lack of what they deem as a suitable deal from the film studios.
Until both strikes are resolved, more One Piece is on hold. That, however, probably won’t stop Netflix from renewing it, as several other shows on various platforms have received orders for more episodes despite the fact that they cannot yet be produced.
That being said, according to the producers of One Piece, the scripts for a potential Season 2 are written and ready to go, and filming will be ready to kick off as soon as the strikes are over.
Logic suggests that Season 2 of the series would have a lot of ground to cover story-wise, so the writing team would have had to strike the right balance between the show’s pacing and making sure every fan-favorite moment gets its due.
All eight episodes of the live-action One Piece can be streamed on Netflix.