After the announcement of the remake of ONE PIECE by Netflix and WIT STUDIOa question has arisen that has divided the fan community: Would it be wise to replace the current voice actors for this new full-length project? The Japanese portal Myjitsu shared an article analyzing the debate on this issue.
«During the JUMP FESTA 2024 event held on December 17, shocking news revealed that the story of “ONE PIECE” will be “re-animated” from the beginning. The question that is gathering the fan community of this franchise is whether the voice actors from the currently airing adaptation will reprise their roles for this remake. The original adaptation project is being produced by Toei Animation, renowned for animating a large number of Shonen Jump works, and has been in production for over 1,000 years for almost twenty-five years.».
«Titled “THE ONE PIECE,” the new project aims to re-animate the original story from the beginning. The production is carried out by WIT STUDIO, a popular animation studio recognized for “SPY x FAMILY” and “Shingeki no Kyojin”. Although the Toei Animation version has a long history, many original sections were added to let the original manga move forward, so fans’ opinions are divided on the matter. The re-animation by WIT STUDIO hopes to omit these segments and be a project that pursues pure quality».
«However, what causes debate is the fact whether the voice actors will reprise their roles or whether they will be replaced for this project. Opinions have emerged on the Internet such as: “I hope they don’t change the voice actors of the Straw Hat Pirates” and “I would never accept that the original voices be changed“. But there have also been others like: “Personally, I think there will be no problem with changing the voice actors” and “A re-animation also involves a replacement of the voice actors“».
«The current voice cast of ONE PIECE has remained unchanged for a long time since the anime began airing. However, the average age of the entire cast has been increasing year after year. Mayumi Tanaka, the voice of Luffy, is currently 68 years old; Kazuya Nakai, the voice of Zoro, is 56 years old; Hiroaki Hirata, the voice of Sanji, is 60 years old; and Katsuhisa Hoki, the voice of Jinbe, is 77 years old».
«An industry expert commented: “The seiyu’s voices change as they age, and sometimes stop fitting the character’s image along the way. Lately, voice actor changes in long-running anime have also attracted attention, and recently Keiko Yamamoto, who played the role of Shota Yamada in ‘Chibi Maruko-chan’ for more than 30 years, retired from the role at the age of 80. Yamamoto also left the role of Hanako Hanazawa in ‘Sazae-san’ in October, but since it had long been rumored that her voice had reached its limit, fans were saddened by the change in voice acting, but also understood. ”».
«On the other hand, in the trailer released on the same day of the announcement, Luffy reads the phrase “First of all, to gather companions, I want ten people”, and it is believed that it is Mayumi Tanaka herself who read these lines. Furthermore, the “re-animated version” will be a project by Netflix just like the live-action version of “ONE PIECE”, but the voices of the Japanese dub of this series are using the same voice actors from the original franchise from Toei Animation. Plans for a remake should have already been in discussion at that point, so it could be interpreted as Netflix intending to stick with the same voices.».
«A remake is supposedly intended for an audience unfamiliar with ONE PIECE, which would open the doors for new voices to join the project which, it is inferred, is intended to be long-running. What is the production team thinking?».