One Piece Season 1 Episode 1 Recap – Why is Luffy stretchy?

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: August 31, 2023 (Last updated: September 4, 2023)
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One Piece Season 1 Episode 1 Recap - Why is Luffy stretchy?


An action-packed, charismatic premiere captures the look and feel of the anime with tremendous confidence.

This recap of the 2023 Netflix series One Piece Season 1 Episode 1, “Romance Dawn”, contains spoilers.

The premiere of Netflix’s live-action adaptation of One Piece begins with a flashback to Loguetown, twenty-two years prior. Gold Roger, the so-called King of the Pirates, has been captured by the Marines on behalf of the World Government and is to be publicly executed.

The idea is to make an example of Gold Roger and quell the blight of piracy, but it backfires kind of spectacularly. Before he’s executed, Gold Roger implores the crowd to go out and find his lost treasure, the One Piece, which sends everyone into a frenzy and begins what will become known as the Great Pirate Era.

One Piece Season 1 Episode 1 Recap

In the present day, we meet the series’ protagonist, Monkey D. Luffy, floating on a sinking boat in the middle of the East Blue Sea. Luffy, a peppy wannabe pirate with seemingly unearned confidence, is on a quest for the One Piece, but he needs several things to get started – including a boat, a map, and a crew.

When Luffy’s boat capsizes, he gets inside a barrel which is subsequently hoisted aboard the ship of Alvida, whose introduction showcases how One Piece introduces its pirate characters by emblazoning their bounty posters on-screen with great ceremony.

Alvida is looking for a famed pirate hunter named Roronoa Zoro, but what she finds instead of Luffy, who is discovered in his barrel by Alvida’s kindly, put-upon deckhand, Koby. When he tries to get off the ship, Luffy accidentally makes a scene, which causes a giant confrontation with Alvida and her crew in which the source of Luffy’s confidence is revealed – he has a rubber body and can stretch himself all out of proportion.

Why is Luffy stretchy?

In flashbacks, we see some of Luffy’s backstory, and how he developed his elasticity. While he was a child, he consumed a Devil Fruit, which turned out to be a Gum Gum Fruit that gave him his rubbery powers.

After taking out Alvida, Luffy leaves with Koby on a rowboat. The latter reveals that he has always dreamed of being a Marine and helping those in need, which gives Luffy an idea. They will head to the nearest Marine base, Luffy will steal a map to the Grand Line, and Koby can enlist with the Marines. Everyone’s a winner.

In brief scenes elsewhere, we’re introduced to both the red-headed thief, Nami, who steals a boat, and the deadly pirate hunter mentioned earlier, Zoro, who turns down a job offer from Mr. 7, a representative of Baroque Works, and is forced to kill him in a duel (since turning down Baroque Works means forfeiting one’s life.)

Who is Helmeppo?

All three of these characters, though, happen to arrive in Shells Town, the 153rd Marine Branch, at around the same time.

In a local bar, Zoro antagonizes Helmeppo, the son of the Marine base’s captain, Morgan, aka Axe-Hand (so-called for very obvious reasons), leading to another big fight. Zoro is apprehended by the Marines and, after turning down Morgan’s offer of joining them, is strung up in the yard for what is intended to be seven days without food and water.

Luffy tries to recruit the captured Zoro for his crew, but he refuses, mentioning offhandedly that he once made a promise to become the world’s greatest swordsman (seems like he’s well on his way). Luffy unties him regardless, and then attempts to break into the Marine base alone, though happens to find Nami, disguised as a Marine, trying to do the same thing.

Luffy and Nami work together to steal the Grand Line map from the base, and end up escaping with a safe. Morgan and his men, though, confront them in the yard, and in the best action sequence of the episode, Luffy, Nami, and Zoro all work together to take Axe-Hand down.

Koby helps the group escape but elects to remain behind and enlist in the Marines. He warns Luffy that the next time they meet, they might be enemies, but for now they remain friends.

One Piece Season 1 Episode 1 Ending Explained

At the end of “Romance Dawn”, a Marine Vice-Admiral named Garp is informed – by means of a snail phone – that a map the Grand Line has been stolen by a pirate in a straw hat, which evidently means something to him.

We also close with a blue-haired clown pirate named Buggy promising to get “his” map back, no matter how many people he must kill in order to do so.

You can stream the 2023 series One Piece Season 1 Episode 1, “Romance Dawn”, exclusively on Netflix.

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