Netflix and live-action anime adaptations don't necessarily go together. Between Death Note and Cowboy Bebop, the latter of which even being openly derided by series creator Shinichirō Watanabe, it's safe to say that the announcement of a live-action One Piece project was justifiably met with equal parts outrage and morbid curiosity.

One Piece, the nautical adventure series by Eiichiro Oda, holds the distinction of being one of the most financially successful media franchises in recent memory. Showcasing the ongoing adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his colorful band of Straw Hat Pirates, One Piece primarily follows their search for the "One Piece," a legendary treasure hidden somewhere within the Grand Line.

While there was an expected degree of negativity surrounding the recent live-action trailer, the reception has actually trended towards being positive overall. Most have taken notice of the effort put into recreating classic settings and props from the original series, and even the casting has been met with cautious optimism.

But through translating these animated characters into reality, some slight alterations have been made. This is most evident with the face of One Piece as a whole, our aspiring captain Monkey D. Luffy.

How Has Luffy's Design Changed?

Monkey D. Luffy (Mayumi Tanaka, Iñaki Godoy) in One Piece
Toei Animation

Even if you're not an artist, you've likely noticed that character design is an incredibly important part of the animation process. A character's stature, clothing, ethnicity, and even hairstyle can give clues as to what kind of person they are and what they're ultimately trying to accomplish.

In the case of Monkey D. Luffy, his design is as essential as it is iconic. A sleeveless red vest, cuffed blue shorts, and his iconic straw hat all portray a character of humble origins, one whose adventure began in a rural port town. His younger features, minus a small scar under his eye, coincide with his lack of experience on the high seas. It's an excellent way to explain his ambitions to the audience without saying so much as a single word.

Related: One Piece: The Best Characters, Ranked

Some fans of the original series have noticed some slight alterations when the character was brought into real-life, however. Eyebrows were likely raised at the initial casting of Iñaki Godoy as our Devil Fruit enthusiast. But, seeing as how Luffy's design was described by Eiichiro Oda himself as being Brazilian, it's ultimately fitting to the character. All the core details of Luffy's design have also made the transition along with this casting, including his vest, shorts, hat, and so on.

But what about his shoes? Keeping his rural roots intact, Luffy always sported a pair of rugged sandals throughout most of the original series. Despite the varied climates he finds himself in, sandals were always his footwear of choice.

It's not entirely clear if it was a personal preference or if it's largely due to his childhood idol, Shanks, donning a similar outfit prior to Luffy's journey. Given that Luffy is rarely ever seen without the straw hat that Shanks bestowed upon him, it's safe to assume that his choice of footwear is pretty deliberate.

Curiously, the live-action Luffy has traded his sandals for a pair of standard shoes. It can be seen in early promotional material for the series, as well as the trailer in a few brief shots.

Are Design Changes Bad?

One Piece Live Action

So, Luffy doesn't wear sandals anymore. Is that a reason to write off Netflix's live-action adaptation before it even has a chance to air? Probably not, as most who would've done so already have.

Related: Netflix’s One Piece: Can the Upcoming Live-Action Series Live Up to the Anime?

It's not a thoughtless decision. It goes without saying, but in making the jump to live-action, you have to take into account how reality works versus fantasy.

A lot of the action present throughout the original series is already difficult enough to replicate with real actors, let alone doing so in a natural and convincing way.

Emily Rudd, the actor playing the role of Nami, stated in a social media post that the change has a practical reason behind it. Specifically, Luffy's design was changed to more easily facilitate the stunt work found throughout the series. Anyone who has worn sandals for hours at a time can probably understand the sentiment.

On top of that, it's a little ludicrous to suggest that the cast of One Piece haven't undergone several alterations already in the source material.

Even ignoring a time jump that saw every main character dramatically redesigned, the characters' surroundings often facilitated multiple outfit changes. It's a feature of the series that remains unique to One Piece amid a small handful of other examples. They're just shoes, after all – it's not as if they'll be indicative of the adaptation's quality as a whole.

Despite omitting a key feature of Monkey D. Luffy's design, there's still plenty of optimism to be had with Netflix's live-action One Piece adaptation. It's a bold experiment that's sure to rile up even more internet discourse as we approach its upcoming release date, and given the missteps that came before it, we may see the age-old "three strikes" rule come into play.

Let's just hope that our Straw Hat Pirates will dazzle instead of fizzing out when the series comes to Netflix at the tail end of August.