April 15, 2024

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‘One Piece’ Straw Hats Unite Fan Event Kicks Off With Party Fit For a Pirate

4 min read

The Big Picture

  • Netflix’s “Straw Hats Unite!” event took over Santa Monica Pier with food, games, and photo ops, followed by a screening of the first episode of the
    One Piece
    live-action series.
  • The event featured a themed decor with wanted posters, illustrations by Eiichiro Oda, and transponder snails. It also offered exclusive
    One Piece
    prizes at the games and specialty cocktails.
  • The screening created an immersive experience for fans, with the core five Straw Hat Pirates delivering a message and the audience interacting with character introductions, Easter eggs, and jokes, making it a memorable experience.

With the premiere of Netflix’s One Piece live-action adaptation only days away, and it won’t be long until we’re setting sail with Luffy (Iñaki Godoy), Zoro (Mackenyu), Nami (Emily Rudd), Usopp (Jacob Romero), and Sanji (Taz Skylar). Netflix has begun celebrations in full-force with an exclusive touring fan event, “Straw Hats Unite!” launching in Los Angeles on August 24 before traveling to nine more cities around the globe.

Collider’s Arezou Amin had the opportunity to check out the “Straw Hats Unite!” event at Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles. The event shut down Paradise Park and featured food, games, photo ops, and straw hats as far as the eye could see, followed by a screening of the first episode of the series.

Image via Netflix

Party On the Pier

Netflix’s fan screening event took over Santa Monica pier, both in terms of location and in terms of decor, with the entire boardwalk area covered in wanted posters for the most sought after pirates in the East Blue. There was even an opportunity for guests to have their own wanted posters made. The entire event featured a dance floor and DJs, led by Anderson .Paak as his alter ego, DJ Pee .Wee.

A feature wall right as we entered featured a poster-sized illustration by Eiichiro Oda himself, set into a larger paper wall that attendees could sign, all while getting a closer look at the series’ distinctive transponder snails. The series also took over the rides and the midway games, with large-scale posters hanging everywhere, and each of the games offering exclusive One Piece prizes in addition to their usual offerings.

Food and Drinks Worthy of Baratie

When one of your main characters is a chef who takes pride in his job, then the menu for your fan event needs to be something that would make Sanji proud. The event was jointly catered by local food trucks, and the Paradise Park food court, and while it all looked very good, by the time we got to the personal-sized pizza truck it was too close to the screening time, and they had stopped taking orders.

We had much better luck with the snacks, including free buckets of popcorn, and cups of ice cream. The real highlight, though, were the specialty cocktails — appropriately titled the Gum Gum and the Chop Chop — served out of an inflatable booth shaped like the distinctive Baratie restaurant-boat.

The Pirates Are Coming

The screening opened with a message (recorded prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike) from our core five Straw Hat Pirates — Iñaki Godoy, Mackenyu, Emily Rudd, Jacob Romero and Taz Skylar — urging audiences to put away their phones and simply take in the experience. The location was perfectly themed, with the screen set up right along the pier, with the Pacific Ocean on either side.

As for the screening itself, all I have to say is this: if you, as a fan, ever get the chance to watch a highly-anticipated project for the first time with hundreds of other fans whooping and screaming with every character introduction, gasping at every Easter egg and laughing at every joke, it just makes it that much more fun.

Image via Arezou Amin

Going Out on a High-Flying Note

Just as the episode itself came to a resounding close, the audiences’ attention was pulled by a persistent buzzing coming from behind the screening area, turning to find what looked like hundreds of lit up drones rising into the air. The cluster of them floated out above the beach below and formed several shapes — some of which were dynamic — to celebrate the first episode. Cool as it was for those in attendance, I cannot help but wonder at the reaction of the average beach goer below, suddenly greeted by the site of a 40-foot tall, glowing clown head hovering over the sand.

Image via Netflix

The Straw Hats Unite fan event will make its next stop in Paris, France on August 29. One Piece premieres on Netflix on August 31. Check out the trailer below:


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