Before Eiichiro Oda hit the big time with One Piece, he wrote and drew a smaller story (significantly smaller!) about a dragon and a samurai. Now that the entire world is hungry for more of Oda’s work, it would seem time to adapt that early work for a mass audience. So, Netflix and Oda present….MONSTERS!
The full title is Monsters: 103 Mercies Dragon Damnation and it initially appeared as a one-shot story in Shonen Jump in 1994. Oda was just 19 at the time. Four years later it was reprinted in Wanted!, a collection of Oda’s short stories.
The samurai Ryuma has heard stories about a legendary swordsman named Shirano, and has arrived in a medium-sized village looking for hints on where to find him. What he finds instead is a town in ruins thanks to the destructive rampage of a dragon. Soon he finds an opponent a lot more intimidating than he was looking for.
Contrary to Netflix tradition, there will be no padding here — Monsters is as short as the story it’s being adapted from, and is more of a TV special, not a full season. There is less of the over-the-top insanity that One Piece is known for, though you will meet a few colorful characters (no Devil Fruit powers, alas).
That being said…Monsters does take place in the same canon as One Piece, and this wasn’t something they just made up now. Ryuma has already made an appearance on the latter show, albeit as a zombie (it takes place a lot later). The story is also set in the Land of Wano, an area that becomes significant in One Piece eventually.
Monsters: 103 Mercies Dragon Damnation stars the Japanese voices of Yoshimasa Hosoya as Ryuma, Kana Hanazawa as Flare the waitress, Hiroki Tōchi as Cyrano, Mitsuaki Madono as D.R. and Katsuhito Nomura as Master. It was directed by Sunghoo Park (Jujutsu Kaisen) and will be coming to Netflix January 22.