One Piece 1×03 “Tell No Tales” introduces the latest addition to the Straw Hat Pirates and we love him. Seriously, it feels like Usopp has been with our crew from day one. And sure, they haven’t hit the high seas yet and they have a big bad to conquer. But they’ll do it together while highlighting each pirate’s story without making another disappear in their shadow. And since we’re up to four crew members, expect a section about Usopp, Luffy, Zoro, and Nami. Afterall, they all deserve some love when it comes to their journey.
I Love Usopp So Much
I thought I couldn’t love another character until I met Usopp. Usually, when shows have a big cast, you have your favorites. After episode 1×02 I had three favorites, thinking I wouldn’t have room in my heart for another person or that One Piece wouldn’t be capable of making another character that I would care for on the same level as Luffy, Zoro, and Nami. But here I am after “Tell No Tales,” absolutely charmed and in love with Usopp, played by Jacob Romero. And there’s no going back to a review that only has three sections, one per character. Now we’ll have reviews with four sections because I have thoughts on the new crew member.
First of all, Usopp is a dreamer. And he lets that guide him in life. He’s realistic about his circumstances and where he stands in the world. But he still finds a way to weave fantastical tales that he hopes to one day live himself. And he does it as a way of holding onto that dream. But he also does it to comfort his long-time friend Kaya, played by Celeste Loots. She is the complete opposite of him and eagerly listens to his stories and lives a world outside of the walls she has been confined in because of him. And she in turn gives him a little bit of purpose and joy because this is someone who has always believed in him. Simply put, I love them together.
Then there’s the way that he seamlessly fits in with the gang. He was best friends with Luffy before you even knew it. And it was nice to see the guys just having conversations about life and love as if this was just a normal occurrence. I’m going to have to go back and see how he was with Nami. But she didn’t seem bothered by him. He was part of the crew and that’s it. And I can’t wait to see him make his dreams come true with a group of dreamers themselves and with Luffy cheering him on at every turn. Because this young man is more than just the comedic relief. He’s a survivor who wants to see the world. And I really hope he gets to see every bit of it and one day even meet his dad.
Luffy Finding His Ship & a New Bestie
Luffy has found his ship. It’s goofy from my perspective because it has a giant goat’s head. But this is One Piece we’re talking about and each pirate has their own style. So it’s perfect for Luffy and his dream to become Pirate King. And not so surprisingly, he pushed back when Nami suggested they steal a ship. He’s not about that life and knows how to use kindness to his advantage. And it’s not because he’s naive. It’s because Shanks taught him the benefits of kindness and he carries that with him on every step of his pirate journey.
“Tell No Tales” also did something unique when it comes to TV. Luffy wasn’t the focus of the episode. Yes, he was around and his dream is moving things forward. But he isn’t the only one with a dream and One Piece is doing a good job of introducing new characters without making them feel like an afterthought. Usoop isn’t an afterthought. He’s a main player and so is Luffy. And the show finds a way to balance it all while keeping the story going in a way that doesn’t feel like the pace is lagging.
But the one thing that I lovedddd about Luffy is his relationship with Usoop. He’s just met him, and just like Sanji and Nami, Luffy has adopted him into his crew. There is something different though about their bond. It’s like they’re kindred spirits and bouncing off each other like they’ve known each other forever. Basically, they’re best friends who recognize each other’s dreams and support each other at every turn. And I can’t wait to see how it develops from here on out.
Zoro’s Being Unapologetically Himself
Zoro didn’t have as much to do in One Piece 1×03 but that doesn’t mean he disappeared or we didn’t learn more about him. We learned plenty about his past and what kind of person he is when he’s hanging out with his friend. Because Zoro has accepted that these are his friends and people that he will be ride-or-die for them. So he’s metaphorically let his hair down, sitting around in a robe, and being a sassy best friend complaining to Nami about how he was going to wear black as she was asking about her outfit. And this is only episode 1×03. Imagine how he’ll be by the end?
He also faced the big baddie of the episode, Klahadore by Alexander Maniatis. Which, his design with the cat paws and knives as claws was absolutely iconic, and found a balance between camp and believability. But back to Zoro. He’s on a mission to become the world’s greatest swordsman and if that means he’s got to take down Klahadore, then so be it. What he didn’t expect was for Klahadore to have powers like Luffy. He also didn’t expect to be knocked out so easily by Klahadore’s henchmen; which was truly the biggest, “Yeah, that wouldn’t happen moment.”
Altogether, I feel like we’re on the cusp of something big with Zoro. You don’t just end up with these great fighting skills in a story like One Piece without some epic trauma or journey that got you to this zen place. That’s not to say that he’s got everything figured out when it comes to his head and heart. That man has a lot of anger and you saw a brief flicker of it when he realized who the mild-mannered butler truly was. Now it’s time to let it out.
Nami’s Heart Thawing
“Tell No Tales” saw Nami’s heart and general aloofness thaw out a little bit. So far, she’s been closed off and hesitant to align herself with this crew because she’s got her own secrets to hide. But seeing her sit down and talk with Kaya felt like I was seeing her for the first time. In addition, it was nice seeing her talk to someone else who wasn’t a man and not totally about relationships. Women are friends, contrary to catty behavior on TV or in movies. And they do care about each other and understand the difficulties of being a woman, no matter the circumstances.
When Nami sat down with Kaya, I felt Nami’s concern for this young woman whom she had just met. And by the end of it, like Zoro, she let her walls crumble a little more. Walls that she keeps up because she’s had a tough life and she has to be cautious at every turn so she won’t be hurt once more. Nami put back that thing that she stole and when they all face Klahadore, they’re going to do it together. And it’s going to be for Kaya, for sure. She should be free to do whatever the hell she wants and not be pushed into things by those around her. But Nami will also be doing it for herself.
Out of all the Straw Hat Pirates, I continue to think that Nami is going to be the toughest one to get to know. That also means she’s going to have the worst drama and character arc to get her on the road to healing. And that journey, and the one we’ve seen so far, wouldn’t be possible without the way that Emily Rudd brings Nami to life every time she’s on screen. It’s magic.
One Piece season 1 is available now on Netflix.
This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, One Piece being covered here wouldn’t exist.