Netflix has been beefing up its anime offerings as of late, and while it seems the streamer has committed to live-action anime adaptations being the future of its platform, another new and exciting one-shot anime title has popped up on the service. Monsters: 103 Mercies Dragon Damnation should especially draw the eyes of One Piece fans, who won't want to miss this exciting story.
This new title is way shorter than the 1000+ episode commitment of One Piece. In fact, it's only twenty-five minutes, but for those who just want to cut to the chase of the cool way it ties into the iconic anime available to stream with a Netflix subscription, we have the answer, along with some other details about it:
What Is Monsters: 103 Mercies Dragon Damnation?
A lot of people may assume that Monsters: 103 Mercies Dragon Damnation is a prequel to One Piece, but that's not entirely accurate. This story about a Japanese swordsman protecting a town was originally created in manga by One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda back in 1994. Years later, when creating One Piece, Oda would pay homage to the story by incorporating its central character into an arc in One Piece, thus connecting the stories. So, again, this isn't technically a prequel, but it does tie into the show, whose live-action adaptation was greenlit for Season 2 shortly after premiering in 2023.
How Monsters: 103 Mercies Dragon Damnation Connects To One Piece
Those who have seen One Piece's Thriller Bark arc have seen Monsters: 103 Mercies Dragon Damnation main character, Ryuma, and they didn't even know it. Ryuma appears in Thriller Bark as a skeleton samurai who has been given new life by Warlord Gecko Moira, who can steal the souls of individuals and put them into dead bodies. We learn that Ryuma, who is unnamed through most of the arc, was reanimated using Brook's soul, and that Brook couldn't risk a mission to retrieve it. Exposure to direct sunlight without his soul would kill him.
The Straw Hats ultimately agree to help Brook by bringing Ryuma face-to-face with the Straw Hat swordsman Roronoa Zoro. Throughout their fierce battle, the long-dead Ryuma ultimately remembers his true identity, which was masked due to having Brook's soul entwined in him. Knowing his life is over, he willingly gifts his legendary sword, Shusui, to Zoro after his defeat and relinquishes Brook's soul.
Zoro knew who Ryuma was in the original episode, but fans like me, who watched the moment way back when, had no idea. As such, Monsters: 103 Mercies Dragon Damnation explains why Ryuma was so revered and why the sword gifted to Zoro is so great.
Do I Need To Watch Monsters: 103 Mercies Dragon Damnation To Understand One Piece?
If you're looking for shows like One Piece, Monsters: 103 Mercies Dragon Damnation ticks off all the boxes in every category except show length. I wouldn't go so far as to say you must watch it to understand One Piece, but it is a great story that only takes 25 minutes to get through. For those who have committed to One Piece's incredibly long episode count, that's practically nothing.
Everything New And Coming Soon To Netflix
For those who have watched Season 1 of the live-action series and loved everything about it, like CinemaBlend's Alexandra Ramos, they might want to hold off. Thriller Bark doesn't begin until Episode 337 in the anime, so the live-action series is still far away from covering it.
I suppose there's a chance it could come up in the upcoming Season 2, but Netflix would really have to condense the series and leave out a lot to get there. Those just generally curious may not get it, but it won't ruin a future watch-through of One Piece by doing so. I would consider this more as something that's supplemental to get additional enjoyment out of One Piece rather than something that's mandatory to watch.
Check out Monsters: 103 Mercies Dragon Damnation on Netflix, and be sure to read CinemaBlend's best anime of 2023 guide for more recommendations. Not all of them are on Netflix, but there is a healthy amount of anime on there to enjoy, especially for those looking to check out some classics.