By Luis Olguin, May 2, 2023
Devoted fans of the anime series “One Piece” say it is true peak and claim it is incomparable to its competition. At first glance, “One Piece” seems to be a visually childish fiction with its simplistic art style and a ridiculous amount of episodes and chapters. This series has connected people from all walks of life, no matter the country or the language barrier. “One Piece” is a generational and cultural phenomenon around the world that has broken record sales and views on the internet.
Unless you are totally out of touch with the real world, you might have noticed that anime and manga have skyrocketed in popularity in the Western world, but mostly important in the United States. To those who do not know, manga is a Japanese origin comic book and graphic novel that are aimed for all ages. Although there are many other series that cater to a more mature audience. Many have reevaluated anime and manga’s status as a genre to be viewed as a genre only for outsiders and weird kids. Unfortunately, I lived through the times when being a fan of anime and manga was not so popular. Additionaly, the media was very limited in translations and availability when compared today.
Currently to the date, I have been watching anime for over a decade and seen more than 100 series. From all the anime I have seen so far, “One Piece” still sits on my top three anime of all time list. Today, anime can be found everywhere from clothing brands to streaming services to social media. Due to anime’s worldwide growth in popularity, it is now more crucial than ever to recognize the variety that exists among its viewers.
The plot centers on the exploits of Monkey D. Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates, who travel the Grand Line in pursuit of the fabled One Piece to succeed as the next Pirate King. But, that is only the tip of the iceberg.
“One Piece” is more than usual shonen, or a genre which is for boys, and is better described as an emotional rollercoaster. The power of friendship, epic battles and adventure are typically the themes that come to mind when thinking of a typical shonen.
“One Piece” embodies all these themes but turns the dial further. As childish as it seems to be in the beginning, it is far from a children’s anime. Surprisingly, the series touches on subjects of childhood trauma, slavery, classism, discrimination, human trafficking, racism, government corruption and revolution, just to name a few themes. The series also brushes on the ideas of gender identity and sexuality without being stereotypical.
“One Piece” has won recognition for its comedy, characterization, art and world-building. It has won several accolades and is considered one of the top manga, or Japanese comic, series of all time by critics, reviewers and readers. According to the Anime News Network, “One Piece” broke a Guinness World Record for the most copies printed by a single author that, reaching 500 million copies in circulation worldwide by August 2022.
Many people will say that the series is too long or it’s style comes of as childish, however, many fans including myself argue that the series isn’t long enough. By all accounts, I do agree that 1000 episodes is a ridiculous amount if one wants to catch up with the series. Yet, it’s important to note that the series is pretty straightfoward and can be broken up in sections like it is in the manga. And, yes the art style is a bit goofy in the begining, but it was designed in the 90’s.
Since there are 1046 anime episodes currently in “One Piece”, each lasting between 22 and 24 minutes, it would take over 50 days to catch up. That is if you watched 8 hours or more every day that overall accumulates to about 345 hours. Most fans agree that the pacing of the anime is quite absurd and that the best way to catch up is through reading the manga. There is also this fan project website called One Pace that recuts the anime to be 45% faster to watch and can help the viewer save about 137 hours of watch time.
A major reason this series is so long and yet so good is that Oda is a master at world-building unlike any other author. The way he has designed and developed each character, island, arc, backstory, political system and more is distinguishable from any other anime.
I wholeheartedly recommend all new and returning fans of anime to watch and read “One Piece‘. “One Piece” is an anime that has something for everyone. As an a fan of “One Piece” there is so much I want to write about; but there is alot more a person can discover about it. If a viewer wants spectacular visual fights or sad moments, “One Piece” has it. But, I do recommended to catch up soon as possible as how the ending is near and every new chapter is gas. Because those who are not caught up could feel resentful or devastated when thousands to millions of fans reach the end of the story. The ending of this series will break the internet and the entirety of fiction itself. The fans and I will be there to enjoy every second of it. Just remember that it is never too late to start discovering the greatest piece of fiction ever created.
Feature image by Jose A. Mosqueda
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