Happy One Piece Day! Considering today’s, the celebration of One Piece’s 20th Anniversary, I felt the need to put some time into sharing a bit about my appreciation for the series! 🙂
Back in the days of watching television frequently, on Fox (4Kids TV) I would occasionally catch an episode of One Piece, I didn’t watch it too much nor did it really grab me, but I would never forget the ridiculous opening it had and the appearance of Usopp, that design of his had an lasting impression on me haha! Years later at the start of my time at high school, this was when I garnered more interest in investing into other Anime series other than Dragon Ball Z. Also, when I picked up a new Weekly Shonen Jump magazine after like 5+ years (I only got that older one since it had Yami Yugi from Yu-Gi-Oh! on the cover and that made me interested in the magazine) This new magazine was June/July 2011’s Issue 6 it had Naruto, Bleach, Psyren, Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s and of course One Piece! That magazine was pretty much the catalyst of me getting back into Anime and discovering the awesomeness of Manga as well! There’s more to that story, but I’ll get into that some other time wink wink.
So, this issue had Chapter 588 – Sabo’s Ocean and this was in the middle of some heavy stuff, but I’ll never forget how heartfelt it was and the turmoil Luffy was put through, it was a good way to get me invested. At that time, I only had dial-up internet connection, so I couldn’t really invest time into One Piece, I only had the Shonen Jump mags to follow, the Anime wasn’t airing on TV like Bleach and I didn’t have money for buying the Manga or Anime consistently. I read more and more of the series thanks to the Shonen Jump mags I tried to consistently, but then eventually in April 2012’s Issue 4 it was confirmed that the Shonen Jump magazines were hitting digital form with Shonen Jump Alpha, which was quite sad for me, considering I invested so much into the physical magazines, I had to move on. The final Weekly Shonen Jump mag ended at chapter 652 which was during the Fishman Island arc, so I was exposed to so much of One Piece later on in the series and even so I enjoyed what I read a lot! On one of my later birthdays, I decided to buy the first One Piece Collection on DVD and that’s where my love for the series sprouted.
The story of a young man who strives to become the King of the Pirates, and his wonderful crew who hold aspirations just like him, it’s one that I’ve loved from the beginning and still follow to this day. Going through these adventures with Luffy and learning about each member he recruits along the way with each self-contained arc makes each character all the more interesting and really makes you feel for them. Not only just the characters he recruits, but even the ones that are unique to each arc are given enough screen time and are fleshed out making a hugely insane cast of characters that you can feel for and love, unlike in some cases for Shounen series supporting characters aren’t developed enough to give a crap about them or they eventually become fodder characters. Every member in the crew has a sense of character progression in the adventure and that makes investing into the series worthwhile. From what I’ve read/watched the story arcs are well-written, this is usually accomplished on Eiichiro Oda’s part, each island that Luffy and his crew explores are carefully detailed, there’s a sense of mystery, a lingering conflict and exciting action sequences to behold. This makes reading/watching each arc a joy, plus it’s even better that each one is fresh and exciting to partake in.
Another aspect about One Piece I want to make sure I touch upon is its cartoony nature, compared to most Shounen series One Piece is easily one of the goofiest ones. Although, the rule of cool aspect is indeed etched into the series of course (Zoro, Sanji, Mihawk, Trafalgar Law, Ace), there’s indeed some wacky character designs and they sport some of the quirkiest personalities and make for some weird, but charming characters (Buggy, Bon Clay, etc). In spite of this, there’s even the amazing villain characters who are intimidating as hell and easy to hate, yet can’t help but love em’. I mentioned One Piece being cartoony and goofy, this is definitely the case when it comes to the humor, most fans can agree with this, One Piece offers some big laughs and most of the time it never takes away from the serious moments, because the series is already wacky as it is, there’s a good balance and it just fits!
Considering the length of One Piece, there’s so much to cover and it’s certainly been a series that’s been hard for me to invest into at a period. I technically started with the Manga, but didn’t start from the beginning, then I got into the Anime which I stuck with until the Skypiea arc, I personally love the Anime adaptation. The more I invested into it though the more I heard that reading the Manga is probably the better option to invest into the series, especially after the time skip. So, for a while I was conflicted about which I should invest into more the Anime or Manga, it took me a while to figure this out, but when I got heavy into Manga last year I grew an appreciation for the medium even more and I certainly appreciate great Manga art. Oda’s art especially is some Manga art I adore immensely, it gives the series an even more cartoony charm compared to the Anime, which had an art style that I didn’t mind, but Oda’s art is something I did not want to pass up on. That’s where the switch began and at the moment I’m currently investing my time into the Skypiea arc, I’m loving it a lot and it certainly brings me happiness that I’ve finally found the way I want to invest into the series for the rest of my life.
I love the concept of freedom and adventure and One Piece delivers this in spades. With amazing characters, one of the greatest worlds in fiction, insanely creative powers, a charming cartoony vibe and a length that’s overwhelming, but welcoming for continuous fun escapes into the adventures with Luffy, Zoro, Nami, Usopp, Sanji, Chopper, Robin, Franky and Brook! Thanks for continuing to work on One Piece for 20 years and filling me and everyone else with happiness, laughs, tears and excitement Oda-sensei!