Anime Vice News

Beginner's Guide to One Piece

An introductory course to the world of One Piece.

Every now and then you will hear of the phrase "the big 3", which are the anime/manga series Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece. Out of those three One Piece is the biggest in regards to its chapter and episode count. In the west--especially in America--One Piece is the least popular out of the big three; however, in Japan this is completely different. One Piece is probably the most popular manga in Japan at the moment, for example volume 56 set the highest initial print run for any manga in history at 2.85 million copies sold. Meaning, you really should watch and read One Piece; if you haven't started, start now. Don’t worry, I'm here to help. 



What You Need to Know

The man who created One Piece is named Eiichiro Oda. It was based off of a one-shot story called “Romance Dawn” a year before appearing in Shonen Jump in 1997. Oda has trained his skills with art and manga during his teenage years. At 19 he assisted Nobuhiro Watsuki on Rurouni Kenshin, before moving on to his own work thanks to winning the Hop Step Award. His number one inspiration in life and in art goes to Akira Toriyama, like most Shonen Jump artists his age. Best of all, he even married the actress who played Nami’s character in the One Piece stage performance for Jump Festa, now that is epic my friends.

Currently One Piece has 58 volumes and counting, with 453 episodes on television as well; that’s almost 190 hours or 8 days worth of non-stop One Piece. Yes, One Piece is a beast to plow through, but almost all who make it through will tell you how amazing it actually is.

The Story

The most important aspect about One Piece is that it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Because of this the story is simple. Young Monkey D. Luffy will do anything to become the King of the Pirates, a title that was once held by a pirate named Gold Roger. Before Gold Roger was executed by the World Goverment, he told the world that he left all of his treasures in one piece, and that if you could journey to the end of the Grand Line, they were yours for the taking. This speech spawned “The Great Pirate Era”, inspiring people around the world to become the King of the Pirates by finding the treasure “One Piece”.

One Piece is about Luffy journey through the world as he travels toward this treasure. He cannot do this alone though, along the way he also has to form a formable pirate crew of individuals that can support his dream. Each crew mate has their own special job on the ship, from cook to musician. This is what I first loved about this story, it reminded me of playing a great RPG like Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, or Suikoden. Each crew member is treated like family, with each having their own dream and reason for traveling with Luffy.

This journey is not an easy one, for it sometimes seems like the world wants to stop Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates from reaching their goal. Not only do they have to come up against other blood thirsty pirate crews, but the Marines, and the Seven Pirate Warlords of the Sea as well. They are basically privateer’s of the World Government; pirates that are so powerful that they help the government get rid of smaller pirate crews and supposedly make the seas safer. The Straw Hat pirates must brave through this all in order to reach the end of the Grand Line, the area which One Piece lies.

What to Expect

As you might already have guessed, One Piece is about pirates. The pirates in this story are more like gangs with themes rather than something from Pirates of the Caribbean, though there are some of those in here as well. Unlike pirates in the real world, some of them in this story are actually nice, and help people out (like the main characters), because in One Piece pirating is not really about taking things from others, but the freedom to do whatever you want.

One Piece follows story arcs as well; however, they are different from most Shonen Jump series because they are consistent, predictable, but also keeps you on your toes. The basic formula is as follows: Straw Hat crew lands on new island, island people hate crew, crew meets bad guys, crew fights bad guys, crew wins, people on island love the Straw Hats. There are other story arcs that feature the Straw Hats getting another crew member. These also follow a strict formula, and always feature a long flashback about the new member’s troubled childhood. The entire beginning of this story consists of these types of story arcs in a row, which can sometime feel redundant to beginners of the series. However, they should bare with it because the final crew member arc(starting on episode 31) is very rewarding.

The anime adds another element to the story arcs: filler story not found in the manga. Surprisingly, some of the filler arcs and one-shots featured in the anime are actually pretty good. Let’s take a look at some of the bigger ones.

Warship Island Arc (54 - 61): Some people liked this arc, but I hated it with a passion. However, if you like annoying little girls, then by all means.
Goat Island Arc (136-138): Yes, this one is as bad as it sounds, but it does have that quality of being so bad that it is actually good.
Rainbow Mist Arc (139 - 143): WIth things like rainbow mist and rainbow tower, this filler arc can’t be good, and it isn’t.
G8 Arc (196 - 206): This one’s actually pretty good. Here the Straw Hats accidentally splash down in the middle of a giant Marine fortress, and have to split up to escape.
Ocean's Dream Arc (220 - 225): This is one of my favorites. Something is mysteriously stealing away the crew’s memories, returning them back mentally to before they met Luffy.
Ice Hunter Arc (326 - 335): Not so bad, but not so good either. Watch it if you have the time.
Spa Island Arc (382 - 384): Somewhat bad, but we get to see Foxy again, so that’s a plus.

Characters

One Piece has tons of characters, but there are only a select few that you will see on a constant basis; ie the Straw Hat pirates. This is definitely not a bad thing because you get drawn into them better than a barrage of characters the keep on reappearing and disappearing like in other manga. Basically, instead of a few main characters that are constant but boring throughout the story, you get a cast of main characters that continuously grows, without overshadowing any of the previous ones.

Characters here also have their fair share of special powers. In the world of One Piece, they come in the form of a Devil Fruit. After eating a Devil Fruit an individual will receive an extra special power, like the ability to make things explode or turn into a giraffe. Luffy for example ate the gomu gomu fruit, which made his body into rubber. However, the person who has eaten this fruit will sink like a rock when submerged in water; a bad thing to happen when most of a pirate’s life is spent on the ocean.

Let me now give you a small sampler of some of the cooler characters that appear within the story. Here are the top five One Piece characters that you should know in no particular order.

Top 5 One Piece Characters You Must Know

1. Jango

This guy right here is basically an evil version of Michael Jackson. I'm not joking, he does the moonwalk and everything. Jango is a hypnotist that works for a very bad pirate crew Luffy runs into in the beginning of the story. He is not a very good fighter, but he can put anyone to sleep.

2. Zoro Roronoa

Zoro is Luffy's right hand man. He is the Straw Hat's swordsman, and will do anything to protect his crew and his friendships. What makes Zoro cool? HE FIGHTS WITH A SWORD IN HIS MOUTH. That's right, Zoro can fight with three swords at once.

3. Enel

Enel is basically God; he was born and raised with the idea that he is an immortal being. He possesses the ability of lightning, and can do anything and everything even slightly related to it. Enel is a major villain in the One Piece world.

4. Bon Clay

A gay ballerina that is a master at kung-fu ballet, what is cooler than that? Most of you probably don't agree with me, but once you see him in action you will agree. He is also extremely hot blooded and can sometimes even be GAR as well. Bon Clay is a member of a secret organization bent on taking over a desert kingdom.

5. Whitebeard

Whitebeard is the most pirate-like person on this list. He is an old timer who once fought with the pirate king himself. Despite his age, he is still considered one of the strongest pirates alive today, and you will agree once you see his giant white mustache. He is the Turn-A Gundam of the One Piece world.

 

Should I Read the Manga, or Watch the Anime?

You should do both! But most of you can’t because there are only 24 hours in a day. So I would recommend jumping on the manga, and read until you are caught up with the anime. Then you can start watching the anime, which is streamed on FUNimation’s official One Piece site and go from there. Then you can always go back and watch the anime from the beginning, or just watch all the good fights.  Just whatever you do, stay away from the 4-Kids version!

Buyers Guide

I like American comics, and my friends who do not like anime are telling me One Piece is amazing, where do I start?  
Your friends are right, here watch this, and then buy the first volume of the manga. 
I love video games and my Wii, can One Piece be a part of my life?    
Of course it can! Buy One Piece: Unlimited Adventure, and be merry!  
I’m not sure if I will like. Do you got anything shorter that I can sample?  
One Piece has ten feature length films. I would recommend buying One Piece Movie: The Desert Princess and the Pirates: Adventures in Alabasta, or finding Curse of the Sacred Sword some other way.

Many people are turned off by One Piece because of it’s unique art style. Some people actually think it is kiddy because of it as well. Tune out the hate and realize that this art style is just Oda’s unique way of telling this story. No other manga has it, no other anime has it, except it for what it is and you will not be disappointed.

By the way incase you haven’t already realized, One Piece happens to be my favorite manga. Nothing can copy it. In every chapter we see how the world of One Piece grows, how characters come together as friends, or separate as enemies, how a group of “law breakers” change the world one island at a time. I would even say that One Piece is the Odyssey of the modern world, an epic voyage that has no equal. So go on and experience it now!
StephenVaughnon June 7, 2010 at 10:05 p.m.
@barashin said:
" @DoctorWelch:   

Once piece is too silly looking and thats why I have never watched it. Naruto and DBZ are still sorta silly, but they are self serious which is what I like. Basically, I dont want intended comedy out of my anime or manga. Correct me if I'm wrong but One Piece i just too ridiculous and I think it looks kinda dumb. 

 You're pretty judgmental for someone who haven't really gotten the grasp of what One piece is all about! Try save your criticisms for a show you actually watched! "

 
 

Well you gotta remember dude, One Piece gets so much flak for it's art style, and by fans other shows, because at first glance, the art style looks kiddy, and almost cartoonish. Most people who try it, love it, and the ones who don't usually haven't watched at least up till they get the original 5 crewmembers and enter the Grand Line... one can't expect people to bond with the show till they have at least seen Nami's backstory, and Luffy's reaction, and the epic vengeance on Arlong... that for me is one of the defining moments in the show, but most people who try and quit haven't seen at least that far. Ideally, the arc to watch till would be the end of the Alabasta arc, and the final fight with Cr*****le(one of my favorite choices of  music for a fight ever...DVORAKS NEW WORLD SYMPHONY FOR THE EPIC WIN) but not everyone is willing to give a show that long to catch them. If it doesn't catch them before then, or even at the Drum arc, then they aren't looking for a show with that kinda deep backstory and character development, and are more interested in epic fights and the like. This is why I've seen people who will prefer Bleach over this because of the more current arcs theme of actions having consequences, and they don't want Luffy's character to change at all. Some people aren't looking for that, and there is nothing necessarily wrong with that, but I think anyone who likes anime should at least try till Nami's arc, and if they tear up, or can empathize with the characters at that point, then even if they don't like the fight scenes yet, they should keep with it... because trust me, they get much more epic folks, just wait till the Skypiea arc with Enel, and even more so in the Enies Lobby arc with the introduction of more supernatural fighting styles, with high speed movement that puts Kuro to shame, and crazy ass martial arts styles, with psuedo 'energy' attacks in the form of cutting wind attacks.    
barashinon June 7, 2010 at 11:33 p.m.
 
@StephenVaughn said:

" @barashin said:

" @DoctorWelch:   

Once piece is too silly looking and thats why I have never watched it. Naruto and DBZ are still sorta silly, but they are self serious which is what I like. Basically, I dont want intended comedy out of my anime or manga. Correct me if I'm wrong but One Piece i just too ridiculous and I think it looks kinda dumb. 

 You're pretty judgmental for someone who haven't really gotten the grasp of what One piece is all about! Try save your criticisms for a show you actually watched! "
  Well you gotta remember dude, One Piece gets so much flak for it's art style, and by fans other shows, because at first glance, the art style looks kiddy, and almost cartoonish. Most people who try it, love it, and the ones who don't usually haven't watched at least up till they get the original 5 crewmembers and enter the Grand Line... one can't expect people to bond with the show till they have at least seen Nami's backstory, and Luffy's reaction, and the epic vengeance on Arlong... that for me is one of the defining moments in the show, but most people who try and quit haven't seen at least that far. Ideally, the arc to watch till would be the end of the Alabasta arc, and the final fight with Cr*****le(one of my favorite choices of  music for a fight ever...DVORAKS NEW WORLD SYMPHONY FOR THE EPIC WIN) but not everyone is willing to give a show that long to catch them. If it doesn't catch them before then, or even at the Drum arc, then they aren't looking for a show with that kinda deep backstory and character development, and are more interested in epic fights and the like. This is why I've seen people who will prefer Bleach over this because of the more current arcs theme of actions having consequences, and they don't want Luffy's character to change at all. Some people aren't looking for that, and there is nothing necessarily wrong with that, but I think anyone who likes anime should at least try till Nami's arc, and if they tear up, or can empathize with the characters at that point, then even if they don't like the fight scenes yet, they should keep with it... because trust me, they get much more epic folks, just wait till the Skypiea arc with Enel, and even more so in the Enies Lobby arc with the introduction of more supernatural fighting styles, with high speed movement that puts Kuro to shame, and crazy ass martial arts styles, with psuedo 'energy' attacks in the form of cutting wind attacks.     "
 
 
So much flak for its artstyle? Cartoonish? o_O?  That's a pretty pathetic excuse if you ask me! I'm sorry but if you prefer an anime that's plagued with fillers then that's fine. More power to you, I on the other hand prefer an anime that has a progressive story, one that doesn't have any problems with fillers at all and ain't haunted by it, one where the main story is constant. One that has heart. One Piece!! You know very well how good one piece is. So why defend someone who judges a show they didn't even watch yet? it's stupid!
YotaruVegetaon June 8, 2010 at 3:31 a.m.
@Kuma_From_Argentina: I have a problem with calling Naruto or Ichigo "emo" Would an emo ever even fight, or win a battle? How can they be emo?
secretzfanon June 8, 2010 at 4:43 a.m.
The main charter is like Goku
Kuma_From_Argentinaon June 8, 2010 at 5:24 a.m.
@YotaruVegeta said:
" @Kuma_From_Argentina: I have a problem with calling Naruto or Ichigo "emo" Would an emo ever even fight, or win a battle? How can they be emo? "
Every Story arc since Shippuden we need to see Naruto Wangsty about Sasuke, since the Espada Arc Ichigo Wangsted as he never wangsted before, he was more of a delincuent at the beggining ogf Bleach, but finally he become a wangsty mess, (Oh my power is going to kill me if I continued using it) My bet is if for example Kamina from TTGL had the Hollow mak he would kick the curb out of  his hollow part and use without staring blankly in pants wetting state while meeting with Aizen.... 
 Naruto is a bit less Angsty, but Ichigo transformed from Hot-blooded to a wussy in only a story arc....
YotaruVegetaon June 8, 2010 at 7:07 a.m.
@Kuma_From_Argentina: 
 
 think that in the beginning of Shippueden, Naruto was all about saving Sauske from Orochimaru, but I have not heard him go on and on about Sauske for many an episode. Naruto also used his powers against the wishes of more informed people, and also used a technique which could shorten his own lifespan. 
 
I admittedly have skipped filler episodes, so if he's all emo in that, I'm missing that. 
 
From what I watched of Bleach, he's a gung-ho guy. I have not watched Bleach in a long while, so I do not know how much he's changed.
Kuma_From_Argentinaon June 8, 2010 at 8:14 a.m.
@YotaruVegeta:  Bleach changed from Ichigo being the classical trouble guy with the ability to own authorithy figures (Byakuya I'm watching you) to a pityfull wreck that stays frozen for like 8 chapters seeing how the other shinigami (under Aizen Ilussions) praticed accuracy against Momo Hinamori.... 

 This is only a taste of the last chapters and Ichigo attitude about them....
Burntlettuceon June 8, 2010 at 8:50 a.m.
People need to get over this whole "One Piece has bad art" thing, what ever it is. One Piece does NOT HAVE BAD ART, get over it, it's not bad, it's just different. Take the time to look up some of Oda's special covers, they are amazing. One Piece looks semi bad at first compared to anime, but guess what it started airing in 1999. That's a long time ago, so of course it's art at the beginning doesn't look as good. But get over your selves, the art isn't bad, it's just different than all of the generic crap that keeps coming out. 
 
End Rant...One Piece is one of those rare experiences. Where it takes all the traps, and pitfalls of it's own genre and rise above them. Oda, has created something that I can only describe as a masterpiece. It's got everything that makes a series good. A logically flowing, coherent plot, with amazing plot twist, that had their groundings laid in the past(He is a master of foreshadowing). An amazing set of characters, with heart-wrenching back-stories, but most of all he knows how to evolve his characters. Adrenaline pumping action, amazing slapstick humor, and at times it will leave you in tears. One Piece is truly amazing, and at almost 600 chapters it's still staying true to it's self.
YotaruVegetaon June 8, 2010 at 6:12 p.m.
@Burntlettuce:  The appreciation of art, like all entertainment, is subject to taste. That being said, I love the One Piece art. I don't get why some do not like it, but I do realize that it stands out in comparison to other manga/anime art styles. That is what I LOVE about it! I love the distinctive character designs, instead of cookie cutter BS you see in anime.
 
@Kuma_From_Argentina:
 
I haven't read the manga. I still don't get how that equated to being emo. He seems to definitely be an ineffective member of the team, but not emo in that example.
JasonBogon June 11, 2010 at 1:14 p.m.
I love One Piece! In fact I just got around to writing a review for the fantastic fiftieth volume.
djaidozon June 15, 2010 at 5:35 p.m.
@DoctorWelch: You are wrong. There you go, corrected.
DoctorWelchon June 16, 2010 at 1:10 a.m.
@djaidoz said:
" @DoctorWelch: You are wrong. There you go, corrected. "
Thank you random internet person for somehow correcting my first impression of an anime, because you clearly know what my impression of something is better than I do.
CorAutMorson July 1, 2010 at 7:28 p.m.
I absolutely love this series.
animefreakchickon May 1, 2011 at 12:58 p.m.
My God, have some dignity, man! I watch the Japanese english subbed anime of One Piece, and it is great. Not all, but most. Why do you like GAY BALLERINAS????!!!! Alright, I'll agree that Yonkou Whitebeard, Enel, and Zoro are totally awesome, but really? Jango and Bon Clay? Not even an Ace? Or Yonkou Red-Haired Shanks, for cryin lout loud, what the hell is wrong with you???? Especially if you enjoy seeing Foxy make a comeback even though he is funny. Jesus Christ, get your characters right!
animefreakchickon May 1, 2011 at 3:57 p.m.
ok, i'll admit that battleship island was crap.
zaldaron Sept. 19, 2011 at 8:13 p.m.

isn't all shonen anime like bleach and naruto inherently kiddy though? I don't know tried to watch some of this and wasn't for me.

Destinyheroknighton Sept. 19, 2011 at 8:28 p.m.

@zaldar:

Well, kind of (teens in the US)

Some of them can be enjoy for all ages (like One Piece)

Taterrron Oct. 1, 2011 at 8:29 a.m.

The list of "Top One Piece characters" confuses me. In a beginner's guide, wouldn't the top five characters mostly be on the crew? There are way too many characters in the show to be able to narrow it down to five characters you "must know" :P In other news, One Piece is awesome!

franco2011on Feb. 8, 2012 at 7:01 a.m.

jaja

Dig Deeper into One Piece

A teenage boy named Monkey D. Luffy goes on a journey to find the fabled One Piece and become Pirate King, building a crew of merry mischief-makers as he goes.

Edit/View the Wiki
Hit the Forums (133 Posts)
Add/View Images (1092 Images)
Watch Some Videos
Pokemon Black and White Looks Delicious in Motion

First video of a Pokemon battle in Black and White.

Comment & Win: One Piece Vol. 52, 53

Time for a giveaway folks! Now, act civil, we don't want anyone to get hurt in the mad rush to win.

Beginner's Guide to FLCL

Gainax's madcap, surrealist anime, broken down for new viewers.

Ballz Deep

Steve gets intimately close to Dragon Ball Z, for science!

Top 3 Awful Anime Dubs

Grit your teeth and get your ear plugs ready cause this week we're taking on the three most amazingly bad dubs of all time!

AKAME GA KILL! #1 -- Special Review

Don't judge a book by its cover!

KNIGHTS OF SIDONIA #1-6 Review

Netflix just put out an original anime series! But does it hold up to expectations?

YAMISHIBAI + AI-MAI-MI MOUSOU -- Double Review

What does a micro series actually work?

JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE Pays Homage to Stephen King?

STARDUST CRUSADERS #13 -- Watch & Learn. Christine?

GLASSLIP #1 -- Special Review

Is it "glass slip" or "glass lip"? The answer is: yes.

Best Anime Show of 2014, So Far?

THE VICE PIT. What else could it be?

SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL #1 & 2 -- Special Review

Now that the second episode's out, how does this franchise fair after 25 years?

Community Spotlight 7/18/2014

It's a small but still powerful list of submissions for the second showcase of July.

AKAME GA KILL! #1 -- Special Review

Don't judge a book by its cover!

Best Anime Show of 2014, So Far?

THE VICE PIT. What else could it be?

KNIGHTS OF SIDONIA #1-6 Review

Netflix just put out an original anime series! But does it hold up to expectations?

Community Spotlight 7/18/2014

It's a small but still powerful list of submissions for the second showcase of July.

SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL #1 & 2 -- Special Review

Now that the second episode's out, how does this franchise fair after 25 years?

GLASSLIP #1 -- Special Review

Is it "glass slip" or "glass lip"? The answer is: yes.

Summer 2014 Simulcast Guide

What's flipping off the stream this season?

YAMISHIBAI + AI-MAI-MI MOUSOU -- Double Review

What does a micro series actually work?

Mandatory Network

Submissions can take several hours to be approved.

Save ChangesCancel