What You Need to KnowThe 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 StoryMonkey 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 ExpectAs 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.
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.
CharactersOne 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 GuideI 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.
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!