Anime Vice News

ONE PIECE #1 - - Special Review

So... just how eager was Luffy to die from the beginning?

ONE PIECE’s hiatus has extended one more week, so I’ve decided to follow another user’s suggestion about older material I can write up in the meantime. Donwun thought it’d be fun to go back to the very first episode, and maybe even go on to cover the first few (like I did for DBZ recently). It’s funny - - I actually did watch Episode #1 a long while back when I was just sampling random pilots. And, for a moment, I was hesitant to watch it again.

See, my initial impression of ONE PIECE was that it was essentially PETER PAN: the Anime. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the vibe reminded me enough of the Fox kids PAN cartoon from the early 90’s, and other “classics illustrated” of its ilk, that I honestly couldn’t get excited about it. No bones about it, we can all pay deserved lip service to TREASURE ISLAND as a classic adventure… but it’s not cool, anymore. The fact that the first theme song sounds as saccharine as WINNIE THE POOH’s didn’t help to put this show past that, either.

Look, I realized that’s a kneejerk, and highly-specific, reaction. All the same, I still saw the show as a quaint pirate adventure serial that progressively evolved into the far more interesting metastasized madness we’re getting today. It just seems less interesting the further away it is from the batshit craziness of characters like Tony Tony Chopper and Brook.

My impression of this first episode is a still largely the same. However, now that I have the lager series’ context, I see how it fits into the shonen wheelhouse better. For one, even though it isn’t as bonkers here as things gets down the line, the pilot still does what DBZ, YU YU HAKUSHO, INUYASHA and every successfully enduring shonen’s opener has done - - it gets to some exciting stuff immediately. There’s no “things get moving with episode seven” nonsense. The viewer is thrown immediately into a conflict with stakes, the main character is already kicking butt, and it all ends a suitably ominous cliffhanger. That’s a job well done.

My other major observation is that Luffy’s quest for the One Piece really has been underlined with a sort-of Quixotic, near-tragic undercurrent since the very beginning. I mean, c’mon - - his stand-out quote from this episode is a resignation to death! Yeah, it’s still a happy-go-lucky world where the Sun never sets: but that’s still a fatalistic, almost addictive angle to hoist on all these adventures. And it’s there from the first step!

Stay tuned. I might just go check out the rest of these early episodes.

Watch this episode, “I’m Luffy! The Man Who’s Gonna Be King of the Pirates!" here and decide for yourself.

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

FoxxFireArt moderator on March 20, 2013 at 7:38 a.m.
The ONE PIECE anime wasn't on hiatus this week. There was a new episode this week. It should appear on Hulu some time today. The manga was on a one week break.
Donwunon March 20, 2013 at 9:56 a.m.

Thanks for taking the suggestion….Good Man!

even if there was a release this week I still appreciate the write-up.

I think it’s clear to most fans OP is not really about the ambiguous treasure One Piece itself, it’s more about the adventure of pirates and their ambitions. Funny enough I don’t think I’ve ever seen another character in the entire show so passionate to gain the title “Pirate King” as much as Luffy is. I mean granted most adversaries will say “I want to rule everything” yada yada but no one really says I solely want to possess One Piece and become the pirate king. Most of the time it feels like the show focuses on power struggles between gangs of super pirate crus / the navy and the straw hats interventions between the two.

Going back to the very beginning you see its all about the characters ambitions and dreams and just making the journey towards them and from my perspective One Piece is a story that will see the characters go on into their old age – somewhere in the vein of Pirates of the Caribbean (A comparison I don’t particularly like making tbh)

Whether you are writing about past or present episodes I always enjoy your take on the franchise Tom and I always appreciate admin who take user suggestions whther its here or on the Vice Pit

Straw Hats off to you Good Sir :oP

Kino88on March 20, 2013 at 1:52 p.m.

ONE PIECE!!! MADNESS!!!!!! has begun........

Petiewon March 20, 2013 at 4:46 p.m.
I actually kind of like the simpler early episodes/chapters. The East Blue 5 have the best group dynamics plus the crew gathering arcs were short, interesting and fleshed out a lot of themes.
jj_jacksonon March 20, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.

DUDE U DID NOT JUST DISS THE FIRST OPENING SONG!!! ITS CLASSIC!! i was just watching luffy vs captain kuro on neon ally!!! (one of my fav fights)

dtolsonon March 20, 2013 at 7:31 p.m.

I really do think Luffy needs some kind of long lasting rival. then it can have the shonen tri-fecta.

TheJoker1911on March 21, 2013 at 7:38 a.m.

i dont watch one piece anymore.....ever since ace and whitebeard were killed off:"(

Top8caton March 21, 2013 at 1:55 p.m.

As you mentioned in your post on how Luffy's quest for the 'one piece' in basically knocking on deaths door begging to enter. One of my favorite One Piece episodes that perfectly illustrates Luffy's near one-sided state of mind is the one were he's about to be executed and truly thinks it to be his last words....won't ruin it, but if could find the episode number I'd defiantly recommend a watch. It happens just before they enter the Grand Line I believe. Anywho it sets the tone for the entire series imo.

Edit:

Just re-watched the first One Piece episodes, reminds me why I fell in love with the series, Simplicity.

Luffy had a one track mind, Zoro was somehow even more of a badass(crazy i know). Nami was interesting and with normal sized.....hair, Devil Fruit users were a rare find, beating up a pirate crew was shocking, 30,000,000Beli was a lot of money, and a big monster was big. But I guess bloated lore is a draw back with all long running shonen

anothergoodusernameon March 23, 2013 at 6:38 a.m.

I think it represents well the passing of time in a more believable way than most shounen manga. How they do always come across stronger adversaries but that's because they go further out into the world, how at the beginning devil fruit users were rare because they were in one small corner of the world where 30,000,000beli was a lot, but in the grander scheme of things and when you travel the world it's bigger than you would think it was and i think it was well written in the war, then a timeskip to allow the strawhats to grow in level rather than the generic 'feelings' power ups in so many crappy mangas.

Top8caton March 23, 2013 at 11:39 a.m.

Funny that you write that, because the farther I've gone into the beginning episodes the more I've come to that realization. I'm still am a little peeved by how they're handling somethings, but as for the power creep. If feels amazingly natural. I think where I came to that conclusion was when Zoro fought MIhawk, we was so much weaker back then and remembering all he went though to become stronger even having to be under 'Hawkeyes' tutelage in order to power up opened up a soft spot for this series.

Basically, I was way to harsh. However, they really need to give the straw-hats back some of their character depth, I know that's hard with the large amount of crew members, but It's something I really loved about the past, it was simple enough to allow for some interesting character development. Luffy and Zoro still have that depth, but they seem to be slacking with the other characters(besides the "I was weak now I'm stronger, here's my flash back' development). But again, I'm being a bit to harsh

zaldaron April 2, 2013 at 10:46 a.m.

I still prefer the slow moving character driven thought provoking pieces. This is just a slightly crazier Saturday morning cartoon....which if wanted I would just get up early on Saturday morning...

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.

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