#10 – One Piece by Oda Eiichiro

November 25, 2007 |  by

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One Piece by Oda Eiichiro
Published by Shueisha
Serialized in Shounen Jump
Translated by Viz

When friends ask me about a shounen story I’d recommend, the first title that comes to mind is One Piece. After hearing the title, most of them groan saying “it’s too long” or “there’s no bishounen in there” or “the art is butt ugly.” Although I’d honestly like to immediately contest and defend this rag tag crew to them, I always just throw at them the line “For your nakama1, just give it a shot.” Happily so, after I lend them 20 volumes to read, they’d come back screaming “Nakama!!” with great gusto!

One Piece is more than just a shounen story with a pirate touch. Oda Eiichiro has turned Luffy’s quest for One Piece into your adventure as well. This is the reason why it has lasted a decade with fans and why it’ll be probably go on for a couple more years. This is a manga where the characters become your nakama.

Hopping on the ship

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The story of One Piece revolves around a boy named Luffy who wants to become a pirate. The moment he grew older he set sail looking for comrades to join him in his ship. Together, they go all over the seas where they can find the great pirate treasure “One Piece”. Such a simple story, however, people are always hesitant to start with One Piece.

Getting started with One Piece is always an issue. Really. I cannot stress enough how much I have recommended this to many friends and all of them just shrug their shoulders wanting to read Bleach or Naruto instead. The first hurdle in One Piece is the art. It’s too simple. Un-mangaish. Luffy isn’t a bishounen like Sasuke or Ichigo. Luffy doesn’t look cool. I remember having said this myself when I started out but I sure ate my words by the second volume.

Sure, the art is not something we’d easily consider as handsome by Bleach or Naruto standards. It is indeed childish with large round eyes and gummy faces. But his art works well with the paneling. His art doesn’t look too constricted when he places them in small panels. When he dedicates a page for a moment it becomes ‘THE’ moment. More so, he also takes time in reconstructing the world. You can see detail in his backgrounds even for the small panels. The cartoony images work for his style and his world. And when it matters, Odacchi2 will place the details on his character’s faces and they’ll be just as cool, if not even cooler than Ichigo.

Luffy is the Captain. Not Zoro. Not Sanji. Not Nami. It can only be Luffy.

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So, you have one great swordsman who can cut and slice anything with his swords. You have a cook who can mince meat with his feet. And you have a smart navigator who has a keen sense of the weather. So why do you have a captain who can’t swim and can’t make smart decision?

Sure Luffy is a glutton and an idiot. But he’s got the heart of the captain. And that’s why he is one. He may not be your average suave and cool shounen jump hero, but, in my opinion, he has the spirit and the energy to be one. His optimism and faith in his friends is endearing. Just when everybody thinks it’s over, here’s Luffy screaming his guts out telling everybody that the battle is not over until some fat lady sings. Because his crew knows that Luffy trusts them that’s why they too trust in him infallibly. It is this trust, earned and fought for by Luffy that made his people follow him despite his silly demeanor.

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When Luffy steps up and decides to put matters into his hands, Luffy is cooler than Sanji and Zoro combined. You actually just have to read it and you’ll know why Sanji and Zoro are cool they way they do right now. It’s because they met someone like Luffy, someone who had absolute faith in them and someone whom they don’t want to disappoint. It’s amazing how Luffy’s energy just channels through the rest of the crew whenever they go to battle. His bravery, courage, and sense of justice is amazing. And this is why he’s captain and not anybody else.

A long adventure is long. But you’ll get by since you have your nakama

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If there is a point where I would probably claim defeat is the idea that I’m pimping over 40 volumes of One Piece to my friends. IT IS LONG. And it will be even longer since I know that they have just arrived probably towards half of their journey (They just got their shipwright Franky a months ago!!). The interesting thing though is that you won’t feel the length of the journey nor get bored by it because you know that you’ll have a great adventure with great comrades. Odacchi is a master in plotting. The world he established for One Piece gave him an infinite amount of creativity to harness. You are guaranteed that you won’t be getting bored thinking that they’ll be on the same island again. In fact, after the last adventure, you’ll be asking ‘So, where do we go next?’ The One Piece world, wherein your next stop is unknown, creates opportunity for creativity. And Odacchi doesn’t fall short of this. He will always have exciting battles and moving stories to tell. Yes. Moving stories. One that can literally sweep you off your feet and make you cry. Yes, this is a shounen manga.

op1 It’s a given if you cry in shoujo manga. Seinen, I prolly cried once or twice. But shounen manga is all about action and battles, victory, and perseverance. Sometimes emotions are set aside making the event more cool than it is really a development of a character. In One Piece, Odacchi is not scared to make his heroes cry nor is he scared to do something that will make you cry. It is this sad tale of parting, the happiness of victory, and the inexplicable trust that just punches your heart and makes you think “So, there are still people who value friendship like this.” I have cried countless times in One Piece. I even cried when they lost their trusty friend, their ship Going Merry. (Yes… I truly cried for a ship and the idea still brings tears to my eyes!) When Sanji left Baratie… all of them moving. And strangely so, in a shounen manga!! Of course, with most tears are joys and One Piece also has that up its alley. The crews personalities just collide and is really funny, especially Luffy. That guy is on crack. Him and his family. XD

As I said earlier, Luffy’s strength lies in his faith in his nakama and this will be utilized over and over again when hardships befall on the Strawhat pirates. You will see them try their best to get out of the ruckus together. And you’ll see them try to use their skills to protect and to journey through the dangerous seas. It’s really moving, to the point that it can move you to tears and make you shout “Nakama!!!” As you go through each adventure and you meet new people, over and over again you will see how this crew of 8 (or maybe 9… soon) prove time and time again that it’s their friendship that makes them strong. And this makes One Piece one of the best stories that is running on Jump. It has dreams and goals that boys dream of. More so, it has values that make men out of boys.

On a side note, it’s kind of sad that the popularity of One Piece is not as big as Ghost Fighter or Dragon Ball was to Filipinos. Is it because Luffy looks lanky? But he’s really cool you know. And the Tagalog dubs are really good. I wonder why though. Hmmm… Bleach and Naruto is a whole lot popular here too, but I strongly and firmly believe that One Piece should get some loving from the local community too. lol.

  1. Comrade []
  2. Eiichiro Oda’s nickname. []
  3. Comrade []
 
  • filipinaOPfan

    YES. Reviews like these that promote ONE PIECE are just what we need to convince the people to read this beautiful piece of work! I started reading the manga only recently and even though at first was hesitant to even start it, I can’t stop thinking about it! I’ve read all 600+ chapters online for a whole week straight. Stopping only because I have classes to attend to! 

    Sure Bleach and Naruto may have awesome art, but One Piece has this super awesome story and developing art style which is, by my opinion, more powerful than just awesome art. Never judge a book by it’s cover!! I mean, there’s a pretty good reason why it was up there in the big three with Naruto and Bleach, and SURELY it’s not because it’s super uber long. 

    I don’t even get where that reasoning came from. It’s part of the big three because it’s awesome. It has 600+ chapters and episodes because it’s awesome. It has 12 movies because it’s awesome and the latest movie Z just happen to  earn Japan’s #1 Opening Weekend of 2012, grossing ¥750 million ($9 million US). So why not give One Piece a chance? :D

  • khat

    I sooo love this anime:ONE PIECE..this is the only anime i watched in episodes from morning until midnight around 3am, and it’s worth it :))

  • kanpachi

    great review. it made me tear up!
    among the three big animes (naruto, bleach, one piece), i really think that OP is the best. the characters are just great.
    and yeah, i agree on the statement you made on the last paragraph.
    maybe filipinos are just like that — they care more about the looks than what is within.
    i am a flipino, so don’t get me wrong. that’s just based on my observations. :P

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  • pouleth

    I think that one piece is the best anime that i see in my life ^^
    i like when luffy said: SUGOI!!!!! or SANJI MEAT !!!!!!
    one piece rulez!!!!

  • Angela

    Great review! I remember I had the same reservations before starting the anime: I thought, “do I REALLY want to commit myself to something so long–and with such strange art?!”

    Thankfully, I decided to give it a try, and boy am I glad I did! As soon as I was caught up with the anime, I hunted down the manga, and now I can’t get enough. Having watched/read both Naruto and Bleach, I admit that One Piece still holds a higher place in my heart.

    If someone’s looking for a funny, heartwarming manga to read or an anime to watch, One Piece is one of the first things I recommend–and you summed up all the reasons why beautifully in your review. ^_^

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  • http://................. mizusawa

    i like that! sugooooooiiiiii ne! arigato gozaimashita! what is the next episodes of one piece? yuppy! yyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!

  • artemio

    i wan these potos becose my idol

  • http://keysinunez.com keysinunez

    indeed it does. dubbed is not that way to go when watching anime. thank you for your suggestion though i’m still trying to find someone who can teach me japanese.

    “One Piece rocks!!” <- ditto ^^

  • Maryan

    I, for one, am a Filipino and I absolutely love One Piece! I have never watched the Tagalog dubbed ones and I hardly ever watch the English dubbed ones.. xD I usually pick the subbed ones when watching anime and the same goes for this wonderful shounen..

    Oda Eiichiro is one of the best! All of his previous works were absolutely marvelous, not to mention hilarious yet heartbreaking in a way that only he can manifest..

    I’d have to admit, the first time I saw this manga, I thought it wasn’t cool at all.. But the moment I read it and came to the part where Shanks lost an arm to save Luffy, I broke a tear.. Luffy had grown into such a strong-willed (and definitely physically strong too!) young fellow.. He’s even cooler now! with his new gears and whatnot.. ;D

    I like hilarious scenes and cartoons.. One Piece has tons of those! This one is probably the most humorous manga I’ve read.. I am eternally grateful Oda Eiichiro chose to share his work to all of the world.. xD

    One Piece rocks!!

  • Cee

    You have just put into words why I love One Piece so much TT-TT -bookmarks-. none of my friends (well, most, I recently got Ju hooked, too) can quite understand why I obsess over it so much!

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