One Piece

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cassiesheepgirl's avatar By cassiesheepgirl on Aug 17, 2010

Story:

For a long time I put off watching the anime of One Piece because, although it sounded fun, it was just too damn long and the thought of watching three hundred plus episodes was a bit daunting. However I soon gave in and became quickly addicted, devouring the now four hundred instalments in fairly quick succession. Then, while suffering from withdrawal from a nightly dose of my favourite pirates – and against my bank balance’s better judgement – I decided to pick up the manga. Fifty-four volumes later and I can now barely wait for the next part to come out here in the UK.

Monkey D. Luffy is a young lad who aims to become the King of the Pirates by gathering together his own crew and locating the most prized treasure of the legendary pirate, Gol D. Roger. The manga follows the adventures of Luffy’s newly-formed troupe – the Straw Hat Pirates – as they traverse the treacherous waters of the world’s toughest sea: The Grand Line.

One Piece draws the majority of its charm from the full-on wackiness of it all; Luffy’s world is big, bold and – most importantly – bloody good fun! The narrative’s comedic content shines throughout with exaggerated reactions, manzai-style exchanges between characters and the sheer absurdity of some situations. On many an occasion I find myself not just smirking, but heartily laughing out loud in the office – something that’s horrifically embarrassing if someone happens to wander past the door.

In addition to the humour, mangaka Eiichirou Oda has carefully thought out the One Piece universe. Aside from planting the seeds for later events throughout the early part of the story, the world itself is clever in its very design. The Grand Line by nature of being a mysterious and treacherous sea with its own rules when it comes to both the climate and ecological system of its various islets immediately allows for even the most outrageous of situations to seem plausible. Floating islands? Yep. Zombies? Sure, why not! Dinosaurs? Great, here, have a volcanic landmass with huge trees and a complete lack of human beings. While it may seem preposterous, let’s face it, the idea of a remote area inaccessible to people and populated by giant extinct lizards is hardly an overly outlandish idea – Jurassic Park and its sequels anyone? That isn’t to say that some plot points don’t seem a little too far-fetched even for this fantastical world, but the narrative’s inherently enjoyable nature makes any small niggles fade into obscurity, particularly when the reader finds themselves thoroughly immersed in the Straw Hat’s adventures.

One of my favourite things about the One Piece manga is the variety of extras it offers up; for example the title page stories are a nice touch in particular. Spanning a varying number of chapters, this mini-series of tales showing what happens to some of the previous characters entertains as well as highlights just how well thought out the world of Luffy and the gang is. Some plotlines such as “Little Buggy’s Big Adventure” and “Coby and Helmeppo’s Chronicle of Toil” made it into the anime, whereas others such as “Hachi’s Stroll on the Ocean Floor” and the “Baroque Works Reunion” fill in small gaps within the main narrative. Aside from these, most volumes of the manga include a Q&A section with the author. While this isn’t a new concept by any stretch of the imagination, Oda (or Odacchi to his SBS question corner fans) is such a genuinely funny guy that I actually find myself looking forward to the next instalment just to see how he responds to the latest flake that sends in a postcard.

Art:

Eiichirou Oda has a very bold drawing style full of thick, definite lines. His clear-cut imagery naturally works well for the audacious shounen series, and exudes a level of confidence that Luffy would be proud of. Though the content is generally larger than, Oda still retains an impressive level of detail throughout with proficient use of hatching to create an aged look for ancient cities or simply to add texture to barrels, cloth or paving. Though not the most breathtakingly stunning visuals ever to grace the printed page, the wacky character designs work perfectly in tandem with the narrative’s fun and brash nature. Plenty of action lines and exaggerated facial expressions – such as angry pointed teeth or eyeballs leaping two feet out of their sockets – enhance the kick-ass combat and comedic aspect of the Straw Hat’s adventures.

Oda also manages to infuse his sense of humour into the imagery in more ways than one, from adding a comedic drunk into the background of an action scene to creating his own ‘Doskoi Panda’ brand name and foisting it upon various people throughout the series. Though, without a doubt, his greatest visual gag that continues the panda theme, comes in the form of Panda Man. This joke character appears countless times in the crowd in a variety of guises; one chapter he may be a pirate, the next a zombie, then a marine in another. While this adds to the manga’s entertainment value by providing an in-volume pirate version of “Where’s Wally” (Where’s Waldo for all you Americans out there) it also encourages the reader to really look at the artwork, thus allowing them to get maximum enjoyment out of One Piece’s world.

Characters:

Love or hate them, the Straw Hat Pirates all grab the readers in their own ways. While they have their quirks that could easily lead them to be pigeonholed, none of them feel flat. Each character has his or her own painful past and hidden depths, which more often than not burst forth with a gargantuan splash, scattering various bits of sea life in its wake. Though Oda constructs the back-stories to ensure that more than a few tug at every available heartstring, what truly makes the reader fall in love with this rag-tag bunch of awesome pirates are the various exchanges between the protagonists. Whether it’s Zoro and Sanji’s mutual disdain for each other’s existence, the ero-cook’s obsession with his female companions, or Luffy’s carefree friendship with resident wuss Usopp, the shipmates’ numerous interactions mean that quickly enough, it becomes impossible to imagine just what the crew would be like if one member weren’t there.

One Piece boasts a humungous supporting cast and (straw) hats off to Odacchi, his vivid and creative imagination allows him to give each creation his or her own set of unique quirks. Though most of these personalities only appear in one arc at most, their eccentricities etch themselves into your memory. From more prominent antagonists such as the lovably outrageous Bon Clay in all his cross-dressing ballet-dancing glory, and the insane spaghetti-lobed Enel to one-shot baddies that only appear in only a chapter or two like Wanze, whose uhh… freaky method of producing noodles from his nostrils is enough to put you off ramen for life.

Overall: 

Yes, this is a long manga, and it’s still going with no signs of stopping in the foreseeable future, but do not dismiss One Piece on this basis alone. This is possibly the most FUN manga that I have yet to encounter, and should you allow yourself to get swept away with Luffy, you could well find yourself laughing at his antics, punching the air with every great victory, and welling up at the painful sides of their lives. So go on, give it a shot; stow away on the Going Merry, sing along to “Binks’ Sake”, and traverse the treacherous waters of the Grand Line for yourself.

9/10 story
8/10 art
8.5/10 characters
8.7/10 overall
Ninju's avatar By Ninju on Jul 31, 2010

One Piece has been going since 1997 and still managed to be unique and interesting almost every chapter.  After every huge story arc you wonder "how are they going to top this one?  There's no way!"  Then, something even better or just as good comes next.  While mangas like Naruto and Bleach almost seem as though they're starting to stumble for what they're going to do next, One Piece always seems to having something already planned.
The life of a mangaka is a busy one, and that Oda is able to keep you reading is a true display or skill.  It also manages to give you a super-powerful hero, but also always introduces someone more powerful.  This is something I feel is not explored enough in fiction.  There is always a point where the main character just seems god-like.  I like the fact that the main character, Luffy, is strong but often wins at a great price and even loses. 

The universe Oda created is fantastic, humorous, action packed, and charming.  It's difficult not to fall in love with Luffy or want to be as badass as Zoro. 

The hype is true, and if you haven't picked up a volume of One Piece you have some catching up to do.

8/10 story
9/10 art
9/10 characters
8/10 overall
MugenNeS's avatar By MugenNeS on Dec 23, 2010

One Piece is by far one of the most love manga of all time in my opinion, with a marvelous story, vast world of adventure that sweeps readers away and of course lovable characters that you can't ever hate (yes even the bad guys are memorable). I'm not a huge fan of the anime of One Piece, but I enjoy reading the manga. Filled with hilarity, action, adventure, and a ton of history well in a fantasy world I highly recommend anyone who like anything I've mentioned to pick up this manga and enjoy a good read.

10/10 story
10/10 art
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
Hethran's avatar By Hethran on Oct 16, 2010

Story:

How does one describe the story of One Piece? One can easily write a description in a single sentence. It's a pirate manga with a crew of goodly pirates who spend their days fighting other pirates, overthrowing corrupt governments, and generally being badass, with plenty comedy and fantastic elements thrown in. However, that fails to truly describe what One Piece is.

One Piece is a heartwarming tale of achievement despite the odds. It is a tale of Luffy daring to dream the impossible, and accomplishing it, again and again. It is an utterly outrageous comedy that will have you laughing every minute. It is an action series that will have you on the edge of your seat with every battle. It is tale of comraderie and friendship that will likely reduce you to tears countless times.

Whether it be the Straw Hats assembling for their latest badass pose, Luffy striking down yet another foe in a way more epic than the last, or Zolo's newest outrageous sword stunt, practically every volume has an epic crowning moment of awesome that will steal your breath away.

As for pacing, often the deathknell of long running shounen- the individual storyarcs all move at a good clip. The overall story is proceeding at a snail's pace - but with each arc better than the last, you won't even notice.

Art:

Absolutely brilliant.

Unlike many other action mangas, it is always easy to tell what is going on in every battle. The comedic art is also very well done, with Oda's goofy art stye the source of countless laughs - whether it be eyes popping two feet out their sockets, or Mr. 2 Bon Clay's preposterously outrageous clothing.

Characters:

Very well done. Whether it be the incredibly badass trio of Luffy, Zolo, and Robin, the conniving thief Nami, the hilariously naive Chopper, the comedically "chivalrous" pervert Sanji, the speed carpenter Franky, the cowardly liar Usopp, orthe brave and heroic Sniper King, you'll grow to love them all. You'll laugh at their comedic antics and be frustrated by their failures. You'll be enchanted by their unwavering comraderie, and laugh some more at their constant bickering. You'll be inspired by Luffy's boundless courage, and laugh even more at his stupidity.

Overall: 10/10

One Piece is one of the best manga or anime I have ever watched or read. If you like Shounen manga, read it. If you like action or comedy manga, read it. Heck, if you like manga or anime period, read it. You won't be dissapointed.

10/10 story
10/10 art
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
tennis101101's avatar By tennis101101 on Oct 17, 2013

This manga is really good because it has a really good story line to it and it follows the anime very well but sometimes it goes off on to a side story and that is okay. I love the art of the manga because it is really good and has really good details to it. I like the way they develop the art as they go along and have amazing backgrounds. I love most of the characters because they are really awesome people and almost of the one I like are pirates and that is so cool. I like that they are "good" pirates. So overall this is a really good manga.

9.5/10 story
9/10 art
9.5/10 characters
9.5/10 overall