NOTE: I just have to say, that the Strawhat Pirates are NOT Pirates, in the slightest sense of the word. They may say they are, but none of the Pirates in this show follow any of the traditions or lore of classical Pirates i.e. Black Spot of Death, Mutiny, Captains killing their entire crew and keeping the Treasure for themselves etc. If anyone is looking for a traditional Pirate based Anime, then this is not it, it is however a very interesting Shonen show, anyway on with the review.
One Piece is about a boy called Monkey D. Luffy, who one day ate a magic fruit known as the "Gum-Gum Fruit" which gave him the ability to stretch his body like rubber but losing his ability to swim for the rest of his life. Promising a person he respects dearly that he will become King of the Pirates, he sets sail, hoping to find the legendary treasure One Piece and reign as the next King just as the last King before him, Gol D. Roger.
When it comes to story, when I first heard the premise, I felt it was a waste of potential, here is my original thought "Wait a minute, so there is this big expansive and diverse world filled with all sorts of amazing feats and imagination and the plot carrying this is that the main character wants to be King of the Pirates, I could think up a way better plot for this kind of potential that is a lot more desrving" but when I thought about it, I really couldn't and I came to the conclusion that the story was just as perfect as it is.
The story is basically structured with Luffy and crew going from island to island beating up bad guys seeing different sights and overall, having a laugh. The show has it's serious moments, but I much prefer it when the show focuses more on it comedy, which is some of the best I've seen in the Shounen genre. Like every Shounen show, however, there is filler, but for some reason, the filler felt a bit authentic to me, then when I was seasrching online I found out that the author of the manga, Eiichiro Oda, actually gives the writers ideas on what to write about and adds some connections to later events in the story, which is quite refreshing and doesn't feel as half-a**ed as other Shounen shows.
I suppose the only draw-back in the series is the pacing, like Dragon Ball Z style, some episodes are drawn out a bit to allow for the author to write new material, but that's a price to be had, when watching a Shounen show and if you hold out through each story arc, you will definitely have your payoff. 9/10
I'll be honest with you, the first part of the Show has pretty bad Animation, even for 1999 standards. A lot of objects move rather slowly and some of the attacks don't look half as strong as they should, mix that in with badly coloured water-painted half-finished back-grounds and you've got a rather bland looking Show. I know that Eiichiro Oda's art style might not have been the easiest to adapt into Animation, but it could've been a lot better, but it slightly improved bit-by-bit, until I got to the Water 7 Arc, where the art was given a much needed upgrade with objects moving a lot faster, characters where a lot more detailed and the backgrounds where actually noticeable.
Speaking of the Art-Style, Eiichiro Oda says that he is a fan of Tim Burton and you can definitely see that in the Art. His characters range from very silly looking too incredibly threatening, the amount of imagination imployed is fascinating and it's one of the high pionts of the Show.
Overall, the Animation is lack-luster for the first part, but has greatly improved since then and never looked back. 7/10
There isn't really much to say here, apart from, the Music is nicely handled and well put together and suits the tone perfectly, the dub by FUNimation, is one of the best I've heard them produce.
Overall, the sound gets it's job done, by affecting tone and atmosphere, also accompanied by a great Dub. 8/10
Every Character is well developed and handled, each character has either made me laugh so hard I could barely stop or made me cry so much I wish I could be there too make them feel better. These are characters you care for and you will definitely not be able to resist their charms, whether it's the bada** but forgetful Swordsman Zoro or the clever yet cowardly Usopp they will stay in your minds, long after you've finished a few episodes. Also seeing them interact with eachother shows how great their chemistry is and how hilarious the show can be. 9/10
This show is great highlight in the Shounen genre, if you have not seen this show, I'd say give it a shot, it may have faults, but you will definitely enjoy, that I can say for certain. This is definitely a Shounen Gem. 8.5/10