One Piece is fun. That is right, fun. It is indeed long and drawn out at times, but One Piece stays true to itself in providing a constantly fun storyline. Monkey D. Luffy is a rookie pirate aiming at becoming the Pirate King after being inspired by his hero, Red-Haired Shanks. The story centers around Luffy’s journey toward his dream: finding the treasure One Piece and becoming the King of the Pirates. As he journeys he gains new nakama (friend, companion) in the form of both crewmembers and people he meets on various islands during his travels.
One very strong point in the One Piece storyline is it does not “forget” the past story or characters. When Luffy and his crew visit an island and make new 'nakama' they frequently show up later in the story. Often these scenes bring to memory an older part of the story and help tie it in to the current events. A point that helps bring fun into the story is simply the variety of people and things the crew meet along their journey: from island sized whales to mermen, zombies and even swords that change into elephants. Yet another strong point is the fight scenes. Usually in long shonen anime every fight is an opportunity for the main character to get stronger, and that usually means one thing: a long multi-episodic battle ensues. This is often a turnoff for many viewers as usually the battles take 10+ episodes and can get boring quickly. Well that’s not to say that One Piece does not suffer from these long battles as well, but the strong point is the fact that the length of battles is varied. Sometimes an enemy that seems like they will be strong is defeated in only one episode, or even on occasion in one attack, while other times battles can be rather drawn out. Although the long battles can still seem daunting to the casual watcher, they can usually be seen coming because they appear at the end of an arc and are usually built up to for a long time.
At the time of writing this review episode 410 was just released. In such a lengthy anime fillers are of course present. On a plus side, the fillers in One Piece are often entertaining and are not lengthy, but on the other side of the coin, they have little or nothing to add to the story and sometimes contain heavily reused animation. In the points up to now the length of each arc and content of each is highly varied. The most important thing that keeps One Piece from getting highly repetitive is the fact that arcs each have a different purpose. In some arcs a new nakama is to be gained or enemy to be fought, while in other arcs Luffy helps his one of his crew get closer to their dream. Each crewmember’s individual dream plays an important part in the storyline, and plot elements introduced drive the story rather than just fill their particular arc.
The main reason that story gets such a high rating is simply the fact that the One Piece world may be one of the largest an most complex anime world to have been developed, but it holds together remarkably well. Between the unique usage of revisiting old characters to explain what has been happening in the world and the comic relief that helps balance out some of the more serious arks, One Piece has created an extremely fun and entertaining world to watch.
The animation in One Piece is hard to rate simply because of the length of the series. With ten years of running time already you can expect the animation to have changed significantly. Throughout the show characters are drawn with smooth lines and the action scenes sometimes look even better than the static scenes, but backgrounds are often quite plain and quickly done. Although characters use a simple animation style they always look good and use a variety of different movement styles and attacks as opposed to simply using the same moves repeatedly, or using repeated animation, the bane of shows this length. Although the animation is no 5 Centimeters Per Second it is done quite well for an episode-per-week show.
One of the weakest points of One Piece is its music. The very first opening song could be likened to sticking nails in your ears or listening to drunken karaoke, and the later openings don’t get much better. Most of the openings are generic synth-pop style karaoke tracks that most people are likely to skip past every time the opening plays. One or two may stand out from the rest as ones that may get thrown onto your Anime playlist, but the others will likely be quickly skipped. The rest of the music in general is not bad, but does not stand out much. The music generally goes with scene, but is forgettable, and looses points for the horrible openings.
As sound is the weak part of the show, the characters are the superglue that holds together the One Piece universe. Luffy’s recklessness, Zoro’s failed sense of direction and Nami’s inhuman strength when it comes to breaking up pointless fights provide only some of the glue among countless other character interactions.
Each crewmember has a unique and complex personality along with many of the other characters met in the One Piece universe. Not only are the characters complex personalities a big part of the show, but the characters interactions are also well though out and many unique personalities can be observed. The lack of generic characters in One Piece is relieving. Important characters are introduced properly and do not seem to fall out of character without explanation. The generic characters of the show (villagers, Baroque Works millions and billions, marines, etc) are generic usually to emphasize the more important characters, and the less developed enemies usually form an introduction to the “big boss” enemies. One Piece still has its share of aggravating characters, but these too have a developed personality, emphasizing the variety in character styles.
One Piece is worth watching just to see the large array of characters and personalities, and even though there are such a vast number of them, each and every one is entertaining in their own way.
Even though its long and drawn out, One Piece is entertaining to watch, whether it is week by week, or a hundred episodes a week. One Piece is a universe of characters that you can watch grow and change over a long period of time while having fun. It doesn’t leave much wanting except for its more-horrible-than-average openings, and I would suggest that anyone with the slightest interest should at least take a peek. Don’t set this anime to “Will Not Watch” without seeing any of it!