It isn't often I find an anime that not only is good for my kid brother, but is enjoyable for me as well. I found this gem of a show while watching Fox's Saturday morning cartoon block with said brother, and boy, was I hooked.
I know, I know, getting hooked on a kid's show? Sounds silly, no? But believe me, there is a lot here for the more mature crowd. Think of other "for everyone" cartoons like Spongebob or Regular Show, you'll find One Piece falls under that umbrella very well.
The slapstick-like humor in the show is backed with witty dialogue, and quite often I find it sails over the heads of the younger audience. Fox knows others are watching, and they masterfully accommodate us.
The only problems I find with the show are minor technical faults. The art and animation, for instance, are rather lacking. I'm not too surprised, as Japanese companies animate the show, and they've never done too well, but it still detracts from one's enjoyment of the cartoon.
Voice acting in the show is also pretty awful. Why cartoons obsess over squeaky voices I will never know, and my eardrums will never forgive, and One Piece is full of them. Ninety, ninety five, percent of the cast I'd say. There is literally no escaping it. With the animation you could overlook it, but one must suffer through these voices, lest they miss plot points.
And one certainly doesn't want to miss those! The plot in One Piece is fantastic! The best I've seen from a show of it's kind. The idea of this grand treasure hunt, of everyone competing for a goal that is ultimately unattainable, is such a great metaphor. Our lives are such a meaningless rat-race, trying to reach some vague dream that our forefather spoke of, only to die in vain, not one step closer to the "treasure".
The writers nailed this with One Piece, a show ultimately about our lives' futility. Quite heavy-handed for a kids' show, but damn do I appreciate that.
The characters in said rat-race, are rather stock, unfortunately. Exuberant guy A, grounded straight girl B, nothing really going on. But they're more than adequate at portraying the show's central theme.
One Piece is way better than it should be. Take a stock Saturday morning cartoon and transform it into a societal critique. Who would've thought this would be successful? But the proof is in the pudding, and One Piece is a show I will be dipping into for years to come.