Long ago the infamous Gol D. Roger was the strongest and most powerful pirate on the seas. As he was about to be executed he revealed that he hid all of his wealth, including the legendary treasure known as One Piece, on an island at the end of the Grand Line - a treacherous and truly unpredictable sea. Monkey D. Luffy is a spirited, energetic and somewhat dim-witted young man with a very big dream: to find One Piece and become the Pirate King! However Luffy is no ordinary boy, as when he was younger he ate one of the Devil's Fruits and gained its power to become a Rubber Man. Now in this grand age of pirates Luffy sets out to gather a crew and sail to the most dangerous sea in the world so that he can fulfill his dream... and maybe even his appetite!
StoryFor series of this length, there’s a fairly intriguing piece of conjecture that I occasionally enjoy trotting around. According to the theory, no matter how awesome the original premise, no matter how charming the cast of characters, no matter how competent the studio, every long series will tank after about 75 episodes. As evidence, a myriad of lengthy anime can be cited that begin excellently and then slowly degenerate into recycled material and filler. Kenshin was excellent until some genius decided to deviate from the manga. Kodomo no Omocha was brilliant until the series drowned itself in the utterly craptastic New York arc. Naruto was actually fairly fun until Gaara and his whiny, sniveling flashbacks slowed the series down to a monotonous crawl. Prince of Tennis, Slam Dunk, Galaxy Angel... I could rant on this phenomenon for hours, and probably will someday. Of course, my theory has an annoying, irrefutable, and ultimately fatal hole in its logic. Even when I’m at my most eloquent, I inevitably find myself forced to tag “…except One Piece” onto the end of every sentence. According to the hypothesis, the series should have died off episodes upon episodes ago, and yet continues to succeed well beyond any possible expectations. Just as other shows of similar length are running out of creative steam and tormenting their fans with shamelessly shitty schlock, One Piece draws from a seemingly infinite well of creativity to deliver time and time again. Put simply, One Piece seems almost limitless in its capacity for entertainment. Granted, the storyline is not without its weak moments. There are scattered filler episodes that really don’t belong, and the dragon puzzle arc is some of the most boring material that I’ve ever willingly watched. However, although during these moments the show seems like it might finally go the way of Inuyasha, the creators always bounce back to deliver more of what everyone loves. The Arabasta arc, which has just recently concluded, is one of the best segments of the entire series. This fact alone leads to the inevitable question of what separates the show from lesser works. What makes the series as good as it is? Why has the series succeeded where so many others have failed? Essentially, what is driving the show to remain so engaging for such a ridiculous amount of time? The answer, I believe, draws not from what the story is about, but how the story is approached. With fight scenes, simplistic humor, and the ever-present emphasis on the importance of friendship, the anime contains many of the expected trappings of the shounen genre. However, a characteristic seemingly unique to One Piece is the distinct air of genuineness that the show seems to permeate. With other shows of similar length, I’m often struck by the distinct feeling that the show has exactly one thing on its mind: money. Oftentimes, an anime with an established audience will simply stop coming up with new material, and start recycling what they’ve already made. In this creative void, the show will rigorously follow its formula beyond any semblance of what is entertaining. Thus, the studio is able to pump every possible cent from its cash cow until nothing is left but the lifeless husk of what the show used to be. At this point, ratings dip, and the studio cancels it at a completely arbitrary point, neglecting even the slightest of closure and basically spitting in their fans’ faces. With One Piece, however, the feeling is crucially different. While watching the anime, one gets the impression that Eiichiro Oda, the author of the original manga, was focused not on money, but something much more substantial: having fun. Every element of the storyline, from the delightfully absurd jokes to the most serious of plot points, seems to be there because the manga creator enjoyed putting them there. This, I believe, is the reason why One Piece has remained fresh for so long. For some unfathomable reason, the creator enjoys pumping out volume after volume of golden material. Furthermore, as opposed to many other manga to anime conversions, the studio is actually faithful with its material. The result is a storyline that, despite some inevitable inconsistency, is one of the best of its kind: an unnaturally enjoyable romp across the seas of a thoroughly original world.AnimationAnimation, while fairly nice, is not completely free of the penny-pinching shortcuts that typically plague shows of this length. Backgrounds are often rather ugly and hastily drawn, and anything drawn at a distance tends to be a little too oversimplified. The show also sports some truly ugly character designs that take a good deal of time to get used to, and a good deal longer to actually appreciate. The fight scenes are almost certainly the highlight of the animation, which seem to involve a lot more money than the rest of the show. The action is usually very well timed, and character movements are suitably lithe and convincing (and by that, I mean as convincing as a person made of rubber could possibly be). A lot of fight scenes in other anime tend to overuse repeated footage, but One Piece doesn’t seem to have this problem. Overall, One Piece’s visuals are pleasant, but certainly not groundbreaking.SoundMusic starts out on a fairly shitty note, with one of the lamest OP’s I’ve heard that I can remember. After the first episodes, the anime begins to cycle through the opening and ending songs at a fairly quick pace, and soon there are too many of them to actually keep track of. However, just about every song is a fairly mediocre J-Pop track, and none of them are actually good enough to really get excited over. Background music doesn’t really stand out, but never becomes noticeably repetitive or distracting, either. Voice acting tends to be fairly good, although there are exceptions to this (in particular, that one dog from the Buggy arc comes to mind).CharactersLove them or hate them, few people would disagree with the statement that each and every character of One Piece is decidedly unique. From the bizarre character designs to the off-kilter personalities to the extensive back-stories, there isn’t a whole lot here that can be seen somewhere else. The question of actual appeal, however, is a slightly different issue. For the actual protagonists, many, many people (including myself) are going to have an initially difficult time liking characters like Usopp. Also, a good deal of the supporting cast in the early episodes has the tendency to be excruciatingly annoying (Buggy the Clown, Kobe, Guy in the Box). However, whether the show is actually improving at development or whether it simply takes time to grow to like some of the more pathetic characters, this is becoming much less of an issue than what I’ve previously made it out to be. Amazingly enough, I’m beginning to like Usopp as a character, and for the recent Arabasta arc, there wasn’t a single character that I wasn’t fond of. Furthermore, the characters that happen to be above-average for the show tend to be downright excellent. If there are people in this world that are immune to the charms of characters like Sanji, Luffy, or Nami, then I haven’t met them yet. Each one of these has an immensely compelling back-story and a loveable and distinctive personality. Also, each can be amazingly funny when played off of the rest of the cast. My one possible complaint would lie with Vivi, who seems a little dull at times; there just doesnt seem to be anything interesting about her personality. However, this could easily be just because she’s not quite as original and wacky as the rest of the crew. As a whole, the characters are an ultimately endearing bunch, especially if one chooses to overlook the weaknesses of some of the more minor characters.OverallDo I believe that One Piece will last forever? Surely not. All great things, even ones that initially seem infinitely robust, must eventually come to an end. I’m sure there will come a time where One Piece will either cease to be entertaining or simply cease production. However, even if One Piece begins to suck from the very moment that I finish writing this review, the sheer length of quality episodes that have been released already easily elevate the series to far beyond most anime can dream of. Besides, if the Arabasta arc is any indication, One Piece looks as though it will remain entertaining for a good deal longer.
Synopsis Before his execution twenty-four years ago, the fabled Pirate King Gol D. Roger revealed the location of the One Piece, a treasure of legends, amassed over generations of sea-travelers. Thus the Era of Dreams begins, a historic age when Pirates traverse the oceans in search of riches, glory, and most importantly, destiny. For some, the One Piece itself is a segment of that purpose, among them a seventeen-year-old boy named Monkey D. Luffy. This highly ambitious youth has had a single dream since early childhood: to form a crew, conquer the Grand Line, and become the next Pirate King! Story (9/10) Have you ever discovered a story so incredible that you unconsciously forced yourself to hate it? Well, that was my experience with One Piece in a nutshell. I still don’t quite understand how I could have possibly accomplished it, but from where I stand today, I still have never been able to fully immerse myself in the plot. I can see how engrossing it is simply by reading the reviews of others, and at times, am almost able to clue into their standpoints. Nevertheless, I cannot possibly bring myself to admit that I enjoyed even the tiniest fraction of the early One Piece episodes. My twin sister on the other hand embraced the series from the moment Luffy was introduced in episode 1, and for the sake of my own sanity, she will provide the some of the necessary insight required to complete this review. Needless to say, One Piece is an action-packed Shounen adventure, with bright over-the-top characters, constant… stretchy fist-brawls, and plenty of humour. The story was, for lack of a better term, interesting. Never before had I seen an author enter the daring realm of pirates with more enthusiasm. Of course, there were many small changes to the plot deviating from the original manga, but these were easily overlooked as the story progressed. Still, being the insane critic that I am, it wasn’t so simple for me to glance past the series’ altogether random outlook on buccaneer life. I assured myself that this flaw would repair itself if I continued watching; my assumptions were regrettably, wrong. The original story arcs were predictable, repetitive and boring. Truly, it was not until I came across the conclusion of the Enies Lobby Arc that I honestly began to enjoy the plot. For once, tiny elements were beginning to come together like a jigsaw puzzle. Also, I have always been a fan of Tim Burton movies, and the eerie setting of the next arc really fit the mood of Brook's introduction perfectly. I’ll take a moment here to discuss the setting of One Piece, which was, in my opinion, the best-developed portion of the story. As a viewer, I can say that each different country or island was original in its own way, from the sparking Drum Rockies to the Nightmare Before Christmas-like Thriller Bark. No matter if you loved these scenes or hated them, one really gets a feeling for Oda’s animated world, and begins to feel involved as each new area is introduced. As an author myself, I can’t help but appreciate the level of detail Eichiro Oda included. Animation (6/10) According to my own taste in animation, this was most likely the blemish that drew be so far away from One Piece to begin with. One look at Usopp’s nose, or Nami’s figure can cause some anime lovers to run off in the opposite direction without looking back. The character designs definitely take some getting used to. Despite the fact that it remains entirely original, Eichiro Oda’s style can be considered rather odd at times. While some characters appear to be brilliantly crafted, there are others that almost make one contemplate whether or not Oda is a frequent drug abuser. In the end, I came to the conclusion that many of Oda’s characters, similar to Rock Lee of Naruto, where created to illicit such reactions from fans. Next up: One Piece’s actual animation. Oh Toei studio… I’m sorry you’re so terrible. I’m sorry that you’re shaky at times, and that you use recycled frames over and over again. Your overall gesticulation is pathetic and jerky; it sometimes looks as though your characters have mild epilepsy. I could name dozens of Shounen series that you’ve outright ruined… and now, there’s no going back. One Piece has been infected with your eternal disease. With that said, I’m certain that you can understand to a degree what the animation of One Piece is like. Sound (7/10) The music quality of One Piece was all right, especially considering the fact that it wasn’t blessed with a full orchestra. I wish that it were louder, because you can hardly hear it at all behind the character’s voices. Otherwise, not much can be said. The openings and closings are J-pop themes with fast beats and plenty of energy. They suit the series just fine, and I wouldn’t have changed them myself. The English dub (yes, the Funimation dub and not the dreadful 4kids dub) was very well done, especially considering the fact that Funimation was presented with the job of resurrecting the rotting, decapitated corpse that 4kids left behind. Luffy is of course, voiced by a woman, and Zoro’s voice actor is rather deep and cynical. I have to say that I hated Nami’s dubbed voice, and much preferred her original Japanese seiyu. She was quite whiny and irritating in the Funimation dub, and just like Lenalee of D. Gray-Man, reminded me too much of Haninozuka Mitskuni of Ouran High School Host Club’s English voice. Characters (9/10) One Piece’s characters are incredible, less a few poorly developed antagonists such as Don Creed or Captain Kid. I truly enjoyed Chopper and Brook, the reindeer and the musical skeleton. Their characters contain so much flair and originality that it would take a true fool to not adore something about them. Luffy was okay I suppose – he was really just the stereotypical Shounen hero: idealistic and regrettably dim. Thus, it was impossible to hate him, but he didn’t manage to stand out either. One trait that did stray from the typical Shounen protagonist ring was the undeniable fact that Luffy understands situations much more than he shows. He is able to subconsciously manipulate those around him to a degree that even they aren’t completely aware of. This one attribute is the only thing that truly makes him different from character eyesores such as Ichigo or InuYasha. Other than those three characters, the remainder of the Straw Hat Pirates weren’t particularly noticeable. Their interpersonal interactions were greatly lacking, even up to the point where I am in the manga. I almost felt as though a permanent hiatus was placed up their developments once their arcs finished. Overall (7.75) In truth, my opinions in regards to One Piece are both vast and difficult to comprehend. I really can’t say if I hate it or if I love it, because in all honesty the story has yet to conclude itself. Perhaps when the end finally comes around, I will realize that I enjoyed it all along, or else, that I despised it from the very beginning. There are many, many people who adore One Piece, and maybe you’ll end up being in that sub-category instead of in mine. I realize that it is an amazing story with well-developed characters and a complex plot that remains easy to follow. With that said, I conclude my review of Eichiro Oda’s, One Piece.
Welcome to my review of the greatest anime everr!! Okay, well in my opinion it is. First, let me say, DON'T LET THE NUMBER OF EPISODES DISCOURAGE YOU FROM WATCHING IT!!! It was the same for me. But then, I realize that this anime is unique and rare. You WANT this series to have as much episodes as possible, and to continue for as long as possible. But at the same time, you want to see an ending, and you want to see things progress. And the good part is, It will end. But the sad part, you don't want it too. It's really hard to put it into words but I bet any one piece fans reading this understand it the most. :(So this is what One Piece is! The more episodes, the better. Oda (the manga artist) is doing a great job of hooking his audiences. The audience is always calling back for more. And it isn't just the plot or the action scene that we call for, we call for everything. We love to see the crew together, always taking care of each other, and laughing together. Just like a great loving family. One Piece is an excellent piece of work, which made me express multiple emotions. The music and animation style fits together perfectly! And I love watching it, even when I feel hatred, or am crying, I'm happy at the same time. When I watch this anime, I get glad to feel and express emotions that I would originally try to hide.The Plot is amazing. Everything builds. And it realistically progresses. For example, it's not like Bleach where the character suddenly get's stronger and more powerful. No. You can see characters getting stronger over time. And you can see the world around them change over time. So yes, this is my favourite anime, due to an exponential amount of reasons. I highly recommend this anime to anybody. Either watch the anime, or read the manga. They're both great.
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