For over two decades now, Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece has been a staple for most anime fans. Known for its exceptional world-building, pirate adventures, creative abilities and action choreography, hilarity, and well-developed characters, One Piece continues to stand the test of time.
The plot centers around the main protagonist Monkey D. Luffy, whose consumption of Gomu Gomu no Mi enables him to become a rubber man and save the day with his unique fight style. However, One Piece is not just about Luffy but also his crew, Straw Hats, and its members. Characters like Nami, Shanks, or Monkey D. Garp are admirable for their persona and various feats, which is why they become fan-favorites quickly.
One Piece also deals with intricate plotlines that makes one hooked to the series. Although the manga is in its last arc, the anime has yet to slow down. Maybe it is a fortunate news since it gives viewers of the series ample time to appreciate the richness of One Piece like a fine-aged wine.
Oda’s One Piece is a modern epic disguised as popular culture
I'm in Wano now in the anime
The episode they climb the Waterfall is beautifully animated, especially the water. The new animation style looks fantastic and is the best One Piece has ever looked, I really hope they keep it
The style looks movie quality pic.twitter.com/zogFa30Elo
— J (@Shanks55253139) April 20, 2023
It’s difficult to put one’s love for Eiichiro Oda’s magnum opus within a few paragraphs. The manga is huge, and so is the anime. As mentioned earlier, One Piece anime seems like it has no plans of slowing down soon, and fans enjoy that. However, there are several factors that make the anime so incredible.
One of the major points for the anime’s popularity is its wonderful characterization. While it is easy to fall in love with the main protagonist, Oda’s series abounds in incredibly fleshed-out characters, whether they are part of some famous pirate group or a part of history. Factors like loyalty, charm, friendship, etc., are important to this shonen series, and several characters within the series swear by it. The two decades saw many young fans maturing into adults, but Zoro’s loyalty towards his captain remained unshakeable. Similarly, questionable factors related to friendship, as seen in the case of Sanji during the Wholecake Island arc brought his redemption with the display of loyalty in the One Piece episode 1057.
Nah, bro… Wholecake Island arc is hella emotional. Robin's story is still number 1 as the saddest, but dude Sanji's life… My goodness.
— Thamziri (@Thamzola) November 11, 2022
The characters have grown a lot over the years, and they continue to do so. However, the beloved characters do extend beyond the main pirate crew, as Shanks, Rayleigh, Vivi, Vegapunk, and Trafalgar Law, among others, have shown various facets of their relationship with their social peers or rivals. As such, their attitude, emotions, and intelligence continue to make the characters complex but intriguing.
Aside from that, One Piece is known for its creative abilities and battle sequences. On discussing the former topic, one can see that Oda’s fictional world is a bag of gold as it never exhausts out of its unique ideas. The series has too many characters, and among them are several figures who are the consumers of Devil Fruits, just like Luffy, giving them each unique strength and power. To give an example, Buggy the Star Clown’s Bara Bara no Mi enables him to split his body into several pieces, while Boa Hancock’s Mero Mero no Mi gives her the ability to turn people into stones so long as they are enamored with her.
If that’s not enough, there’s the concept of Awakened Devil Fruit, which is an upgraded version of the already powerful Devil Fruits. Another interesting concept is Haki, which includes Observation, Armament, and Conqueror. Some of the renowned Haki users include the Pirate King Gol D. Roger, Whitebeard’s Edward Newgate, Kaido, Oden, Dracule Mihawk, Big Mom, and many more.
Even without these, Kaido is very good at martial arts. Kaido VS Luffy is one of the few fights in Wano that's drawn similar to pre TS where each blow is drawn in detail. https://t.co/9KxOt57L18
— Jikan 🦾 (@jikanstorio) April 18, 2023
Coming to One Piece battles, this is yet another tough choice, as the series is populated with several fantastic fights that deserve the hype from its fandom. For example, the Luffy vs. Katakuri battle saw the protagonist eventually gain impressive powers. Then, Luffy’s fight against Kaido in the Wano arc made fans why the latter is deserving of his status as a Yonko. While there have been a few fights that didn’t live up to expectations, such as Zoro vs. Meowban brothers, their existence is important to measure the quality of latter fights in the series, as in the clash between Zoro and Ryuma.
Now, onto the subject of world-building. The geographical premise of One Piece vast, comprising of several islands and places with unique flora and fauna. Arcs such as Dressrosa, Wholecake Island, Wano, Marinefold, Ennies Lobby, etc. all paint a picture of an unimaginable setting that reflects Oda’s creative genius to extend his worldview.
However, the setting is not just aesthetic value, as the people and the complex small plotlines often provide social commentary on subjects related to poverty, freedom, justice, corruption, racism, etc. Perhaps one would remember the Fishmen Island in this case to get an idea of how the inhabitants’ social attitude towards the humans worked. The strict laws was introduced to limit the interactions between the two species, but Jinbe and Luffy’s emotional moment, where the former transfused his blood with the Straw Hats’ captain in a desperate attempt, subverted the idea of racism.
WHEN JINBE GAVE LUFFY BLOOD WHEN NO OTHER FISHMAN WOULD BECAUSE OF YEARS OF PREJUDICE AND RACISM BETWEEN HUMANS AND FISHMEN, EVEN AFTER LUFFY SAVED THEIR LIVES ??? pic.twitter.com/MKVYaPMLFp
— Auvers Blue (@CoopNyl) March 28, 2021
Attention to detail and easter eggs are probably another fun thing about One Piece. While the several plotlines within the anime is intricately connected, it is is the most insignificant details that often stare up at one’s face to point the connection. In addition, there are many foreshadowing throughout the series that often bring out the wow-factor. For example, Luffy’s battle against Crocodile in Alabasta saw the latter mistaking that the former had been using Haki, but at this point, fans weren’t even introduced to the concept. Later in the series, however, Luffy does end up becoming one of the proficient users of Haki.
While this is by no means the last point, but One Piece’s dealing with such a long story premise without inserting too many filler episodes, as it happened with Naruto or Detective Conan, make fans appreciate the continuity/smooth flow between the episodes or arcs. The two aforementioned anime series are notorious for its over-starched inclusion of filler episodes, which often makes fans frustrated. However, One Piece, although not entirely free of it, doesn’t face the same criticism as the other two.
Ohayou Gozaimasu my bunnies! after finally watching one piece, I just want to say that it's the best anime of all time. All the people that haven't watched it because of how long it is, just need to dattebayo because it's subarashi!
— Euni (@noteunibuni) April 23, 2023
As part of the ‘Big Three’ anime, Oda’s One Piece has developed a strong fanbase that would fiercely defend the series against any slander. However, it is justified in most cases as writing and illustrating an epic adventure saga for 20 years is no small feat. Just like Naruto and Dragon Ball, the characters of One Piece raised a generation with its series run. There’s nostalgia, tears, and wholesome laughter accompanying these series, but, as mentioned before, Oda’s anime series is far from being over yet. As such, One Piece’s status as an iconic cultural artefact is valid on several grounds.