When I was small, I remember watching television and seeing flashes of colors and strong people knock each other over with superpowers. To me, at the time, it just seemed like an exciting and silly thing to watch. However, this one particular series would stick with me to this day.
One Piece debuted in the United States on September 18, 2004 with an absolutely atrocious dub. However, as a 4 year old who knew little of anime besides Digimon Adventure and didn’t understand that the lines were corny, it seemed like the most groundbreaking thing ever.
I would go on to watch and read One Piece, off and on for years, purchase the games (my favorite being Pirates Carnival), buy the merchandise and enjoy it very much. Despite consuming a significant portion of the series by the time I reached 12/13, it was not until I reached high school that I finally decided to conquer the entirety of the One Piece series.
I was around 15 years old and very bored when I decided that, instead of sitting around playing video games, I would conquer one of the giants of anime and manga. I started watching the One Piece anime and absolutely loved it…however.. I started to struggle as I progressed through it. I was wondering what the problem was..? Then it hit me. Anime takes too long. Why not just read the manga?
This was a decision that changed my life forever and made me a lifelong fan of manga.
I started reading the manga (more specifically the digitally colored comics) and it was like an explosion of amazing content. It literally blew my mind that I had waited so long. It was unlike anything else.
Reading these stories was an experience unlike almost any other. I can honestly say that outside of my experience reading Zatch Bell!, and Attack on Titan I have never, ever been so excited to sit down and spend my days reading manga.
I read and read until the point many fans know as 3D2Y. Then, in a quite fitting manner , I focused on things other than piracy and devil fruits and focused solely on the matters that I found pressing in real life, like playing Pokemon Go. Throughout my junior year of high school, I read virtually zero One Piece content. The only things I did related to One Piece, despite having read nearly 600 chapters of the manga were play the One Piece: Burning Blood PS4 game and watch One Piece: Strong World, Film Z and Film Gold.
However, as the days passed me by as a lazy high school senior I finally decided to pick the beautiful series back up. I was only behind the current number of chapters by around 150~, so I decided to pick it back up. I ended up catching up to the story in a little over a week and the rest is history. I’ve been riding with One Piece ever since.
So I bet you’re wondering “Why would you be a fan of a series for over 16 years and keep coming back to it?”.
Short answer? One Piece is brilliant.
The long answer will take a little longer to explain.
The world of One Piece is without a doubt one of the best I’ve ever read. Shakespeare? TRASH. Dumas? TRASH. Steinbeck? TRASH
Oda? HE IS THE GOAT.
All jokes aside, One Piece weaves a story that feels as complex as real life. Between the conflicts, the mysteries, the many different areas explored and the vast cast of characters, this story has kept me hooked since I was a small child of about 4 years old.
I still remember the show’s theme from back then.
Even as a child, it was amazing that a story could contain a world so vast. Water 7, Dressrosa, Skypeia, Marineford. All different, exotic and exciting locales and everyone has their own personal favorite.
That is only the tip of the iceberg when discussing One Piece, however. We cannot discuss One Piece without talking about the characters.
The main character, Monkey D. Luffy, is probably one of my favorite battle shounen characters ever next to characters like Shikamaru Nara (Naruto) and Kiyamaro Takamine (Zatch Bell).
I usually like smart and calculating characters that help a team with their cunning and intellect. This is absolutely not who Monkey D. Luffy is.
If there are 100 enemies marching towards him with rifles in hand, Luffy will pull up on ’em. Why not?
With his loyal crew, the Straw Hat Pirates, named for the straw hat Luffy wears, he pulls up on quite a few people in the story regardless of how big or how strong.
Each character has their own compelling backstory that will draw you in from Zoro to Sanji to even Chopper, who is commonly misidentified as a pet.
Everyone has their own thing going on and isn’t simply a foil for the main character. Unlike many series, the author makes sure to do the entire cast justice.
They have their navigator, their doctor, their chef (who is arguably the 2nd toughest main character) and their archeaologist who is the brains of the entire operation. They also get many other people to join with them whether temporarily or permanently and aid them in their journey to acquire the One Piece.
You: You didn’t tell me what One Piece is about!!!!
While that is true, the best way to explain One Piece is through vibes. So if you would like, go on ahead and watch the following video.
Feeling the vibes? I thought so. However, It’d be ridiculous for me to not give a formal introduction to One Piece.
So, One Piece is essentially a manga about a young pirate who sets sail to find the treasure left by the King of the Pirates decades after his death. This young pirate, Luffy, becomes yet another participant in the great race to become the world’s most powerful pirate whether for the glory, the money or whatever reason someone could have. This brings him to many different exotic and dangerous locations and has him exchanging blows with some of the world’s strongest people, including the authorities on many occasions. Despite these many difficulties, Luffy and his friends remain confident that they will emerge victorious and find the One Piece and unlock the secrets left by the King of the Pirates.– me, just now
So now that I’ve given a formal definition of what One Piece basically is, let’s talk about two things that I commonly hear about One Piece that I would like to dispell.
- One Piece is too long.
First, I am often not sure how I should begin attacking this comment because something being too short or too long is purely subjective. However, even with One Piece being 1003 chapters at the time of my writing this, I can honestly say that there was never a time that I felt like I was wasting my time reading One Piece. I have watched many anime and read many series that I absolutely think were a waste of time (ie. Divergent, Darling in the Franxx, Monument 14, Mekakucity Actors, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection, Akame Ga Kill, etc). One Piece is not one of these.
And while I know popularity isn’t everything, why would millions of people worldwide show up every week to read the latest One Piece chapter and discuss it online with friends if there was nothing to it? Why is One Piece loved in almost every nation on earth where people read manga and watch anime? Why has One Piece outlasted its contemporaries (Naruto, One Piece, Bleach, Toriko, Fairy Tail, etc.) and maintained quality? These are all important questions. The answer is that One Piece is fire. Hot fire. To be honest, having a goal of reading three chapters a day would most likely result in you being caught up in less than a year because some of those days you will end up reading 20 to finish an entire story arc. That’s just the way it goes.
One Piece will grip your soul and draw you in soon enough. Even as soon as the Alabasta arc a grown man can be brought to tears.
The length discussion, in my opinion is ridiculous. Let’s stop discussing length and start discussing quality. If I could trade every flavor of the month, magic high school series for more One Piece content I would do it immediately.
2. You’re just saying this because you’re a One Piece stan.
You’re correct in identifying me as a One Piece stan. That is fair as I am quite the fan of One Piece and not afraid to say just that. However, to discount my opinion because I am a fan is silly. Who else understands besides those that have read it? Many people have read classic novels and have varying opinions on them but the majority of the people who have negative opinions about One Piece have never truly engaged with it. I would be fine if people truly didn’t like it after engaging with it a reasonable amount but this is almost never the case. I don’t hold it against people because it is an issue of wanting instant gratification from something that is more like an epic tale than a series of short novels.
One Piece is a story than has been decades in the making and has continued for as long as I have been alive. Even then, every year, take it upon themselves to pick it up, enjoy it and witness the great things this story to offer. Lots of people love One Piece. There is nothing wrong with loving One Piece. Why go against the grain on one of the best stories of our generation. Regardless, One Piece is here to stay. You like it? Cool. You don’t? Fast forward.
Why I love One Piece
I could go on for days about the story, my favorite plotlines, rank the characters, say if I think Luffy could beat Goku or not, but none of that matters.
What I will tell you, though, is why this series means so much to me.
As a small child, as a teenager and now as a young a adult, One Piece has consistently been solid. More than just a simple fiction story it makes you really think. Who is good? Who is bad? Are people truly who they say they are? What truly matters in life?
But most of all I think what the series truly exemplifies is that things are not always what they seem.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the series.
“When the world shoves you around, you just gotta stand up and shove back. It’s not like somebody’s gonna save you if you start babbling excuses.” – Roronoa Zoro
“Don’t start a fight if you can’t end it.” – Sanji
“Don’t ever think there’s any perfect society made by humans! If you think that way you’ll overlook the enemy!! Don’t be fooled by appearances!” – Smoker
“Compared to the “righteous” greed of the rulers, the criminals of the world seem much more honorable. When scum rules the world, only more scum is born.” – Eustass Kid
“I love heroes, but I don’t want to be one. Do you even know what a hero is!? For example, you have some meat. Pirates will feast on the meat, but the hero will distribute it among the people! I want to eat the meat!” – Monkey D. Luffy
One Piece sends you into a world of pirates, who are supposed to be the “bad guys” and shows you that you can’t think based on titles or blindly believe what the media tells you…
People have wild agendas and will wrap them in all sorts of legitimate sounding justifications and One Piece, arc after arc, makes it very clear that sometimes, even if unpopular, you can ignore what people are trying to convince you of and believe what you see with your eyes. The truth doesn’t lie.
This was not meant to be a review of One Piece. I will likely never be able to review something so vast and diverse and do it justice. My goal was simply to show others the truth of a story I hold very dear and have been following since I was a small child.
One Piece is clearly special and I believe, like many of the past epic stories such as Legend of the Galactic Heroes, it will be revered for long after it ends.
One Piece has captured the hearts of millions and will continue to do so once they step into the world of Monkey D. Luffy and set sail for the Grand Line.
So why not join us?
Where can I find One Piece?
- The manga has numerous box sets available that contain around 20 volumes each
- This is the official page to read One Piece online
- This is the official site to purchase One Piece volumes
Well, what’s the hold up? Time to set sail!