The Marine that Jango hypnotized into thinking that he had captured Captain Kuro went on to become Captain Axe Hand Morgan, one of the first villains in the series.
Whitebeard's full name is Edward Newgate. Blackbeard's full name is Marshall D. Teach. If you take Whitebeard's first name and Blackbeard's last name, you get Edward Teach, which is the historical Blackbeard's real name. On a related note, Oda has stated the discovery of one of Blackbeard's ships was what inspired him to make a manga about pirates.
Thatch, Whitebeard's 4th Division Commander, and the guy who Blackbeard killed for the Dark-Dark Fruit (yami yami no mi), is based on an alias the real-life Blackbeard used.
The way Luffy activates Gear Third, by putting a thumb in his mouth, biting into the joints, and blowing to inflate his arm's bones, is visually similar to one of the more common ways Popeye the Sailor would bulk up after eating spinach.
Given that Franky's character design is 50% Popeye with 50% Jim Carrey, this was likely intentional.
In one SBS column for volume 56, Oda answered where each of the Straw Hats would live in the real world: Luffy: Brazil, Zoro: Japan, Nami: Sweden, Usopp: Africa, Sanji: France, Chopper: Canada, Robin: Russia, Franky: America, Brook: Austria.
Gecko Moria is the tallest (22'8") and oldest (48) out of all the known Warlords of the Sea, while Hancock is both the youngest (29) and shortest (6'3").
After the time-skip, Trafalgar Law's 26 makes him the youngest Warlord. Although Buggy the Clown's height has never been revealed, he is known to be only slightly taller than Luffy's 5'8˝", making him easily the shortest Warlord.
One Piece was originally only supposed to run for 5 years. Oda has admitted that one of the reason it has become such a Long Runner (passing such luminaries as Dragon Ball and InuYasha) is that he simply enjoys writing it.
Oda based the concept of One Piece on a vision of manliness, since Dragon Ball already did everything a kid could be happy about.
Actor Allusion: In one episode during Luffy's childhood flashbook, Sabo, Ace, and he stop off at a ramen restaurant. Sabo's voice actor voices Naruto.
Ascended Fanon: A Running Gag in the SBS Question Corner is that Oda will instantly accept any birthday fans try to give to a character. Even his own birthday.
Channel Hop: The (first) American dub from Fox to Cartoon Network. The series got higher ratings on Toonami, and they aired the remaining episodes of the 4Kids dub after 4Kids TV stopped airing it and let the license expire. Then Funimation picked it up and gave it a second dub that continued to air (although Cartoon Network still cancelled it, despite improving ratings). It's now enjoying airtime on Toonami, airing during [adult swim] hours.
Dueling Dubs: There are three extant English dubs for this series.
The first dub, chronologically, was recorded at Odex in Singapore, produced by Animax for the Asian market; it lasted 104 episodes and was – as is typical for Animax – extremely close to the Japanese script, maybe too close. It was also infamous for constantly switching out actors (Nami alone had three different voices by the time it was done).
The second dub made was the 4Kids dub, which aired in the U.S. on 4Kids TV and eventually moved to Toonami on Cartoon Network. It technically covered the first 142 episodes, but the massive amount of censorship reduced that count to about 104. This dub may be the best-known to casual fans, but due to its extreme unpopularity with the dedicated fanbase, it is increasingly difficult to find clips of it online. The internet hivemind seems absolutely determined to purge it from existence.
The final and most definitive English dub is Funimation's. Started in mid-2007 and stopping in late-2010 but restarting in 2012 and still in production as of 2014, it currently covers over 300 episodes (all the way through Enies Lobby) and is a faithful translation of the original.
Executive Meddling: All Supernovas who were introduced in Sabaody Archipelago arc exist because of this trope. Oda had already planned the general outline of the arc, but his editor said that it needed more content to spice things up. Mere three hours later, Oda had created nine new character designs and drawn a rough draft for a new manga chapter.
Hey, It's That Voice!: The series is populated with veteran voice actors in both Japanese and English (both US dubs), as well as other languages too, who've had numerous roles. It's hard not to notice.
Internet Backlash: Let's just say that going onto a forum and naming either Mihawk or Shanks as the stronger of the two is a bad idea.
For an even worse idea, go onto a forum and say anything even mildly positive about the 4Kids dub.
Say "Zolo". Your death will be slow and painful.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: Despite their original ubiquity, it's pretty rare to run into the 4Kids episodes nowadays. The DVDs only covered up to the Drum Island Arc before they were discontinued.note Considering 4Kids skipped almost everything between Loguetown and Drum Island, that means the DVD's pretty much only cover the first season. So finding the rest of the Alabasta Arc episodes – outside of comparison shots/clips showing the extent of 4Kids's Bowdlerization – can be a task.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero is a good way to describe what happened when Funimation first attempted to simulcast the series on their website. They had only recently set up their video portal (this was before they started using Hulu), and everything seemed to be going okay… but then they did a test upload of Episode 403 onto an unsecured server, at which point an enterprising fan trawling the site-map found it, ripped it, and posted it online a full day before its Japanese airing. Toei, as you might imagine, was extremely unhappy, and ordered an immediate halt to all of Funimation's simulcasting (there were persistent rumours at the time that Funimation might even lose the One Piece license outright over this incident, though that fear turned out to be baseless). After two months, Funimation finally managed to convince Toei they could be trusted to simulcast again, and to date there have been no more security breaches… at least not with One Piece.
This sentiment could be applied to 4Kids in general. Everything that could have possibly gone wrong with that dub DID go wrong, spectacularly so.
It even overlaps with Toei's usual Digital Piracy Is Evil conceit. For several years, One Piece was one of THE most-pirated anime out there (second only to Naruto), but even anime fans who hated piracy avoided getting on their soapbox over it, because 4Kids's stranglehold on the series' license meant a legal uncut version would never happen as long as they were in the picture. In short, 4Kids having control of One Piece during a critical period of fandom development helped lead to anime piracy being not only condoned, but flat-out encouraged for years. It took the combined efforts of Funimation and Toei aggressively issuing takedowns to the most popular fansub hubs – plus simulcasting the series on Hulu – to finally start stanching the bleeding.
The rampant piracy of One Piece mentioned above also had another unfortunate side-effect: the establishment of a massive purist-tinted Fan Dumb, led by fansubbing group "Kaizoku-Fansubs". This had implications even on TV Tropes.note It was purist One Piece fans that watched those fansubs who successfully kept the trope now called True Companions, as "Nakama" for so many years… by angrily shouting down anyone who wanted to change the name to something more sensible. Their intransigence angered so many that, when the name was finally changed in 2010, Tropers - many of whom were amazed the change was allowed to happen at all - immediately went about erasing every single mention of the word "Nakama" they could find. It doesn't even show up all that often on the One Piece page itself!
Not many people know of Singapore's English dub, done by Odex. Not even Singaporeans. Mainly due to the fact that it only did the first 104 episodes. Even fewer people know that Odex got their license before4Kids did.
TOEIJust Didn't Care: Confirmed in an interview with a (former) vice president at 4Kids who knew what happened, but didn't have anything to lose by making it public. To date, no one has disputed what he said.
Here's the story - Contrary to popular rumors by angry fans, 4Kids never actively sought to acquire the show. The real reason it landed in their hands was because Toei Animationdesperately wanted to sell a license for their smash-hit cartoon to anyone who could air it on American TV.* At that point, One Piece had been on the air in Japan for over four years, and had recently hit in Europe and Asia, but nobody in North America seemed to want it.* Funimation has said in a commentary that they WERE interested in the show prior to 4Kids getting the license; they likely passed on it due to cost or, more likely, were denied it due to their inability to guarantee Toei a TV airing. Thus, when 4Kids paid a visit to Toei with the intention of licensing Ultimate Muscle and Magical Do-Re-Mi (others have said the series they really wanted was Shaman King), they wound up being handed the One Piece rights in addition to the two series they were shopping for. They never watched a single episode before agreeing to the deal, and as the masters rolled in, they became increasingly shocked at what they'd gotten themselves into – Toei's infamous control-freaking over the series couldn't have helped.† Funimation have also mentioned this aspect of Toei in their commentaries. Notably, that Toei gets veto power over EVERYTHING, and that they forced Funimation to cast a woman as Luffy, when they would have much rather cast a man. The result of all this was extreme overreaction on 4Kids' part (even by their standards), which led to the most notorious anime Macekre since Sailor Moon.
Going further on the Mis-blamed line, it has been pointed out multiple times by multiple people in the industry that Toei approved every single alteration 4Kids made to One Piece. Changing a gun into a spring-controlled mallet... thing? Somebody at Toei approved that. Digitally altering Laboon into an easily-destroyed iceberg to completely skip a rather important dozen-plus episodes of plot simply to get to the "cute" character more quickly (and causing severeplot holes had the show run for much longer)? Yep, somebody at Toei signed off on that too. The "One Piece Rap"? A Toei exec... well you get the idea.
Toei may not be blameless, but if anything, 4Kids cared even LESS. They never wanted One Piece in the first place, so they gave the show their absolute minimum effort. Most of the company – especially CEO Al Khan – didn't give even half a crap that their overzealous editing was causing Plot Hole on top of Plot Hole; they only cared about keeping their lucrative TV contract with Fox. Apparently, there were a small number of people inside 4Kids who saw how their treatment of One Piece was pissing people off to the point that it not only crippled that particular property, but also damaged their credibility to convince viewers to watch any other show they might bring over; naturally, those people were ignored. It is unclear whether 4Kids's contract came up in 2007 and they declined to renew it, or if Toei – finally realizing what horrors had been wrought – yanked it from them. Considering just how quickly Funimation picked up the series – they announced it while the 4Kids dub was still airing new episodes – one can easily assume the latter.
There are unsubstantiated rumors that, by the beginning of 2007, 4Kids might have known they were going to lose One Piece and so they intentionally scuttled the series to make it radioactive for any other company to continue it. If that were the case – and there's no evidence it is – they didn't count on the fact that Toei really wants One Piece to succeed in America, and spent a LOT of time not only convincing Cartoon Network to give Season 3 a chance (which lasted all of six months), but also cajoled [adult swim] to pick the show back up after CN had cancelled it years earlier.
There was also a slighly more cynical theory that the only real reason why TO Ei pulled the One Piece license out of 4Kids is because 4Kids was not so profitable anymore. While 4kids hit it big during the late 90s and early 2000s with Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! their TV block never did all that well in the ratings and by the late 2000s 4Kids was losing a lot of prestige and profit in the TV industry. (The first blow was easily when 4Kids lost the license to the Pokemon anime back in the mid-2000s ever since Pokémon: The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon.) So in other words as for 4Kids well TO Ei knows a sinking ship when they see one so they pulled the license away from 4Kids and look for a healthier company instead. And since FUNimation did handle Dragon Ball Z in the US well enough in the earlier 2000s well the rest is history.
Talking to Himself: During the reunion arc, Nami and Usopp are hassled by the fake Straw Hats, all are voiced by the same voice actors of the real Straw Hats though their voices are changed around (fake Luffy's voice is Sanji's, fake Nami is Chopper's, etc)
Preview showings of the 4Kids version at conventions apparently had a different opening, one that used the overall music of "We Are", but with English lyrics (similar to what Funimation would do once they got the series). It was uploaded to YouTube for all to see. Some people consider this English version of "We Are" better than Funimation's.
On a less positive note, imagine what would have happened to the series (in North America anyway) if 4Kids hadn't lost the rights when they did. The plot holes they'd already created were big enough to drive a truck through; any more and the entire franchise might have literally collapsed into a quantum singularity.
When TO Ei was shopping around for companies to dub One Piece into English certain recording studios were asked to produce test episodes for TO Ei to view. One of the companies considered to dub One Piece back in the early/mid 2000s was FUNimation in which they were originally considering Eric Vale as Luffy and Christopher Sabat as Helmeppo. However FUNimation was not the only company considered to dub One Piece as there were plans to give the show a dub from Blue Water Studios in Calgary, Canada and there were plans to give One Piece a dub from Westwood Studios from Vancouver. Unfortunately all of those plans were nixed when TO Ei went for 4Kids instead.
Finally, the infamous word "Nakama" CAN and DOES translate to English quite easily. The direct translation is "comrade". Regrettably, that word has very Unfortunate Implications in North America due to... that thing that happened. No matter; it can also mean "crew(mate)", or "friend", or True Companions, or "bosom buddies", or etc., even if those words aren't as exact a match as "comrade" is. Basically, if anyone tries to say that "Nakama" is a special word that cannot (and must not) be translated, they're either ignorant or lying.