Reviews: One Piece
I was sucked into this world
I used to be a huge Naruto fan. One Piece was that stupid show with the silly characters. As I got older I moved on from anime and got into manga. Majorly disappointed by the rest of Naruto, I needed a new series. A friend recommended One Piece and I reluctantly checked it out. Hooked from chapter one. The plot: Monkey D Luffy sails the Grandline gathering True Companions in order to become the Pirate King. Pretty standard Shonen fair. The characters: They're all great. Not a single unlikable one, and even the side characters can be developed. Luffy is stupid, silly and fun. Until he gets pissed. Then he's scary. He's a very likable lead who never gets preachy on us. Zoro is the cool lazy guy, Nami is a bitch with a heart of gold, and Usopp... I could do a review on how well developed this "coward" is. Sanji is a womanizing kickass chef, Chopper is the adorable heartwarmer, Robin's smart, multi-layered and calm. Franky is boisterous, and Brooke is a fun walking skeleton. Villains are either cool (Crocodile) or so evil you want to kill them (World Nobles). Pros: It's a straight up adventure story with epic fights and heartwrenching emotional moments. It stays silly but has deep undertones. The world feels round with every island having a different look and culture. The plot is well carried out with very few holes. It's VERY funny. While it starts with a typical The Good Guys Always Win, there is a devastating change in the story, showing that Luffy is not all powerful. The morals are usually subtlety done and the neither the pirates nor the marines are totally evil. The story is kept fresh with mysteries such as the True History. Cons: It may stretch reality too far for some people. I like the art style, but it's not for everyone. There can be Disney Deaths or a lack of dying that subtracts from the drama. The fishman island arc literally throws the morals at you.
A very manly manga
This story is about pirates, which in this manga translates into "badasses", who sail around on the ocean all the time except when fighting with others. The way it works is that you start with the weakest and then you continue moving East until you have defeated everyone and then you become Pirate King. This story is also about friendship, you will recognize a Nakama when you meet them because they will have a Dream and they will fit in with your group's theme, so if you are a clown you are going to collect lions and trapeze artists and if your name is Cat you will be required to hang out with people who can normally be found at anime cons. Mostly though this story is about huge Who Would Win fights: Getting a profession works much like multiclassing in D&D, so if you have studied cooking or history you will become a fighter-chef or a fighter-archeologist, if you are a pure fighter you'll have twice the Training From Hell and Heroic Spirit. Alternatively you can just eat a Devil Fruit which is an instant power up and you don't have to train at all. All Devil Fruits belong to a certain type, from "pretty useless" through "awesome" to "really friggin' awesome". The only risk is catching a really pussy ability but Devil Fruits also level up so after a few arcs you can come back and proceed to kick everyone's asses. The Marines: These guys are a joke, but they still oppress the part of the population that do not want to be pirates and live free. The only real risk is if they are an Admiral or a Vice Admiral because they also rank after badassery rather than military training. The Shichibukai: These guys are so badass that even the Marines pay them to leave them alone. Shichibukai translates into "evil pirate" so you don't want to be one of these guys because you're not evil. It's still worth extra points if you beat them, and you will practically have to except for the ones that have turned good. Yonkou: Yonkou stands for Plot Device, these guys are uber-pirates who can crush anyone & appear anywhere and no-one will see their fleet sneaking up on them. Plus they call their Nakama "division commanders" which sounds a lot better than "sniper-liar-handyman" or "monster-doctor-reindeer". So basically this manga is a good guide if you want to become a real man like myself.
Yes, It Really Is That Good
I'll admit this up front: my first exposure to One Piece was the 4Kid's dub. I'll also admit that I liked it. Being the stupid kid I was back then, I was oblivious to all of the rampant censorship and butchering of the story that the dub was infamous for. So I liked it. And frankly, I think that is a testament to how amazing this anime is. The characters are all incredibly lovable. At first glance, they can seem pretty two-dimensional, but they all have complex backstories and Character Development throughout the series. It's not just the characters themselves that are great either, but their interactions with each other. The Straw Hats really feel like a family, and that makes them so much easier to connect to. The story manages to be both hilarious and emotionally deep, and you will be surprised at how quickly it jumps back and forth between the two. Seriously, it takes Mood Whiplash to a whole new level. If there's any complaint I have about the story, it's that it is looooong. And while I don't have a problem with that in itself (just more fun to be had), the pacing can get incredibly slow at points. There's plenty of filler too, but most of it is actually pretty entertaining. Despite all of this, I dropped One Piece entirely after the 4Kids dub died a slow, painful death, and I pretty much forgot about it for while. It was only recently that I learned Funimation (who I was already fond of for bringing me DBZ) was taking over the reigns, and I decided to give it another go. Needless to say, I fell in love with it all over again, and am now in the midst of the Funi dub at Enies Lobby, awaiting the next box set. I give it a 9/10 P.S. I have to recommend those box sets if only for the extras. The Funimation crew are some hilarious people.
For the past few years, the anime's been unwatchable
One Piece is by no means a bad manga; far from it. The characters are well-written for the most part (the females are somewhat questionable), the world-building is impressive, and the story-telling is some of the best seen in Shonen. However...what I just described is Oda's manga. The anime, while it's been a very faithful adaptation, is a train wreak nowadays. I would NOT recommend people to watch the anime of One Piece (at least, not from the point the crew splits up), with its sluggish pacing and questionable filler scenes, just for the sake of sticking to the 1-chapter:1-episode ratio, you get an anime adaptation that can be quite a pain to sit through at times. This is no more obvious then the Marineford arc, which relied on bad comedy filler from Buggy, and loads-upon-loads of pointless reactions from random pirates/soldiers, to fill up each episode. Point is, stick to the manga. The anime hasn't been doing it justice.
The most enjoyable comicbook in the world
What can you say about One Piece that hasn't been said before? It is unbelievably imaginative, with a massive amount of characters, settings, and concepts, that have almost never been seen from a single work, and which could technically supply enough material for another 20 years or more. The main cast was always likeable, but it is first with the Shabaody Archipelago arc that the series really started to shine, due to that from there onwards it starts to change the pace by focusing on the large, also lots of fun, tertiary characters. The main strength of this series is that you always find something new in it, and never know what to expect, and the art is great, unique, and always entertains you. It makes you enjoy life more, and is one of extremely few works to be considered mainstream for the average Japanese citizen. 10/10
Couldn't Stop Watching
For a long time, I was an adamant Dragon Ball Z fan. Nothing else could compare in my mind, and I didn't really consider myself an "anime/manga" fan. Once or twice, I had tried giving something else a change, but I always was off put by something. Then, I finally took one of my friends advice and started watching One Piece at the start of the Loguetown Arc, instead of trying to start at the absolute beginning. And boy, did that change everything for me. I was soon absolutely enthralled in the series, unable to not at least watch an episode or two each day. Pretty soon, I ran out of English Dubbed episodes and I did something I never before thought I would do, watch something Subbed. However, the series was just too enticing, I needed to know what happened next so I plunged completely into One Piece. I've now watched every episode of One Piece and I'm up to date with the manga and I just have to say that's it's been an absolutely incredible journey so far! Pros: 1. The Characters: Each character in the world of One Piece is beautifully elaborated upon, even the minor characters that are only around for an Arc are all good developed characters. Luffy is easily the best Main Protagonist of the Big Three in my mind and is the perfect balance of comedy and seriousness in battle. The absolutely fantastic characters of One Piece are really what makes the story, and there at least one or two that you'll take an instant liking too. 2. The Villains: Absolutely fantastic. Each new arc introduces a different type of villain as well which keeps the story fresh and entertaining throughout the long road. These guys will send chills down your spine at every turn. 3. The Humor: Easily the funniest anime/manga I've read yet. You'll find yourself ROLF at least a couple of times each arc. 4. The Action: Absolutely phenomenal. The fights in One Piece are incredibly unique since many times its not just whose stronger that wins, but also who uses the best strategy. Cons: Even the best series have it's flaws, and the biggest one for One Piece is simply it's length, which puts a lot of people off from trying it out. Also, One Piece is fairly predictable, as each Arc is pretty much has the same sort of format for how the story will progress. However, each Arc has it's own set of unique challenges makes each island unique. Overall: 9 out of 10
Best. Show. EVER.
Note: I've experienced the Funimation dub. What can you say about a series where the main character is a rubber dumbass who leads a Pirate Crew containing a Badass Swordsman, a greedy harlot, a lying sniper with a slingshot, a kickboxing cook who loves the ladies, a reindeer boy thing who makes a great doctor, a woman who keeps quiet but always breaks spines, a pervo-Cyborg who uses cola as a fuel, and a perverted skeleton man who has a soft and lovely voice and is The Nice Guy? Pure win, that's what. Never have I seen a series that pulled me in as quickly as the first episode because of how funny it was, and still is. The humor is spot on, the emotions are real, there are scenes that made me feel warm inside, and honestly, there were moments of pure, unadulterated awesome. My top three characters are Luffy (for being Crazy Awesome), Zoro (for being PURE Awesome), and Robin (for being Creepy Awesome) in that order, but the rest of the crew all get a high 4th place because the entire crew have Awesome Moments, so I can't choose. I also appreciate how this series expresses the importance of friends in one's life, as friends help you go through the days. The fact that the show doesn't go overly dark helps. But finally, my favorite parts: the humor and hardcore. When I'm not laughing my ass off, I'm enjoying the awesome set before me, and when I'm not doing that, well, take a wild guess. This is great because I'm constantly entertained, what every fiction writer should strive for. Overall, if you wan't to try a series that's actually good or even great, check out One Piece. And while you're at it, check out Funimation's dub. You won't be disappointed. Rating: 6/5
Setting a Lofty Standard for Manga
Notice the title says "manga" and not "anime." One Piece is probably the most compelling manga I've ever read. The characters are likable and well-written, the amount of universe building is incredible, the artwork is fantastic, the action is fast-paced and larger than life at times, but probably the best quality about the series is the plot. The plot has the honor of being almost completely consistent, which is a goddamn rarity in manga— especially shonen manga. The story starts off as your generic shonen underdog story ("I'm gonna be king of the pirates!") But underneath all of this is a gripping and tightly-woven plot. The author loves putting important plot points in easily-forgotten throwaway scenes, not mentioning them for hundreds of chapters and having them dramatically affect the plot when it seems everyone's forgotten about them. The plot is the biggest drive behind the story, and is one of the most well-written and planned out stories I've ever read period, which is doubly impressive for a story of it's length. The only problem with the plot is that toward the beginning, the story runs incredibly slowly. The story doesn't become less generic until the Arlong Arc, and after that, the story doesn't cross into incredible territory until the Arabasta Saga, which is where the continuity starts taking affect. On the plus side though, the Arabasta Saga is one of the best story arcs I've ever read in manga, bar none. Another stand-out is the artwork. When it comes to people, the artwork is very reminiscent of western cartoons, which is sufficient to alienate hardcore anime fans, but it more than makes up for that with the sheer diversity of the character designs. The problem with the art style is that the females aren't nearly as diverse as the males are, and that they almost uniformly have breasts large enough to break their backs. The best thing about the artwork is the unbelievable amount of detail put into the background and scenery, and the fantastical and cultural designs of the places the characters go to. You wouldn't believe that the author puts out this kind of artwork on a weekly basis.
Should You watch One Piece?
I got into anime after stumbling across Bleach. From there I went to One Piece and have been a hardcore anime fan ever since. The only complaint I have ever come across from this anime is the length. While it is true that long amines tend to lose their quality with useless filler, one piece does an amazing job of using the 600+ episodes to build on something meaningful. It is a world full of likeable characters and meaningful themes that could very well change the way you look at the world. I recommended this show to all of my family and friends and everyone who started it became fans. If you want a great anime to watch I suggest you stop in the world of One piece!
Just try it.
I remember traveling to Japan once when I was little and spotting tons of One Piece merchandise. Uniqlo sold t-shirts with the bounty posters, the amusement park had stands just for Chopper bath towels and so on. I found it all to be stupid. I thought the characters looked grossly exaggerated (though, to be fair, the picture I found most disturbing was Sanjis bounty poster, which is quite funny in hindsight) and as the tiny little feminist I once was, I didn't really like the fact that Namis bounty was the lowest, excluding the pink-hatted whatever it was, whom I was convinced would have the same amount of intelligence as GIR and intelligibility as that of a shoe. God damn was I wrong. Flash forward a few years, and less tiny, less feministic me is welcoming my dad home from a business trip to Japan. By that time, I had gotten hooked on manga and anime, effortlessly and eagerly reading a hundred chapters within 1 or 2 days. Dad told me he had bought me a new manga and so he presented onto me, One Piece. I picked it up, remembering it as the weird franchise that I stumbled upon in Japan. I was slightly reluctant but luckily, openminded and so I sat down and began reading. Then I quietly looked up the rest of the chapters online and continued reading. And reading. And reading. And by bed time that day, I had read the first 150 chapters of One Piece. It was magical. So screw all that about the cartoonish art style and exaggerated features and "how it isn't for everyone". Just try it. If you don't like it, you simply don't, but it is the worlds most sold manga for a reason. If you like it, like me and millions of other people, enjoy. It's a page turner of Harry Potter level. Oh, and the Fishman Island arc? It's mostly just to show off all their new powers, the villains are cannon fodder. But read it anyways, it has a few important plot points and the attacks themselves are worth chocolate. Lots of it.
A Story Everyone Should Read and/or See
Tired of reading books and viewing shows about sparkly vampires, clichéd teen dramas, or bad reality shows? One Piece is the story you are looking for! One Piece is set during the Golden Age of Pirates (Word of God states that this story is set in the 1520's), where many pirates are sailing the Grand Line in search of Gol D. Rodger's buried treasure. Monkey D. Luffy is one of these pirates. He ate a fruit that gave him the power to turn into rubber, but, as a price, he can't swim. Despite the payoff, Luffy is able to gain a crew consisting of a swordsman (Roronoa Zoro), a navigator (Nami), a sniper (Usopp, a.k.a., Sogeking), a chef (Sanji), a doctor (Tony Tony Chopper), an archaeologist/historian (Robin), a shipwright (Franky), and a musician (Brook), and they sail the Grand Line. I wasn't really too into One Piece until a few months later, where something made me fall completely in love with this anime. Was it because of how handsome Sanji is? Is it because of how much I laughed? Or, is it because of how fantastic the story is? Anyway, whatever it is in the story, you will fall in love with the saga of Monkey D. Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates. One Piece is the type of show you'd see anytime - after school, a marathon session of the show on a Friday night, on a lazy Sunday afternoon - and you'd never get sick of it. Funny scenes will have you laughing out loud. Sad scenes will make you cry or put you on the verge of tears, and awesome scenes will make you be in awe for days to come (like Strong World). So, I reccommend you try this anime/manga out. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll do a fangirl/fanboy scream out of the sheer awesomeness of it all, you'll be inspired to make O Cs for this show, and, most of all, it will leave you wanting more.
What Shonen Should Be
Good Bits: One Piece knows what it is and revels in it. While other shonen may got bogged down by Wangst and whining, One Piece keeps up its energetic and fun atmosphere. With a likable main cast that range the gamut of idiot to genius this series has a character that fits what you think a protagonist should be. Want a fun loving idiot kid? Got it. Want a serious and badass sword master? Got it. Want a classy yet perverted break dancer? Got it. This show excels at the shonen classics, namely humor and jaw dropping badass fights. The fight scenes are always long and incredibly detailed affairs that showcase the heroes power and determination against the enemies deviousness and might. Also, this show has some of the most original and cool powers that I've ever seen. And Oda uses these powers in such clever ways that you could watch the show for those things alone. And while the characters of One Piece are not exactly human, they're all so much larger and grander then a mere human could ever be. You can relate to their dreams and their pain. Oh, and the art style? It fits One Piece perfectly, with a sugary and bright shell masking a decent morality tail, with one of the best portrayals of Order Versus Chaos I've seen. Bad Bits: This is a really long show, running 430+ episodes at the time of this writing and showing no signs of stopping soon. While this provides many opportunities for character development and the aforementioned badass fight scenes. The show has long gaps of somewhat boring bits to set up the climatic finishes. For example the most dramatic arc, Enies Lobby, happened 100 episodes ago, and since then a massive battle is set to happen, but still, a hundred episodes is a long time to top itself. Again I'll bring up the issue of cast. While the nine Straw Hats fit together really well, there are nine of them. Each one an individual, and crew is supposed to be ten people! Not to mention the hordes of antagonists that fill the series. While such a huge cast is awesome, you can't see all that you want of them. Also the heroes got stopped halfway through their quest to engage in a side plot!, this is looking to be the Long Runner. I love this show, and if you like superheroes, pirates, cool fights, fun characters and TTGL you're missing out if you don't watch it.
Unusual, but that's what makes it memorable.
When an anime or manga hears the mention of One Piece, odds are that they will be dismissive of it. It has a lot of things working against it: length, unusual art style, the infamous 4Kids dub, slow English release schedule, and so forth, but to completely ignore this work, very popular the world over and often praised as the spiritual successor to Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball, would be a grave, grave mistake. In a world primarily almost completely covered by ocean, a carefree teenage boy by the name of Monkey D. Luffy leaves his small hometown island in order to become a pirate and find the mysterious treasure "One Piece", left behind by the legendary pirate Gold Roger. During the course of his journey he assembles a crew called the Straw Hat Pirates, named after the straw hat that Luffy wears, and they travel across the treacherous waters of the Grand Line in search of Raftel, the hidden island where One Piece is supposedly kept. Along the way, they must not only deal with rival pirate crews, but also the machinations and conspiracies of the ominous World Government. While at first the story mainly consists of the crew traveling from one island to the next, an overarching storyline begins to emerge, dealing with the mysteries of their world and the balance of power between the World Government and the world's strongest pirate crews. What most people will probably notice right off the bat is the unusual art style and character design. The art is very dynamic has extensive use of crosshatching and straight lines, resulting in some very exotic and impressively detailed backgrounds. All of the characters have their own memorable quirks and powers, ranging from the mundane to the truly bizarre. Half the fun is seeing what bizarre ideas and locations Eiichiro Oda will pull out of his brain. That's not to say that this manga doesn't have its downsides. The author acknowledges that pacing is not always his strong suit. Some of the longer story arcs may start to drag on, and sometimes the story takes too long to answer certain questions. Also, some of the humor comes off as a bit stale since Oda rarely shakes up how the Straw Hats interact with each other, and after five hundred chapters, he's very set in his ways. And with such a large cast, some favorites inevitably end up shunted to the side to make way for new ones. A recommended story.