One Piece: An Overview of One of the Most Popular Anime Series of All Time
One Piece, surely one of the most popular anima series of all time, has been around for two decades, and with more than 920 episodes, if you’re into anima at all, then there’s no doubt that you’ve heard about the King of Shounen. If you’ve never really gotten into it, however, and you’re thinking about picking it up, you might be wondering about this mega hit series. Let’s take a look, shall we?
One Piece is a shonen manga series that was written and illustrated by Elichiro Oda. It has been published in the Weekly Shonen Jump magazine since 1997 and as of April, 2020, there are more than 96 volumes of the series.
The series follows the story of Monkey D. Luffy, a young Japanese man who, after accidentally eating Devil Fruit, developed the properties of rubber. Together, he and his group of pirates (the Straw Hat Pirates), go on adventures exploring the Grand Line on a quest to find “One Piece”, the world’s most valuable treasure. By finding this treasure, Luffy will be able to become the King of the Pirates.
Since it was first introduced, One Piece amassed a major following, and it has been turned into a mega franchise. It has been adapted into an anime series, which is produced by Toei Animation, as well as festival film. There are also fourteen animated feature One Piece films, which were developed by Toei, 13 made-for-TV specials, and an original animated video. There are also trading card games, as well as video games.
The series was licensed for release in English in the UK and North America by Viz Media, and by Madman Entertainment in Australia. The series has been recognized for its great plotlines, incredible character development, and its light-hearted sense of humor. In fact, One Piece is so popular that a number of the volumes of this manga series have actually smashed publishing records. Pretty impressive, right?
What’s It About?
One Piece, as mentioned, follows the story of Monkey D. Luffy, who was inspired by Red Haired Shanks, powerful pirate (who was his idol when he was a child), to set out on a quest to find the most valued treasure in the world – the One Piece –and claim it for himself so that he could become the King of Pirates. Before he sets sail from the East Blue Sea, Luffy establishes his own crew of pirates (much like his idol, Red Haired Shanks), who he dubs the Straw Hat Pirates. Roronoa Zoro, an expert swordsman, is Luffy’s “right-hand man”, so to speak, and the duo set out to search for the One Piece.
Soon after Luffy and Zoro set out, they are joined by Nami, an expert navigator who also happens to be a thief. Usopp, a sniper and a pathological liar, to boot, also joints their crew, as does Vinsmoke Sanji, a chef who has a shady history with women. The Straw Hat Pirates crew happens upon the Going Merry, a ship that they make their own, and they set sail on the East Blue Sea. Throughout their journey across the sea, they run into trouble with some infamous pirates. New members also join the Straw Hat Pirates crew, such as Tony Tony Chopper, a doctor who is also a reindeer (which adds an interesting dimension to the crew), Nico Robin, an archeologist who was an assassin in his past life, Franky, a cyborg, Jimbe, a helmsman, and Brook, a musician and expert swordsman.
The voyage across the East Blue and the run-ins with other pirates, eventually causes too much damage to their ship, the Going Merry, and they get a new one, which they call the Thousand Sunny. The Straw Hat Pirates continues to run into other pirates, criminals, bounty hunters, and the like, including soldiers who serve the World Government (which is super corrupt), and a number of other friends and enemies, as the search for the One Piece.
What’s with Luffy’s Rubber Traits?
In the beginning, we mentioned that Luffy, the main character, has rubber-like characteristics; he can move and stretch like rubber. We also mentioned that he acquired these traits by accidentally eating a Devil Fruit.
Devil Fruits are a special kind of fruit that give special power to those who eat them. Only one Devil Fruit can be eaten in a lifetime, otherwise the individual will quickly perish. When Luffy was a kid, he unintentionally ate a devil fruit. There are three different types of devil fruit:
- Paramecia, which gives the eater superhuman-like powers
- Logia, which give the eater the ability to alter their human structure into the powers of nature
- Zoan, which allows the eater to turn into an animal, either partially or fully.
The type of devil fruit that Luffy ate was a Paramecia, and that’s how he got his rubber powers. These rubber-like abilities are super important, as they make him immune to certain types of attacks, such as electricity and the force of blunt objects. They also allow him to stretch his body out whenever he wants to; for example, he can use his power to deliver more powerful punches or to reach greater distances to deliver a kick. However, while these rubber powers are valuable, there is a downside; anyone who eats devil fruit is no longer able to swim. In fact, in one episode, he is submerged in water, he loses all strength and is unable to move at his own will. But, overall, the benefits of his rubber powers have made Luffy exceptionally strong, fast, agile, and have given him great endurance and speed.
Should You Check Out One Piece?
Yes! We definitely think that you should check out One Piece and in fact, we highly recommend the series. It’s been around for more than 20 years, which really tells you that it has to be good to have such long staying power. And in our honest opinion, it’s a lot of fun. The graphics are well-done, the storyline is entertaining, and it has a silly, light-hearted feel that we really enjoy.