one piece, 350 episodes in

Just before we finished our group project, I’ve started watching one piece from the very very beginning.

One piece is an animated series that’s originated from a manga collection written and illustrated by Eiichiro Oda. It launched in 1997 and aired as an anime series in 1999. It seems it’s been a huge success ever since – the manga is still being written and the anime is still airing!

This means I have 19 years of episodes to catch up on… and I am loving it!

The plot is developed around Monkey D Luffy – a guy that wants to be the Pirate King –  and his awesome crew. The story starts with Luffy alone and trying to find ‘nakama‘ to form a(/read: the best) pirate crew. Episode after episode, the plot gradually grows in complexity and the crew expands to their ‘ideal’ set-up, which consists of:

a captain – Luffy, a crazy happy dude that has eaten a devil fruit which made his body gain rubber properties. He’s a loyal friend and, despite being a pirate, his moral compass is pointing towards the right direction.

a swordsman – Zoro – his dream is to become the best swordsman in the world, so nothing better than to join forces with the man that wants to rule the Pirates. In order to be considered the best swordsman in the world, Zoro can’t eat a devil fruit, which makes him one of the strongest human players in the game. His biggest weakness is his sense of orientation – which is exploited throughout the series and provides us with loads of laughable scenes.

a kindhearted liar/handyman/sniper – Usopp. Where to even begin?! Usopp is a lively character that has no special powers apart from his accurate aim. He loves to exaggerate facts and is a coward/very realistic person at his core.

a navigator – Nami. If there wasn’t a captain already Nami would probably be up there as a contender. She’s super skilled and can sense all the atmospherical changes around her. Her dream is to draw a complete map of the world, and she’s great at bossing all the guys around!

a cook – Sanji! His dream is to find the all Blue sea, a sea that has the fishes from all the different oceans in the world – a cook’s ultimate dream! Sanji is a great cook and fights only with his legs in order not to ruin his working hands. He is also a big pervert and has a strict moral code that doesn’t allow him to hit women.

a doctor – Chopper, a reindeer that ate a devil fruit that gave him human characteristic. Chopper can mutate into different shapes, and because he was a reindeer he can understand/talk to animals. He’s super gullible and believes in everything he’s told – which provides a lot of funny moments – but most of all he’s a super talented doctor.

an archaeologist – Robin is the only living person that knows how to read the poneglyphs, which are these massive stone cubes that have writings about legendary weapons on them (I think there’s still a lot to develop in this thread of the story). The poneglyphs are considered dangerous and illegal to the world government, but most of them still exist hidden away by their communities. Her dream is to be able to restore the historical period that the world governement erased – and that is related to the poneglyphs. She has eaten a devil fruit that gave her the power to grow any part of her body on any surface.

a mechanic – Franky, a cyborg that was trained as a shipwright by the man that built the previous Pirate King’s ship. He’s powered by coca-cola and his dream is to build the best pirate ship ever – one that can navigate all the seas.

and finally a musician! His name is Brooke, I have just met him in this story arc – I am still getting acquainted with him.. But from what I can tell so far he is an exquisite swordsman and his story is connected to the beginnings of the crew’s adventure in the Grand Line.

Which takes me to my comments about the series so far…

Knowing the length of the series, this could only be possible with a complex storyline. The greatest thing that I have noticed so far is that none of the story arcs are forgotten once they’re through. Characters from previous adventures keep popping up along the way, giving the plot an enriched feeling that, not only the characters we follow but also the rest of their world keeps evolving.

Not only this, but the absurd amount of episodes also helps with the development of the crew’s characters and personalities. And it’s been great to tag along!

I have learnt some new vocabulary like story arcs and fillers due to the series.. But mainly I think one piece is about being true to yourself and never shying away from standing up for what you believe. It is about friendship and loyalty, adventures, perseverance, kindness and honesty. It definitely transpires the idea that we should never give up on our dreams, and that’s a pretty sweet message.

Watching this is turning me into a massive anime enthusiast, hopefully it’ll inspire me somehow on my future work!

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