Looking ahead to One Piece’s final saga

It’s been a very busy time for One Piece fans as of late — we got news of Oda’s upcoming month-long break, video game Odyssey is releasing in the coming months, and the Netflix adaptations released new pictures of what to expect. Most importantly though, upon Oda’s return from his break, we learned that the One Piece manga will be entering the “final part” of the story.

If you’ve been reading One Piece for a while then you’re probably already used to Oda coming out and saying there are X number of years until the story will be finished, or that we’re X% through the story. Well, this time I think I really believe him when he says we’re approaching the final parts of the story. Anyway, let’s get into all of this news.

One Piece Is Approaching Its Final Saga

One Piece Manga

Let’s start off with this, as it’s probably the biggest part of this piece — and the news that had most One Piece fans simultaneously extremely excited and shitting themselves — take it from me, I’m one of them. (Tissues are in the cupboard, as always – Ed.)

In the current chapters of the manga, we’re approaching the end of the latest and longest arc in the history of One Piece: Wano Country. This arc has consisted of three acts and has lasted around 150 chapters as of writing this, so it’s been a long time coming, but it’s also had a massive impact on the world of One Piece. 

Without spoiling anything, just know that Luffy has reached quite the high level of notoriety on the Grand Line, and some of the only people I can see standing in the Straw Hats’ way towards the final island are some of the big bads that we’ve been waiting for. So it’s fair to say it makes a lot of sense we’re approaching the story’s final part. 

This doesn’t mean that we’re moving right into the final arc once Oda comes back from his break, mind you. This more means that the story will be entering its final saga: a collection of arcs that will lead us to the grand finale of One Piece.

There is still so much to learn about this world that Oda has created, characters to finally meet, battles to be had, and mysteries to be solved. I would estimate that we still have somewhere around five years left of this wonderful story — and then the anime still has to catch up too, of course, so One Piece will be around for a while yet. 

I think Wano Country being such a tremendously large arc has taught Oda some things, and in his letter to fans where he states he will be taking a break, he mentions that in this time he will be tightening up the story to make sure the structure is good. All this does is fill me with the hope that, upon Oda’s return, we will be getting nothing but banger chapter after banger chapter. We One Piece fans have been eating well for a very long time, but this lead-up to the end is going to be something else. 

One Piece Film Red and the Netflix Adaptation

Next up is the newest One Piece film that’s scheduled to be released around August 6, 2022 in Japan, and then, hopefully, shortly after that we will be seeing international release dates as well. Oda has also been heavily involved in the production of the film. It was even stated that his involvement is equal to, if not more than, it was for One Piece Strong World back in 2009 — which was a film where Oda wrote the actual story. 

So with the film approaching its release date, it’s understandable that Oda would want to take some time during his break from the manga to oversee the final stages. Additionally — and this is something very exciting for me personally — the focal character for the film, Uta, has two voice actresses. Kaori Nazuka will be voicing her dialogue throughout the film; however, when she sings, we’ll hear the voice of Ado — a Japanese singer of whom I am a massive fan. 

Finally, the exciting yet terrifying One Piece Netflix adaptation. Every time something is revealed for this new version of One Piece, I’m hit with a truckload of mixed emotions — and I want so badly to be proven wrong and for the adaptation to be great!

One Piece is a totally bonkers series; even within the realm of anime, it features things that will take you by surprise, and you just have to accept them as a part of the show — I can’t help but wonder if a live-action adaptation can pull that off. That and I don’t know if any live-action film has ever made people with the power to stretch look good. (Tooms from the X-Files is still the benchmark for me – Ed.) 

On the flip side though, I must say they are doing a really great job with some of the casting. Some of the people they have managed to get involved with this look perfect for their roles — Chiola Umeala as Nojiko and Craig Fairbrass as Chef Zeff look perfect for their roles. Also, no one can doubt the amount of love and effort that is being poured into some of those sets — when I saw the Baratie for the first time I was totally taken by surprise. They have done some truly exceptional work, and it makes complete sense that Oda wanted to go to where they are filming and see it in action.

So exciting times are ahead for One Piece, in more ways than one! What are you most excited for?

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Conor Evans
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