One Piece! Eiichiro Oda’s life’s work, and one of the most legendary and greatest Shounen Jump series — one that we will most likely never see the likes of again once it’s all wrapped up.
The series began its serialization in 1997 and is not only ongoing to this day, but it remains one of the most popular series featured in the magazine.
One Piece is something I started watching back when I was in high school and since then I read the new chapter every single week. I imagine my experience was something similar to most fans, as I believed the art style was a bit odd at first, I wasn’t sure I could commit to such a long series (although it was about half the length then that it is now) and I wasn’t even sure I would enjoy its pirate setting.
I’d never been more wrong in my life.
The Magic of One Piece
So why am I talking about One Piece right now? Well, in 2019 I went to Japan with a few friends and while we were there we visited Tokyo Tower and saw a whole floor dedicated to One Piece. It was amazing; rooms dedicated to all things One Piece in video form, statues that you could take pictures with, and of course all sorts of One Piece merchandise.
Something really interesting that I saw while there was a group of fans that were all teenage girls. This is where it suddenly hit me that One Piece feels as though it’s a part of Japanese culture at this point — and numerous generations below my own have their own knowledge about it.
I was the only fan of the series in my group, but one of my friends decided to come along through this little One Piece experience with me. I think it was here that he caught the bug — the magic of One Piece. The thought of starting the series floated in his mind for about a year, and now fast forward to today, and we’re talking about the events of Marine Ford, an arc that takes place almost 500 episodes into the series.
Finally having someone to talk to about this passion of mine is a genuinely wonderful feeling. Being able to talk about this immensely long, deep, and well-written story filled with some of the most memorable and unique characters in Shounen Jump is something I have been missing. It made me think back to the time where everyone was watching Naruto, which I loved. But when it came to the big 3, Naruto was at the bottom for me.
The Reach of One Piece
With this newfound enjoyment of talking to a new fan of something I adored, I went out looking for more fans and their responses to some of my favourite parts of the story.
I immediately went to YouTube and sat through a ton of reactions from people watching the anime and of course it’s always great to see others getting hyped up off stuff you enjoy — that’s why reaction videos do so well on YouTube. I was looking for something different though, which is when I came across a YouTuber by the name of Merphy Napier.
Merphy is most well known for being a bookworm who seems to love everything that comes in a written form. She has numerous videos on long-running book series, sci-fi- fantasy, the works of specific authors, and much more. She is also currently reading through One Piece, which is why I’ve brought her up.
I’ve always thought that One Piece was a well-written story, and to see someone from a non-comic book background talk about how amazing she thinks the story, characters, developments, and world-building is left me with the biggest smile on my face. It’s not that I think Merphy’s opinion is more “worthwhile” due to her coming from a book background — I’m more fascinated by the fact that One Piece has reached this far and is loved regardless of whether or not you’re a weeb.
Lastly and most recently, Tokyo hosted the Olympic games. They put on a truly incredible show, and it was such a shame that they couldn’t have anyone in the audience due to their COVID situation. The opening ceremony was filled with video game music from the likes of Final Fantasy, Nier, Dragon Quest, Sonic, and much more.
One Piece also featured at the Olympics as well — and it wasn’t just one, but three times. Before going on to win his gold medal in the Men’s Long Jump, Greek athlete Miltiadis Tentoglou walked onto the stage and struck the same pose that Luffy does when first revealing Gear Second. Not only this, but in the post-event interview, Tentoglou was extremely excited to mention his love for the series.
American shot-putter Payton Otterdahl performed Franky’s “Super” pose while also mouthing his catchphrase. Finally, Italian Massimo Stano ended his 20km walking race blowing on his thumb, imitating Luffy’s Gear Third. Maybe in my mind, anime and manga are still these underground things that people still ridicule you for, but this made me see just how much the series has traveled and become something adored by many.
One Piece is long, and only Oda knows how much longer it’s going to get, but this series is something unlike any other. When I said at the beginning that this is a series we will never see the likes of again, I really meant it. Eiichiro Oda and his life’s work will not go down as a classic — but as a legend.
Disclosure: Some links in this article may be affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on them. This is at no additional cost to you and helps support Rice Digital!
- Hump Day Husbandos: Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy VII) - June 29, 2022
- Our Final Fantasy predictions came true! - June 28, 2022
- Why Street Fighter 6 needs to thrive - June 27, 2022