Is One Piece too BIG for Newcomers?

One of the many problems that occur when suggesting a show is that people say it’s too long or they don’t like the art style. One Piece is one of those shows that gets recommended to many anime-watchers and newcomers to anime. But they get bewildered by the sheer episode number and put it on the list of never to watch. Despite that One Piece is a great show & one of the best-selling manga in the world and simply cannot be ignored. Is One Piece worth the time? Let’s analyze a bit into the vast and wonderful world of One Piece.

The Story and World Building

The Main Theme

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Only a few shows can have a compelling and consistent story that can attract audiences for more than two decades. The writer has to keep a lot of things, major & minor in mind when writing a long-running series to keep it consistent and not cause plot holes. When somebody thinks it’s just another run-of-the-mill shounen battle action series with cheap friendship advertisement, they need to think more about that for a moment. Sure the show values friendship, bonding, and relation over other things, but the main theme has been the same ever since the very beginning.

“Wealth, fame, power, I’ve attained this and everything else the world had to offer. You want my treasure, you can have it. I left everything I’ve gathered together in one place. You just have to find it.”

Gol D. Roger
Gol D. Roger at his execution

It’s this quote that drove many souls to the seas to find the feebled treasure, One Piece. It’s that sense of overwhelming adventure that makes this so exciting. Our main character Monkey D. Luffy seeks adventure & freedom more than anyone. He wants to find the One Piece to prove to be a great pirate and show value to his life that was once saved by Red-Haired Shanks.

The protagonist

Luffy going 2nd gear

Our main focus is Luffy and his experience of the world he is venturing into. Luffy is an active protagonist meaning he moves the plot forward, causes incidents to happen, and brings changes to everyone around him. He seems a naïve, happy-go-lucky guy, trying to make friends but his character is given a layer that makes him compelling. He understands others’ feelings and because he is a flat character, he changes the lie that others used to believe to bring the truth to them. His own crew members and a lot of other people faced such ideological issues that they couldn’t overcome but through Luffy, they learned the truth they needed. Luffy respects others’ convictions and believes and that’s what leads him to help them in time of need. Whether they are an animal, some old man, a damsel in distress, or just a nobody. Above all, he values friendship and loyalty. To him, being the King of the Pirates means being the freest.

Story Structure and the World

The model of the Globe in One Piece

The story is structured by arcs. Each arc has a self-contained story focusing on the events on in it while building the world and setting up things for future events. Every arc flows naturally from one to another as the parts of a huge, single story instead of feeling disconnected. In every new arc, new characters are introduced as well as a new outlook on the world. As it is mostly covered by water in this seafaring adventure world, the population dwells on the islands. And the arcs are mostly named after those islands as our main characters stop by them for one or many reasons. During their visit to the new places, we get to learn about the climate system, geography, plantation, wild lives, etc. including the political structure as a whole. Different places bring a variety of social structures, rules and regulations, and much more to learn about the world. All of these make the world so much rich and real to emerge into.

The Consistency

As we move forward, the show doesn’t throw away the characters and everything that was built up. It carries them over, adding them to future events and everything plays out properly. Building up certain aspects and giving a proper payoff or even shattering expectations is a distinct value of the story. On which One Piece excels. Certain things are brought up even 500+ chapters later that we audience might have forgotten. But the writer stayed consistent in his writing so much so that when such things are brought up, it gives that OOMPH feeling. One Piece is chock full of details, easter eggs, and cameos that are really worth keeping in mind and an eye on. In the manga cover pages, some of the side characters get their own standalone story told like how they are doing, what their objective is, etc. Even some petty stuff like the Davy Back Fight, which was hellishly boring has this awesome theory like how one man managed to snag some of the most powerful characters in the series. The author never left anything go without any purpose and managed to write something almost without any plot holes.

Is it Worth It?

Long-running shows are hard to get into. It takes more time to invest in and harder to stay on. But it also gets you to reach deeper into a world that’s built properly and characters well developed. So it’s an overall batter and well-realized story rather than a typical seasonal 12-25 episodes show. Instead of rushing in, the longer series gives you a complete presentation and some room to breathe. One Piece is exceptionally big with its 1000+ episodes but it’s not boring, to say the least. Those who think it would be a time waste to watch for this long and not get anything in return is just shallow thought. It is wholesome, enjoyable, have some really emotional moments and jaw-dropping action scenes. It has proper build-ups to certain events that when they pay off, they give orgasmic satisfaction. And it also has enough places to drop it from time to time if anyone is getting burned out and even get back on it. To conclude on if it’s worth it or not, it may boil down to personal preference.

The Issue with People

Too long?!

People who show problems with longer shows, a lot of them grew up watching some of them like Dragon Ball, Naruto, etc. And they even re-watch some of them wholeheartedly. Only when One Piece is mentioned, it’s that biased opinion get stated over and over again. But it is reasonable that most of them are grown-ups and cannot get into a show like before. I see that all the more reason to stick to one show rather than move from one smaller show to another.

Cartoon-y looking?!

Some even complain about the art style that it’s cartoonish. If you think that way then you shouldn’t be watching anime and don’t understand art at all. The art style is the visual representation of the artist’s imagination and it serves its purpose in the proper manner. One Piece is a bizarre world full of different characters. The best way to visually introduce them is by their appearance and Eiichiro Oda peaks at doing that. If anybody is round (◯) looking then their character is simple-minded. If anyone has a triangular shape {△} then they are shrewd and anyone with a rectangular shape [] then they are stubborn. One Piece has a variety of characters and their appearances tell us about them without saying anything. If anybody is too tall or too small, that aspect of them has been used in the story instead of mare looks for comic reasons. And if anyone’s personality is nasty, they are drawn as ugly as possible. That is one of the cleverest ways of visual presentation.

For example, Luffy’s 4th Gear is bulky looking because his bouncy, rubbery nature allows him to outmaneuver his opponent in various cases as we’ve seen him in fights. He uses the tension of rubber to push air and can fly, using haki for hard armor but still staying bouncy and can stretch farther and faster. It’s not just some look for a new form, the form allows him to fight in his unique way. That’s how you use the art style for the narrative advantages. Not by drawing K-pop-like figures and attracting degenerates with cheap waifu baits.

Slow Start?!

Another issue that gets brought up is that it doesn’t have an interesting beginning. That only if you ever paid attention to what is happening?! Other shows such as Hunter x Hunter, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and Demon Slayer also have a slow start but they hardly say anything about them nowadays, if not it’s taboo to speak against them. Nobody even cared about Demon Slayer until some big celebrities and YouTubers started to mention it. And when they got to episode 19, which is 6 hours of binging later, they finally realized how great the show is and the importance of the build-ups they’ve been through. And when the movie came out, it blew everyone out of the water. One Piece also gets better and better as it progresses and it’s still getting better. You can only judge after experiencing it firsthand.

Some quotes from the series

I added some quotes to give some philosophical ideas that may make you feel different and get you into One Piece.

“Maybe nothing in this world happens by accident. As everything happens for a reason, our destiny slowly takes form.”

“Are we friends? Or are we foes? That you decide for yourselves!”

“Life is like a pencil that will surely run out, but will leave the beautiful writing of life.”

“Fools who don’t respect the past are likely to repeat it.”

Only those who are living in the present can make a new epoch.

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“Sometimes the only thing you have to doubt is your own common sense.”

“When do you think people die? When they are shot through the heart? No. When they are ravaged by incurable disease? No… It’s when they’re forgotten!”

“If you hurt somebody… or if somebody hurts you, the same red blood will be shed.”

“If we lose credibility just by admitting fault, we didn’t have any in the first place!”

“Ideals can only be spoken by those powerful enough to carry them out.”

“No matter how deep the night, it always turns to day, eventually.”

“It’s a man’s duty to forgive woman’s lies.”

“Men who can’t wipe away the tears from a woman’s eyes aren’t real man.”

“If I die here, then I’m a man that could only make it this far.”

“Just being alive isn’t a sin; There is no crime in living!”

“What good is a treasure if I am alone?”

“Dead leaves nothing behind.”

“Once a person passes on, nothing remains but dead bones! If there is one thing I can’t stand, it is a person with no respect for life!”

“What keeps me alive in this world is neither bodily organs nor muscles, it’s my soul.”

“Victory or defeat can be determined in a single moment misstep”

“Only those who have suffered long, can see the light within the shadows.”

“The scar on the back is a shame for a swordsman”

“Bring on the hardship. It’s preferred in a path of carnage.”

“When I decided to follow my dream I had already discarded my life”

“It’s not about whether it’s impossible or not, I’m doing it because I want to.”

“Your honor isn’t worth your life”

“The world hates us for what we are, you know it makes us happy… Even if it’s just a word.”

“Who ever wins the war becomes justice!”

“You can’t bring back what you’ve lost, think about what you have now!”

“It is a sad truth that greater the authority a person possesses, the more the tends to fear change.”

“Miracles only happen to those who never give up.”

“There can be no happiness in a world where the undesirable are thrown away.”

“The weak don’t get to decide anything, not even how they die.”

“No one is born into this world to be alone.”

“The dreams of a pirate… never end!”

“I’ll die smiling! Because if you ever think of me in the future, I want you to remember me smiling.”

“Inherited Will, The Destiny of the Age, and The Dreams of the People. As long as people continue to pursue the meaning of freedom, these things will never cease to be! Seek freedom, and it will stretched out before your eyes. If the endless dream guides your restless spirit, seize it! Raise your flag, and stand tall!”

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