One Piece is an long series with its episode count and chapter count going well into the hundreds. The manga, written by Eiichiro Oda, was first published in the year 1997. The anime adaptation began its run in 1999 airing alongside the release of the manga for over a decade.
Many who are just getting into One Piece immediately notice the distinct art style associated with the series. While it may be off putting for some, the consistency of Oda’s style is apparent throughout the series. While character drawings change slightly over the years, they not only reflect Oda’s improved ability but also manage to maintain the original impressions left by the characters from longer ago. The series initially began its run before high definition and computer animation became a standard. The anime was not left behind by the development of technology however as it adapted a high definition format and utilized computer animation later on in the series. Despite the changes, the art used in the anime while slightly altered over the years, remains consistent with the general feel of Oda’s art style.
The plot of One Piece is an extraordinary display of story telling. Oda has particularly been known to leave clues to future plot events many years before they actually happen. On more than one occasion, he has been able to reference previous minute details that many viewers may have forgotten or missed entirely. Many longtime fans have pointed out for instance that many of the supposed lies that Usopp was spouting during his introduction arc, the Syrup Village arc, have come true at different points throughout the series.
One Piece does a stellar job of continuously developing its characters. With an extremely long run spanning hundreds of episodes, one would think that the members of the Straw Hat Pirates would eventually turn out to be bland with a distinct lack of growth as the show progresses. This is not the case for One Piece as the crew maintains their ability to expand their personality, ability, and potential. We can see this most in Monkey D. Luffy, a rubber man and captain of the Straw Hat Pirates. With its hundreds of episodes and chapters, the series manages to create a persona for Luffy and maintain this personality throughout. Luffy has not only been shown to adapt and learn from events in the series but has also been shown to take his rubber man ability to increasing heights utilizing it in extremely unique ways.
As the story progressed, a large character pool has been built and surprisingly enough, most of these characters have been developed quite well giving them a distinct personality that makes each of these characters identifiable. The Straw Hat Pirates have been given particular focus showing them evolve in depth and ability during the course of the series. Many arcs have focused on a particular aspect of a single crew member allowing for the series to cover aspects such as background, fears, weaknesses, and desires on multiple occasions.
One Piece handles relationships with the Straw Hats very well. Characters outside of the Straw Hat crew have developed very strong connections with the members, in particular with Luffy who has displayed an odd ability to charm not just those in the series but also the viewers. His silly antics have been a consistent source of humor that sets his character apart from all the rest and has the viewer simply enjoying the lightness of his mood. At the same time, he has his moments of seriousness reflecting a clear sense of justice, determination, and drive that every character and viewer can get behind. His personality has led to many of the One Piece cast developing a bond with the show protagonist.
One downside to the anime however is that it is prone to filler arcs. Having begun airing a mere two years after the source material’s initial release, the anime has managed to catch up on more than one occasion. For many purists and for those particular about the story quality of filler arcs, this may be a relatively significant flaw. A quick fix for this would be to simply skip filler arcs. While viewers may feel a slight disconnect when doing this, the show easily remedies that issue making it easy to jump back into the main plot.
If you’re looking for a series to invest yourself in, to immerse yourself in, then One Piece will definitely not disappoint. Its longevity as a top-ranking series is a testament to the consistency of its quality and to the brilliance of its plot.