Gol D. Roger was known as the "Pirate King," the strongest and most infamous being to have sailed the Grand Line. The capture and death of Roger by the World Government brought a change throughout the world. His last words before his death revealed the existence of the greatest treasure in the world, One Piece. It was this revelation that brought about the Grand Age of Pirates, men who dreamed of finding One Piece—which promises an unlimited amount of riches and fame—and quite possibly the pinnacle of glory and the title of the Pirate King.
Enter Monkey D. Luffy, a 17-year-old boy who defies your standard definition of a pirate. Rather than the popular persona of a wicked, hardened, toothless pirate ransacking villages for fun, Luffy’s reason for being a pirate is one of pure wonder: the thought of an exciting adventure that leads him to intriguing people and ultimately, the promised treasure. Following in the footsteps of his childhood hero, Luffy and his crew travel across the Grand Line, experiencing crazy adventures, unveiling dark mysteries and battling strong enemies, all in order to reach the most coveted of all fortunes—One Piece.
#01: "We Are! (ウィーアー!)" by Hiroshi Kitadani (eps 1-47) #02: "Believe" by Folder5 (eps 48-115) #03: "Hikari E (ヒカリヘ)" by The Babystars (eps 116-168) #04: "Bon Voyage!" by Bon-Bon Blanco (eps 169-206) #05: "Kokoro no Chizu (ココロのちず)" by BOYSTYLE (eps 207-263) #06: "Brand New World" by D-51 (eps 264-278) #07: "We Are! (ウィーアー! 〜7人の麦わら海賊団篇〜)" by the Straw Hat Pirates (eps 279-283) #08: "Crazy Rainbow" by Tackey & Tsubasa (eps 284-325) #09: "Jungle P" by 5050 (eps 326-372) #10: "We Are (ウィーアー! 〜10周年Ver.〜)" by TVXQ (eps 373-394)
#11: "Share the World" by TVXQ (eps 395-425) #12: "Kaze wo Sagashite (風をさがして)" by Straw Hat Crew and Mari Yaguchi (eps 426-458) #13: "One Day" by The Rootless (eps 459-491) #14: "Fight Together" by Namie Amuro (eps 493-516) #15: "We go! (ウィーゴー!)" by Hiroshi Kitadani (eps 517-541, 543-589) #16: "Hands Up!" by Kouta Shinzato (eps 591-628) #17: "Wake up!" by AAA (eps 629-686) #18: "Hard Knock Days" by GENERATIONS from EXILE TRIBE (eps 687-746) #19: "We can! (ウィーキャン!)" by Kishidan and Hiroshi Kitadani (eps 747-)
#01: "memories" by Maki Otsuki (eps 1-30) #02: "RUN! RUN! RUN!" by Maki Otsuki (eps 31-63) #03: "Watashi ga iru Yo (私がいるよ)" by TOMATO CUBE (eps 64-73) #04: "Souchinosuke (しょうちのすけ)" by Suitei-Shoujo (eps 74-81) #05: "BEFORE DAWN" by AI-SACHI (eps 82-94) #06: "fish" by The Kaleidoscope (eps 95-106) #07: "GLORY -Kimi ga iru Kara- (GLORY-君がいるから-)" by Takako Uehara (eps 107-118) #08: "Shining ray" by Janne da Arc (eps 119-127, 129-132) #09: "Family" by the Straw Hat Pirates (ep 128) #10: "Free Will" by Ruppina (eps 133-156)
#11: "FAITH" by Ruppina (eps 157-168) #12: "A to Z ~One Piece Edition~ (A to Z〜ONE PIECE Edition〜)" by ZZ (eps 169-181) #13: "Tsuki to Taiyou (月と太陽)" by shela (eps 182-195) #14: "DREAMSHIP" by Aiko Ikuta (eps 196-206) #15: "Mirai Koukai (未来航海)" by Tackey & Tsubasa (eps 207-230) #16: "Eternal Pose (エターナルポーズ)" by Asia Engineer (eps 231-245) #17: "Dear friends" by TRIPLANE (eps 246-255) #18: "Asu wa Kurukara (明日は来るから)" by Dong Bang Shin Gi (eps 256-263) #19: "ADVENTURE WORLD" by Delicatessen (eps 264-278) #20: "One Day" by The Rootless (ep 492) #21: "We go! (ウィーゴー!)" by Hiroshi Kitadani (eps 542, 590)
There are two responses I get, without fail, every time I try to get someone new to watch this show. "I don't like the art style," or "I've seen the dub - NO THANKS." I'm guilty of both of these myself. But if there's one thing I need to stress before even getting started on this review, it's that the 4Kids dub is NOT One Piece. For the love of god, PLEASE do not think it is. If you've suffered the misfortune of seeing some of the 4Kids episodes, just erase them from your mind and start fresh. They
butchered it, there's really no other way to put it. They cut episodes, changed the dialogue to fit a MUCH younger and apparently far less intelligent audience (almost insultingly so), gave the characters RIDICULOUS voices, and pretty much watered down the entire series. FUNimation has done a much better job so far from what I've seen, but regardless, watching it in its original Japanese form with subtitles is really the way to go.
As for the art style, it's true, it's completely different from almost anything else I've seen. Much more "cartoonish" and maybe not what you'd expect from an anime. Despite that, you end up loving it. I wouldn't even say that you have to "get used to it" because it's not something that detracts from the rest of the series in any way. It didn't even take me two episodes before I was thoroughly enjoying it and seeing it as a fresh, new style, exciting almost and unlike anything I'd experienced before. Now, some 300+ episodes later, I can't remember ever NOT liking it, or even why I would have. Especially now with One Piece being aired in high definition, the art is crisp, clean, colorful - VERY sharp and wonderful to look at.
Now that we've got those two points out of the way...
One Piece is actually one of the best shows I've ever seen, anime or otherwise. The plot is pretty basic at first. Monkey D. Luffy has just set out on his own to find the legendary treasure 'one piece' and become Pirate King, and he's looking for a crew to sail with him. You'll find yourself falling in love with each and every new member as Luffy finds them. They're all extremely well developed, with interesting backgrounds and unique, fun personalities. They form one very quirky crew that's always discovering new adventures and somehow getting themselves into trouble as they strive to achieve their dreams. Each main story arc introduces new minor characters as well, and they're just as much fun and easy to fall in love with as the Straw Hat crew. Not one character is left out or feels like they're there for no reason. Everyone has a purpose and adds to the storyline, and one of the really cool things about One Piece is that these 'purposes' often resurface at later points in the series. No detail is left untouched, and you'll seriously be amazed by the way Oda threads together plots and characters and blends all their stories perfectly the more the series progresses.
The plot itself, though fairly straightforward at first like I said, quickly evolves into something HUGE. Much of the beginning of the series is dedicated to forming the crew and letting you get to know the characters, though it's definitely never lacking in action, but once they reach the Grand Line, you're swept up in adventure after adventure and following some of the most fantastic story arcs you'll ever watch. The battles and fights are well-paced, with the final boss fight almost always being completely EPIC. But even through the action, One Piece never quite loses it's lighthearted, humorous edge. The episodes are sprinkled with PLENTY of funny moments, never too many and never too few. There's always a wonderful balance of action and humor.
One Piece also has its fair share of heart-wrenching moments, which may take you by surprise! There are some EXTREMELY powerful scenes and episodes that kind of blindside you and leave you wondering when you became quite so emotionally attached to certain characters or other things. I've definitely found myself near tears or actually crying at more than one point. One Piece has it all - amazing characters, the never-ending yet never TOO over-the-top humor, exciting battles, fun adventures, heartbreaking moments with quick to follow touching moments. And underneath everything, there's always the theme of friendship and teamwork, of working to reach your dreams and helping those closest to you achieve theirs, of growing and maturing as a person and discovering the power within yourself to overcome obstacles of any sort, of just BEING THERE for the rest of your crew when they need you - of being NAKAMA.
In a word, One Piece is perfect. And perhaps I'm just biased, being an obviously OBSESSED fan at this point, haha, but what can I say? It's been running for 344 episodes so far and not ONCE have I wondered or hoped that it would start to reach an end. It is, simply put, amazing.
So why should you watch One Piece?
Because you're missing out on one hell of a fantastic show if you don't at least give it a try.
One Piece, a title that could probably not be any more unfitting, considering that anybody who actually tried watching this show in one sitting should most definitely be committed to an insane assylum. This thing is huge! At the time that I am writing (updating) this review One Piece has had 702 episodes. Going with an average episode length of 24 minutes, this adds up to 16848 minutes of One Piece or 280.8 hours of One Piece or roughly 11.7 days (!) of One Piece. Which makes you wonder how anybody could have even watched all of it. But then again, it is a show
that started years ago and probably a childhood favourite for many, me included. I remember watching this on TV in the early 2000's and it is still going! Holy shit, that is impressive! But sometimes you have to put nostalgia aside, for example when writing a review, and all things considered, One Piece just doesn't hold up (anymore).
So, let's start with the good stuff: One Piece has one of the most interesting and definitely most immersive worlds I have ever seen in anime. If you heard that this was a show about pirates and nothing else, you would be expecting anything but this. The character designs are great, diverse and keep you invested in the show. The entire thing just screams adventure. In that regard there are few things to complain about, the art style is fantastically creative and is sure to suck in every interested viewer. Now, if the same could only be said about the animation ...
In recent years Toei Animation has obviously stopped trying. I mean this is One Piece, doesn't matter how much effort we put into it, this shit will sell either way. Ever since the time skip happened I have been constantly disappointed by the animation as well as the art. It lacks detail and looks cheap. Character designs no longer have the edge they had before, looking way too clean, which stands in contrast to Oda's original art work. Considering that One Piece has the unfortunate problem of having started in the late 90's, the early episodes are of course not really anything impressive either. In terms of animation, all that I actually like are the episodes between the start of Enies Lobby and the end of the war, which aren't that impressive either and only account for less than one third of the series. This is probably the only show that looked better in 2005 than it does in 2015. That alone is straight up pitiful and it doesn't help that it tends to get worse with every passing week.
Then there are the characters and the problems continue. Let us start off with Luffy, our main character and the man who wants to become the Pirate King. Luffy is naive, hungry, a funny guy, but if anybody tries to hurt his nakama, he will end you. So, he is basically a copy and paste version of Goku from Dragon Ball Z. Not only that, but Luffy hardly develops over the course of the anime. This is bad since he is the main character and we want to see him mature and grow on screen, yet he never really does.
Next we get the rest of Luffy's pirate crew and while they are all engaging and likeable enough, there are some big problems that need to be adressed. Here is One Piece's biggest flaw concerning characterization: They manage to create characters that are great initially, fantastic back stories, interesting personalities, all of that. But they don't know where to take them after that, there is literally no real character development happening in this over 700 episode long anime, the main characters are exactly what they are introduced as. Luffy's nakama is pretty much the problem incarnate. Almost all of them have a great tear jerking introduction arc, where they are presented and fleshed out as characters, but they never go anywhere past that, being stale for the rest of the show. Of course, you will inevitably feel attached to these characters, just because you have spent so much time with them, but I can't really call that good character writing.
What I can't call good writing either at this point are the tear jerking introduction arcs themselves. That is not too say that I don't like them, I think that most of them are incredibly emotionally engaging, but the writer has definitely overused the plot device called „tragic past“. The back story for every single member of our main cast is pretty much the same. Their parents are dead (or not around in two cases) and there was some tragic event in their past where either someone close to them died or such a person sacrificed him- or herself to save the character. This applies to every single member of our crew and it's gotten pretty tiresome at this point, especially because the „tragic flashback“ device is also being used for at least one side character per arc.
Speaking of side characters: One Piece's approach to side characters is the good old way of adding individual oddities. Almost every side character that is of some significance has at least one of the following things: A funny name, a weird speaking habit, a unique design or some kind of odd quirk. Oftentimes it's all of them. I have to say that I actually enjoy a lot of the creative character designs that One Piece has to offer and its side characters are a lot of fun. Looking at it from a critical point of view, this is a review after all, you could argue that this is mainly done to cover up that a lot of One Piece's side characters don't have much depth to them. Still, even taking this into account, I find One Piece's cast of characters to be enjoyable enough to give it a pass.
Now let's talk about the story: I do not care what kind of story you write, but if you are 702 episodes in and barely halfway through, you have failed as a story writer, I am sorry. While One Piece's initial story is engaging, it takes far too many detours. There are 50+ episode arcs in this thing, where absolutely nothing gets accomplished. It makes you want to go and scream at the writer to be done with it already.
When it comes to the individual story arcs all I can say is that they are of varying quality. There are some that can be considered amazing while others don't even come close to the same level of quality. One Piece's arcs can also be fairly formulaic so I wouldn't blame you if you get tired of seeing what it is virtually the same stuff happening over and over again. The main story on the other hand, when you really come down to it, is basically just an excuse to explore as much of Oda's rich and detailed world as possible and while I don't like this concept at all, I can't really flaw it too much for this either, seeing how the world is just so immersive.
But the main problem of the One Piece anime lies in the pacing. Good god, One Piece has horrible pacing. And I am not even talking about the amount of episodes here. Just the simple structure of an episode is enough to get you really annoyed at this show. So, let's look at the reason for that. One Piece is based on a one chapter per week manga, which wouldn't really be a problem, if One Piece wasn't a one episode per week anime, almost never missing a week. Different shows try to deal with this problem in different manners, Naruto, for example, decided to torture us with filler for years to make up for that. While there is definitely some filler in One Piece (around 14% according to my sources), this anime goes a different route, trying to stretch out the content of a Manga chapter as much as possible. The result of this is that One Piece is probably the slowest anime you will ever watch, conquering even Dragonball Z in that regard. Your average episode consists of four minutes of opening, four minutes of recap, one minute of preview, three minutes of actual stuff happening, two minutes of reused footage and ten minutes of reaction and establishing shots. Yes, One Piece is pretty much "Reaction Shot The Animation". There is so little stuff happening in each episode, most of the time you can sum up what happened in the last ten episodes in two sentences. And while I am not a big fan of filler either, I consider this to be far worse, because you can skip filler, you can't however change the pacing of an episode and it takes away most of the enjoyment I could have potentially had with this show.
Overall, do I recommend watching One Piece? No, most definitely not. If you haven't started it yet, there is no reason to try and catch up. While there are good and interesting things about this show, I wouldn't even call it bad, the time you would have to put into this is just too much to be worth it. There are so many great anime you could watch in the time it takes to watch One Piece, I cannot say that it is a good use of your time. And if you happen to be interested in the story or the characters, then just go read the manga. It takes far less time to do and you'll probably enjoy it a lot more since it doesn't struggle with obvious pacing issues like the anime does. If you are however caught up with this, there is nothing I can tell you, you will keep watching One Piece anyway, as will I. As bad as it has gotten at times and as mediocre as it really is, we have spent so much time on this, there is no way we'd be dropping it now. And also, sometimes nostalgia just trumps quality.
One Piece is by far the best shounen anime out there that I have watched.
But not all share the same views as I do, lets remedy that, shall we?
A long time ago, there live a fearsome pirate king who goes by the name of Gold D. Roger. He was able to attain everything. But alas he was captured and sentenced to execution. In the brink of death, he proclaimed that he left the great treasure, One Piece, somewhere in the Grand Line and it is for anyone to claim. This event ignited the Great Pirate Age.
In the world of One Piece, there is such
a thing as a Devil Fruit. A devil fruit is a fruit bearing some supernatural ability and whoever devours it will get a unique ability however its origins are unknown. There are three types of Devil Fruit, Paramecia, a fruit that can materialize your body into a property. Zoan, a fruit that gives humans the ability of a certain animal, but if its an animal, it gives the ability of humans. And the last but certainly not the least Logia, is a fruit that makes the consumer manifest a certain element. But of course nothing is perfect. If you eat any of the Devil Fruit, you will be rendered immobilize when submerge in the water.
And where is our protagonist? The anime revolves around our mentally impaired boy, Monkey D. Luffy or a.k.a The Straw Hat Pirate(title came from his worn-out straw hat that he always have on). When our boy here ate a devil fruit that turns the consumer's body into rubber, he sets off to find Shanks, his pirate idol to return his straw hat as promise and find One Piece to be able to earn the title of Pirate King. Along the way he gathers all kinds of oddballs for his crew, The Straw Hat Pirates.
Now how exactly is One Piece different from the hundreds of shounen out there. Well, it isnt. It is exactly what a shounen should be. It follows the lose-train-win formula. So how is it any better? Bingo. Because it incorporates the formula into something fresh and simple.
One Piece arcs can be surprisingly good. There were even times that I was shocked at some plot twists and revelations. It has a very interesting setting as well. And what might that be? The World. The whole world is One Piece's oyster. It varies from vast, scorching deserts to cold snowy mountains, the concept of adventure here is well defined, it really makes you feel that world isnt small after all. And that my friend, is what an adventure anime should really be.
One Piece knows how to pull it off, be it comedy or serious, and believe me, One Piece knows how to be serious when it needs to be. But it never forgets its roots at the same time, and that is the emphasis of friendship and the bond of Nakama/Friends that glues the whole crew together.
Most shounen anime's suffers immensely from originality. Because of this, it is hard to distinguish characters from each other, especially in my case as I have my fair share as an otaku. And most of the characters in em lack depth and substance, its hard to remember a character when you know very little about him. But One Piece is immune from this disease. Each character of One Piece is very... say....unique that you'll find it hard to forget about them. They all have their individual motives, strengths, weakness and even quirky traits. Plus, each individual of the Straw Hat Pirate Crew has an immersing past, that'll be hard for you not to get delve into. And they all have a certain role, not one character gets overshadowed by the other. They do meaningful interactions with each other. And regardless, that each member is vastly different from each other, they all formed a formidable bond. Even the by-passing characters are memorable.
In contrast to the majority, I find the animation to be creative. Just like how the characters are different and distinguishable. Unfortunately people see it as something of a turn off, and quickly judges One Piece as something infantile. I am not going to lie. One Piece will not go beyond the borders of a shounen. It is not mature. But thats not the point here. An anime doesnt need to be ripe to be good. It just needs to be entertaining. Although I do enjoy a deep, thought-provoking anime, an anime doesnt need to be complex to be satisfying. It can be anything, as long as it offers gratification. And One Piece does.
Another potential problem is its popularity. Most people consider mainstream anime's to be somewhat of a failure because of its targeted demographic, and that is everyone. "If its able to attract toddlers, then it sucks" that seems to be case for most people. Some people neglect any anime that is able to summon countless little children in its area, thus abruptly convicting it as over-rated. Heck, some people even constantly hunts threads, just to be able to crack Narutard jokes off some newcomer. Do not judge One Piece from its fans. Judge it for what it is.
Do not be mistaken, I am not saying One Piece is for everyone. In the end, its all about taste. But if your have any hint of love for shounen surging in your veins, there is no reason for you not to watch this, not one bit.
In short, the plot is very promising, the main cast is several but well flesh out, the battles are very diverse, and engaging and the comedy doesnt get old, even after 300 episodes. But One Piece is not a masterpiece. It does not break any ground whatsoever. No matter how you see it, its still your typical shounen.
Regardless of this, the level of enjoyment I receive from One Piece is insurmountable. And sometimes thats all you need. Scratch that. Most of the time that's all you need.
If I were to say anything bad (and I will have to do that as this review is not a positive one) about this anime that would not offend the hardcore fans (and I know there are a lot) is that it's PAINFULLY slow.
Even if you leave the fillers aside, still- the plot itself progresses in such a slow pace that it's rather hard to watch. Now for a younger audience it may not matter that much, but to me as a higher age audience, it matters greatly, after all, out of the 23~ minutes of each episode 3 are spent
on opening and ending (which is usual I guess), but in most episodes, roughly 5 (!) or more minutes are spent on a recap of the current story arc, as if the creators of the show forgot it's a shounen anime and instead got the idea that the audience are elderly people with Alzheimer.
But ok, this means there is still 15 minutes left per episode right? Well, not really. In most episodes, the heroes get separated. When they do, the anime tries to keep track of ALL of them simultaneously, cutting every few minutes. This wouldn't be so bad IF after the cut, the same exact scene did not repeat itself (example - a few seconds that show one of the main heroes standing and looking at a place/ villain that is shown from a few angles. Then the anime continues elsewhere, and when it comes back to the same place, the same exact scene is shown). That may not sound as much, but in drastic cases that can sum up to a few minutes (the worst case I bothered to count was almost 4 minutes of time wasted on watching the same scene). Combined with a lot of other tricks, I'd say that a lot of episodes are left with about 11 minutes of actual content on average. That is simply dreadful.
Now to say some positive things for contrast- the story is actually very interesting and the characters are well done... BUT, no matter how good something is, if you drag it out too much (and this is indeed the case with One Piece), even the best story in the world and the best characters possible (not to say one piece has neither of those.. The story is great, and the characters are good, but not more) will not keep you entertained, and turn even the best story possible into a boring experience.
Now back to the negatives. NO ONE DIES IN THIS ANIME. This is of course an exaggeration, as some people actually do die in this anime BUT only when it's critical to the plot. At all the other times, the characters "die" just to add drama and to come back a few scenes later.. Sometimes to "die" again and add even more "drama" (added "" because at this point its more awkward/silly after one time rather than dramatic). The worst case of this I saw was with Brownbeard who "died" something like 5 times over 2-3 episodes (if I remember right), and still stayed alive in the end while the show tried to suck as much drama out of this as possible. And this brings me to the next point- fake drama. They seem to try and squeeze out as much of it as possible, at every opportunity they get. From crying children (and adults) to characters repeatedly "dying" and to the most cliche tearjerkers possible at every turn of the story. They even go as far as to try and make the villain's henchmen AND EVEN THE VILLAIN himself have a tragic past that you are supposed to relate to and feel sorry for (because seems a villain can't just be evil because that is just the way he is, he had to become evil because something bad happened (lol)). Also I mentioned crying.. There is an unbelievable amount of it in this anime. And that would be ok (I guess) if
A- they did not try to milk it for drama (yep, that's a word that sure gets a lot of use when discussing this anime huh?) every single time
B- they didn't think that when someone cries, he instantly turns ugly, with snot running down his nose and with the worst face expression possible, regardless of gender, age or how emotional he is.
I'd say a lot more, but there is already a lot of text, and it's enough to sum it up - this anime is not one I would recommend someone to watch under any normal circumstances (maybe only if someone made a shortened version with all the repeats, openings, endings and cuts removed thus making the whole anime be at around 300 episodes max), I watched over 600 episodes myself, and I can safely say that although some parts were enjoyable, it was mostly rather boring when looked as a whole, and I am regretting the time I spent watching it (as of what i watched it so long- my friend recommended it to me and I did not expect it to last this long. I usually finish what I start, but this is ridiculous.)