Eichiiro Oda published his first One Piece manga chapter in 1997. Eighteen years (and 78 completed volumes) later, this series continues to hold its own in the world of manga/anime. As of 2015, the manga series has over 380 million volumes circulating worldwide. Not surprisingly, in Japan, One Piece has made its way into the real world as well. You can find a replica of the Going Merry and even have a bite to eat alongside your favorite characters in some of the One Piece themed recreation places. After so many years, what keeps this series so amazing?
One Piece immerses you into a huge universe with a great display of different characters, powers, abilities, emotions and settings. Even though the characters' personalities are quite simple, you’re sure to find at least one that you won't be able to help but root for. Moreover, the series presents a fantasy universe with a variety of settings to please your imagination. Throughout the adventures of the Straw Hats you get to visit islands that float above the clouds, deep water cities, lands where fire and ice sit next to each other and many other landmarks you could only dream of.
One Piece is a series about pirates (even though they don’t look much like the one’s we’re used to), so different kinds of ships are an essential part to their adventures.
Galley-LA is located on the island called Water Seven and it’s the most notorious shipwright company that appears in the series. It was founded by Iceburg who, after his master’s arrest and death, decided to continue his project and transform Water Seven into a more prosperous country. In order to do so, Iceburg created Galley-LA by fusing seven companies into one.
Galley-LA has seven docks in which they repair, or create, ships for civilians, marines and pirates. This company appears to have more than a hundred employees, but the story focuses on the shipwrights of Dock 7, who are the strongest and most skillful. At Galley-LA’s Dock 7, physical strength and fighting abilities are important parts of the business, principally because the shipwrights may have to deal with pretty nasty pirates. That being said, this dock has some of the most badass shipwrights ever, who won’t hesitate to throw some blows if someone were to misbehave.
Tom was a long horned cowfish fishman and one of the most skillful shipwrights the One Piece world had ever seen. Tom was pursued by the World Government for building the Gol D. Roger’s ship (the first one to ever cross the Grand Line), but was eventually pardoned because he agreed to create the Puffing Tom, a sea train that connected Water Seven to other islands. In the end though, he was arrested and sentenced to die. Although the Cipher Police gave a bunch of fishy reasons why, the main reason was because they wanted to secure the Pluton blueprints that were on Tom's hands.
Franky is one of the two disciples of Tom, and the 8th member to join the Straw Hat pirates. Previously known as “Cutty Flam”, he reconstructed himself as a cyborg after suffering an accident while trying to stop the train that took Tom to prison. Following his master's ways, he built the Thousand Sunny and dreams of being the first shipwright to sail across the whole Grand Line on his own creation.
Iceburg is the other disciple of Tom, although he and Franky didn't get along very well for a long time. This shipwright’s biggest accomplishments were developing the Galley-LA company and becoming the mayor of Water Seven. Even though we haven’t seen him since the ending of the “Water Seven Arc”, we know that he also planned to follow his master’s ways by building a floating device that would save his country from sinking.
Kaku worked as a shipwright at Dock 7, although his real identity was that of a double agent for the World’s Government Cipher Police. He is the man who diagnosed the Going Merry and told the Straw Hats that the ship had already reached its limits. Even though he turned out to be one of the enemies, he assured everyone that, as a shipwright, his diagnosis of the Going Merry was truthful.
Den is a cheerful merman who happens to be the younger brother of Tom. During the “Fishman Island Arc”, he is seen talking to Franky and complimenting his work on the Thousand Sunny. Den is the merman responsible for coating the Straw Hat's ship during the "Fishman Island Arc".
The Going Merry was the first ship the Straw Hats had as a crew, received as a gift from a girl named Kaya. This ship was the home and vehicle for many of their initial adventures, equipped with living quarters, a bathroom, a storage deck, a cannon room and an anchor room. The figurehead was Luffy’s favorite sitting spot and had the form of a sheep because it was designed by Merry (who also happened to look like one). The Going Merry’s perks and capacities fall short compared to the those of Thousand Sunny, but one of its amazing aspects was that it had an authentic will to live. After receiving a considerable amount of damage, the Going Merry repaired itself through some kind of magical ability during the “Skypea Arc”. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a ship that loved you and could patch itself up for the sake of sailing with you? Unfortunately, the Going Merry had its limits, so a new one was acquired at the end of the “Water Seven Arc”.
The Thousand Sunny is the second and current ship of the Straw Hat pirates, built by Franky at the end of the “Water Seven Arc”. The Thousand Sunny doubles the Going Merry’s size and it was built with all the requests the Straw Hats made when they arrived at the Galley-LA Company. Besides the rooms that the previous ship already had, the Thousand Sunny also features a library, an aquarium bar, workrooms, a sick bay and a survey room. The name of the ship, Thousand Sunny was recommended by Iceburg, who described the lion figurehead as a sun that would shine over a thousand oceans.
The Thousand Sunny is made from Adam Wood, which is the strongest and highest quality type of wood in the whole One Piece universe. Also, this ship has some pretty heavy artillery, including seven traditional cannons in each side of the ship, the “Gaon Cannon” that can shoot a powerful blast of air, and the “Coup de Burst”, located at the rear, that can send the ship flying a mile away, serving as an escape maneuver. Another interesting feature of this ship is the Soldier Dock system, which includes eight channels with perks like the “Mini Merry II”, a tank, an exploring submarine and other cool stuff.
Not all ships have to be huge or have to be capable of transporting a big crew. It all depends on the taste and personality of its captain. That being said, the Coffin Boat is the perfect mode of transportation for a loner like Dracule Mihawk. This boat has the shape of a coffin and its mast resembles a cross; moreover, its eerie design is increased by two torches lit with with green fire and black veils that announce the destruction to be brought by its captain. Even though the Coffin Boat can hold only one person and has no weapons, Mihawk was able to destroy the entire Krieg’s fleet. This proves that you don't need artillery when you are a badass like this Shichibukai; he is his own artillery.
On the other hand, you could also have a humongous ship like Thriller Bark. It's less a ship, than an island accommodated to navigate across the ocean. Thriller Bark was owned by the former Shichibukai Gecko Moriah and includes a whole forest, a huge mansion (which, actually, is the mast of the ship), a graveyard, a garden and a laboratory. As implied by its name, Thriller Bark has a suspenseful atmosphere and hosts a crew of monsters like zombies, Frankenstein animals, a Cerberus, howling trees and many other creatures inspired by the horror genre. This ship was practically a horror themed country that had a population of over a thousand people and monsters before its captain was defeated and expelled from the Shichibukai. Who needs physics or logic when you have One Piece?
Not all cool ships have to be sailed by a powerful captain or crew; a perfect example of this is the Sexy Foxy. The Foxy Pirates, led by their captain Foxy, the “Silver Fox”, are a crew that grows by gambling with its crew members lives with games that they always win by cheating. The Sexy Foxy is a huge ship (with a fox figurehead and a tail on the rear) designed to hold up to 500 crew members and hides all kind of tricks and cheating devices. Some of these include disguises, a room with a floor covered in spikes, a trapdoor that throws you out to the ocean and a huge punching gorilla robot. The Foxy Pirates challenged the Straw Hats in Long Ring Long Island and, thanks to that, we got to see Luffy wearing a badass afro and a pair of boxing gloves as a costume for his final fight.
Do you think that all ships must float in the ocean? If that is so, that's because you haven't seen Shiki's Island Ship, which appears in the One Piece Film Strong World. This ship is literally an island with a giant golden lion figurehead and a huge mast with veils attached to it. This floating island has the ability to fly thanks to its captain’s devil fruit power, which allows him to levitate all kinds of things into the air.
Kuja Pirates Ship
The most amazing thing of this galleon is that, instead of having a figurehead, it has two Judas at the front, just where the sheep is steered. These creatures are enormous snake-like monsters that are feared by Sea Kings due to their poison and ferocity. That being so, the Judas allow the Kuja Pirates to travel inside and outside of Amazon Lily, an island located in an area where the Sea King's attacks present a close threat.