Jun 21, 2011
630 of ? chapters read
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One Piece has officially hit its halfway mark, spanning from August 1997 - September of 2010. Yes, it has gone on for more than a decade, and it's only at its halfway mark. There will be some questions that will arise from those curious about One Piece from this little tidbit, but they'll be addressed. Anyway, I feel that since One Piece has its confirmed "first half" done, it deserves another review.
One Piece. The first thought that entered my mind when I hit the "Write a Review" button is "...where do I even begin?" This is a VERY difficult series to review, because you cannot
simply describe it, it must be experienced.
Well, let's get down to it. I must stress that if I was able to, I would give One Piece an 11/10, and that would be MILDLY putting my enjoyment of the series; I'd rather give it a 15/10.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - STORY: (10/10) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
WARNING: BEFORE ANYTHING IS SAID, I MUST WARN YOU THAT ONE PIECE GETS *SAD*! DO NOT BE FOOLED BY THE ART!
This is the main draw of people to One Piece from my experience. So many things happen in such a short span of time. "But it's gone on for over 13 years!" you wail, "Doesn't it drag?" Not in the freaking SLIGHTEST. In fact, so much is jam-packed into the panels nowadays that some people think it's TOO fast-paced, but they're hardly complaining. After you watch an episode of One Piece then watch another show, you'll be tapping your foot impatiently saying "Hurry up!" The brisk pace of the story -- that somehow manages to never leave one stone unturned -- is a major perk of One Piece.
But what would a fast-paced story be without interesting events occurring within it? Many manga that are not One Piece, for one. But really, a story must be able to keep the reader's attention, and One Piece does this from chapter ONE. So many characters, ideals, oddities, etc. are introduced in chapter one that you can't help but wonder just where the heck these things will lead.
And where they lead is a vast sea full of possibilities. Oda is often known for "weaving" his story "flawlessly"; that's because seemingly unimportant characters and objects introduced right in plain sight at some point may become HUGELY important later, all unbeknownst to the reader. And they all fit into the world and lore of One Piece, which is yet another amazing aspect of the series.
The world for One Piece is absolutely ginormous. While some anime may only take place at a school and a house or two, One Piece takes place at a variety of scenically eye-popping landscapes. These range from a humble gigantic fish-boat restaurant to a water metropolis that highly resembles Rome. The islands they've been to so far in the story are well in the tens, and each one is usually HUGE with its own sub-districts.
The world may seem like a paradise at first, but it can range from that to being absolutely chaotic. When the story picks up and they head to "that place", that's when shit hits the fan, and many more dangerous characters, weather conditions, struggle for survival, etc. all come into play. And that's another thing about One Piece, it can range from a paradise to absolute chaos in its story as well. One Piece will give you a full spectrum of emotions. Tears of joy (many times), tears of sadness (many times), tension, curiosity, freedom, excitement, horror (occasionally), hopelessness, et cetera. And that is because with the environments varying so wildly, so do the locales and personalities, which can cause clashes of ideals, and turn a fun little island stroll to a dark, drama-packed boiling pot that leaves your stomach unsettled.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ART: (10/10) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
An initial turn-off for some for the series, a jumping-in point for others. Either way, if you haven't read the series, don't dare try to act like you know anything about the art.
The art has constantly evolved throughout the series, largely for the better, beginning with its humble simple cartoon-ish structure and eventually evolving into the super-detailed "not-wasting-an-inch" background-loaded megalith that it is today, still retaining its fun cartoon-y nature.
The art can range from "raw", to insanely detailed, to comedic. It all depends on what the story is demanding at that moment. In short, stick with it, and you will see the art slowly start to improve greatly throughout the series, leaving all other weekly series in the dust in terms of non-computer-generated detail.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - CHARACTER: (10/10) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Even if One Piece didn't have its super-amazing-chocolatey-fudge-coated story, the characters would more than make up for it.
While some stories may have their characters eating a slice of cake, One Piece constantly has gears moving. Every character you see is usually doing SOMETHING, and that ESPECIALLY applies for the major players. Don't like the fact that in other series one of the main characters hardly gets any time to shine? One Piece is the exact opposite in that it'll give even the ugly ducklings their extended spotlight.
After reading One Piece for a while and kind of connecting with the way the author tells the story, you will notice that he absolutely ADORES his characters and cradles them like babies. Have that one character you saw a while ago and wish he came back? One Piece has done this with many, many of its characters, making them go from zero to hero in a span of episodes, when you thought you'd never see them again.
One Piece's characters range from ... HUFF *takes deep breath*: normal people, pirates, locals, giants, dugongs that know kung-fu, giant animals such as crabs and sky snakes, transsexuals (portrayed in a completely awesome way), demons, zombies, angels, mermaids, a talking skeleton ...... I think you get the point.
No matter how serious they are, 99% of the characters are zany in some way and have a quirk. And for a cast that has more than one thousand characters (1-0-0-0), I cannot think of but a handful that I dislike, and that's a slight dislike at that; can't stroke everyone the right way. One Piece is basically THE go-to manga for badasses, quirky characters, idealists, etc. But it mostly seems to pump out badasses like a gigantic testosterone-fueled assembly line. Most One Piece characters, from the seemingly simple crew to a mass-murderer-Hitler incarnate, have multiple, realistic dimensions to them. You could find the main character agreeing with the mass-murderer one second, then kicking his ass the next.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ENJOYMENT: (10/10) - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
As if the other things didn't put it ahead of other manga and anime, the sheer joy and emotion and heart you will get out of this masterpiece puts it leaps and bounds ahead. Only giant long-considered-classic monsters of manga are able to compete with One Piece, like Berserk, in enjoyment. From the interactions of the characters to the insanely detailed islands to every character getting a chance to shine to the sheer unpredictability, One Piece has MULTITUDES of things to cater to everyone, which would explain why One Piece is the most popular manga in ALL age groups in Japan, not just the teenage age group. One Piece is so enjoyed that its sales have been 23,000,000, with the next-leading manga being 3,000,000.
Basically, One Piece is proof that popularity does not make something bad, and that a God actually does exist.
It is my favorite manga of all time, and it is Japan's as well. Just to give you a grasp of just how popular it is, they have STADIUMS devoted to One Piece in Japan. Oda (author of One Piece) was voted the 50th Most Influential Person in Japan, being the highest manga author on the list.
Please note, by reading this review you only know less than 0.1% of the series. Go read it, go watch it, go change your life.