An Anime Review: One Piece

It was hard to decide what my first topic of review should be. I’ve been asked to review different anime for this blog, but the truth is I’ve never reviewed anything before. Being an amateur, I decided my first anime review should be on something mainstream and easy to find. However, I find that reviews of the two biggest mainstream anime in the US, Naruto and Bleach, to be overdone and common. Even as a beginner, I wish to at least slightly stand out from the norms. Thus, this shall be a review of one of the most popular mainstream animes running in Japan, One Piece.

One Piece is one of the biggest mainstream animes in Japan. It started as a manga written by Eichiro Oda and serialized by Shonen Jump. Since 1997, the anime has been in production by Fuji TV and Toei since 1999. It currently  has well over 500 episodes and sells all kinds of merchandise throughout Japanese malls.

The world of One Piece is a world ruled by the seas. The vast array of countries and terrains are merely islands across the globe. The backstory is that long ago the famous pirate Gold Roger traveled the world and collected a vast treasure. Before Gold Roger’s eventual capture and execution, he hid his fantastic treasure somewhere within a strip of sea known as the Grand Line. This legendary man is known as “king of the pirates” and pirates around the world strive to obtain his fabled treasure.

The story in One Piece follows Monkey D. Luffy, a strange young man who has only one goal in life: to be king of the pirates. Luffy’s dream seems to be rather farfetched at first, since first meet him with no ship or crew. He’s light-hearted, fun-loving, easily impressed with others, and not quite what you’d expect when you think of a pirate, but it’s his strange personality that attracts the crew members that eventually come to follow him.

Each crew member has dreams and aspirations of being the best at what they do. It doesn’t matter if it’s cooking, medicine, navigation, swordsmanship, etc. They all feel that they can achieve their goals while traveling with Luffy. He’s as goofy as his name. Despite Luffy and his crew just setting out on their adventure, they already have something of great interest: the power of a “Devil’s Fruit”. As child, Luffy ate the Gum-Gum fruit, which made him a rubber man. He has the ability to stretch like a rubber band, inflate like a balloon, and all sorts of different unusual things. Unfortunately, it’s not a real advantage. At the start, the show makes it seem like devil fruit powers are something rare and powerful, but it isn’t long before Luffy faces off against other pirate captains with powers of their own. In fact, there’s an entire season in which he and his crew fight against a crime syndicate with several leading agents who have such powers.

This interesting group of youths defies the normal view of pirates, as they don’t seem to actually break any laws, aside from admitting themselves to be pirates. In fact they go from place to place, defeating other pirates who terrorize innocent people. People often comment that Luffy and his crew are good people. Rather, Luffy befriends someone who is being terrorized by an evil pirate and, for the sake of his friend, proceeds to kick the bad guy’s butt. The only person who could possibly be considered a criminal is their navigator, Nami, who before joining the crew had made a living out of stealing treasure from pirates, a thief who steals from other thieves.

To me this show is not about being pirates, but about being free to follow your dreams to wherever they may bring you as well as fighting for your friends. This pirate crew supports and fights for each other’s dreams. If you let yourself get into it, their stories and backgrounds are quite moving. Each character is unique and inspirational in his or her own way. You may find yourself hooked on even a simple introductory episode.

When I decided to review this, I took the time to actually watch a good chunk of the show, thinking such a long-running show would likely be full of filler episodes and that I could watch a few episodes and skip along. Within a weekend I became addicted. Before I realized, I had finished the first two seasons. I found nearly every episode interesting and fun. Even filler episodes had their parts to play, so I didn’t skip a thing. Now I don’t doubt that there will be plenty of useless fillers in the later seasons, but what I’ve seen of the show so far has been well worth it. Overall this show has all of the makings of a decent story, the loveable heroes, unique villains rivals and obstacles, an adventure into the unknown, and a vast array of interesting locations and settings. The only pitfall is how long One Piece is, so if you have the time and the patience this summer, I highly recommend this anime.

Posted on June 12, 2012, in Anime and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. That’s the thing with long running shounen series: sometimes, with shows like Gintama, Bleach, One Piece, etc, they have so many episodes that most feel intimidated to try and jump in. It takes a lot of time for some, so it’s very compelling to just watch something shorter than try to catch up to something still running.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: