One Piece Review & Characters - I’m gonna be King of the Pirates!


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I’m gonna be King of the Pirates!

  • Episodes : 692 and going
  • Genre : Shounen, Action, Adventure
  • Airing Date : October 20, 1999 – ongoing
  • Producers : Toei Animation, Funimation

One Piece Preview / Plot (No Spoilers)

When a young boy named Monkey D. Luffy is saved from bandits and a sea king by one of the most infamous pirates in the world, Red Hair Shanks, he makes a promise to become the greatest pirate in the world. The deal is cemented with Shanks handing off his signature straw hat to Luffy only asking for his return once he has become King of the Pirates.

Luffy sets sail to fulfill his dream at the ripe age of 18 and quickly accumulates a crew of misfits. Together, they sail across the most dangerous seas in search of the acclaimed treasure, One Piece, left behind by the former King of the Pirates, Gol D. Roger. No one quite knows where or what the One Piece is, but there wouldn’t be any adventure if it was easy!
Along the way, the Straw Hat Pirates encounter amazing islands, the questionable World Government and their army of Marines, and other pirates both good and bad. Pirates are more than their horrible stereotypes, and Luffy sets the world straight while running towards his own goal at full-speed.

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Who does One Piece cater to?

Shounen fans will love piece for its sense of adventure and creativity involving characters and story lines. Anyone who loved Naruto or Bleach will instantly fall in love with One Piece. While the series lacks romance, One Piece is still accessible to fans of all genres. Every character has a rich background giving fans of manga with deeper stories something to grasp onto.

What's so appealing about this piece of work.

Pirates! Need there be more? But, really, this series has it all including dinosaurs, robots, lasers, sky islands, long dogs, crossdressers, and especially rubber men. Eiichiro Oda is a master of the imagination and somehow the story still manages to make sense. After 15 years, Oda still surprises fans.

One Piece Opening 18 "Hard Knock Days" by GENERATIONS from Exile Tribe

One Piece Main Characters List

Monkey D. Luffy

one piece luffy

Voice Actor :Mayumi Tanaka

Born in the East Blue and grandson the famous Marine Monkey D. Garp, Luffy originally grew up in Foosha village on Dawn Island where he first met Red Haired Shanks. Fascinated by Shanks and his crew, Luffy decides he wants to become a pirate and begs Shanks to take him when they set sail. Shanks refuses profusely and Luffy is left disappointed. However, Luffy remains fiercely loyal and attempts to defend Shanks honor after being insulted by mountain bandits. Instead, Luffy is taken captive forcing Shanks to save him. In the end, Shanks thanks a crying Luffy for defending him. Shanks hands Luffy his hat and tells him to return it upon becoming King of the pirates.
Often clueless, Luffy has a kind heart and would gladly give the shirt off his back to whoever needed it. He loves adventures and often forces his crewmates to take the more dangerous paths despite their pleas. Once he makes up his mind, he will not change it. Luffy also has a magnetism that draws people to him and so he has an easy time gaining allies and followers. As loyal as Luffy can be, he is not someone to make an enemy of. Once Luffy decides to defeat someone, nothing can stand in his way.

Roronoa Zoro

one piece zoro

Voice Actor :Kazuya Nakai

When Zoro was young, he trained in a dojo diligently with his master’s daughter who had great talent. After frequently duels between the two, Zoro begins to become upset having never won. They agree to both chase the dream of becoming the best swordsman in the world, but the next day she dies in a terrible accident down the stairs. Zoro then decides to become the greatest swordsman in the world not just for himself, but also for her.
Zoro’s signature style is known as Three Sword Style or Santoryu where he holds a blade in each hand and one in his mouth and he is one (if not the only) swordsman with this style. Because of this, Zoro is quite confident in his abilities and can often be found arguing with Sanji over battles. Despite being quite strong though, Zoro is not the best thinker as he easily becomes lost and separated from the crew.

Nami

one piece nami

Voice Actor : Akemi Okamura

Originally an orphan rescued with her adopted sister Nojiko by Belle-mere, Nami joined the Arlong Pirates as their navigator when she was child in an attempt to save her island from Arlong. Once Luffy discovers Nami’s past, justice is swiftly given to Arlong and his crew.
Nami is an excellent navigator and cartographer, keeping the ship safe despite Luffy’s choices of paths. Her ultimate goal is to create a map of the entire world which makes traveling with the Straw Hat's quite useful. While she isn’t really a fighter, she is able to defend herself if need be with her Clima Tact that controls the weather. Nami also keeps the crew grounded with finances and is most often the voice of reason.

Usopp

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Voice Actor :Kappei Yamaguchi

A habitual liar, Usopp could be the poster boy for The Boy Who Cried Wolf. So desperate for adventure is he that he ends up creating elaborate stories about his non-existent adventures. He uses his stories to entertain his mother who fell ill shortly after his father, Yasopp left to join Shanks’ crew. He tells his mother just before she passed that his father is coming to pick them both up and in his grief continued to tell lies.
Usopp, along with Nami and Chopper, tend to air on the side of caution and are also referred to as the “weak” trio. The only thing that could possibly change Usopp’s mind is a compliment such as, “Well we don’t have to worry because Usopp is here!” causing Usopp to perk up and answer the call. Although he may be the first to run from a fight, Usopp has always pulled through for the team in the darkest of hours.

Sanji

one piece sanji

Voice Actor :Hiroaki Hirata

The first crew member born in the North Blue, Sanji served as a sous chef aboard the ship Baratie and learned to fight with his legs so as not to ruin his hands for cooking. Before his life on the Baratie, Sanji served as a chef for another pirate crew before being attacked by Zeff and his own crew. A freak storm arrived during the battle causing both ships to collapse just after Sanji revealed to Zeff his desire to see the All Blue, a legendary sea where all the fish from every sea meet. Zeff saved Sanji and founded the Baratie, a restaurant ship.
A powerful fighter, Sanji is one of the crew’s powerhouses along with Zoro and Luffy. Sanji can usually be found in the kitchen preparing lavish meals for Nami and Robin while also serving out Luffy’s usual rations of meat. Despite his fierce fighting skills, Sanji’s main weakness is women. There is nothing Sanji loves more than to fawn over beautiful women and many times this has led him into obvious life threatening traps.


Contains Spoilers

One Piece Review

On the surface, One Piece looks like every other well-known shounen anime on the market, but the series success is not a fluke. Adventures and amazing characters take center stage on a level unprecedented in the genre. The lengths Oda goes to in order to develop even side characters is much appreciated and keeps fans coming back or more. Perhaps this is the reason One Piece tops the ratings charts in Japan consistently. One Piece has a relatable character for everyone out there keeping it relevant to its audience.

The anime explores many adult topics despite its intended audience and fans become quite attached to characters. Censorship, death, corruption, and racism all raise their ugly heads throughout the series and emotions run high amongst the characters with each new challenge they face. Ace’s death is a perfect example of the very real and gritty experience of grief and desperation. Luffy is in such shock, he almost relinquishes his dream claiming he could never become the Pirate King if he couldn’t even save his brother. Oda reveals that Luffy is a real person and not someone who is constantly optimistic and happy go lucky. Luffy can be raw.

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Luffy isn’t alone in his suffering either. Almost all members of the Strawhat crew have experiences some form of trauma leading them to cross paths with the rubber man willing to go through hell to solve their problems. Nico Robin’s story is probably one of the most memorable considering Oda centered an entire arc around her and the government’s secrets. While the topic isn’t explicitly mentioned, Robin’s story is that of suicide and how meaningful relationships can make a difference in someone’s life. For a supposed children’s anime, this is pretty heavy.
Side characters are also fleshed out and oftentimes return later in the story line. Nothing in the world of One Piece is insignificant. In fact, one of Arlong’s crew from earlier in the series, Hachi, is introduced as an enemy, but resurfaces during Sabaody as an ally and friend of the Straw Hat's. His backstory is even further fleshed out when the Straw Hat's finally visit Fishman Island after the Time Skip and it is revealed that he is an original crew member of the Sun Pirates who were once slaves.

The current Dressrosa arc is a culmination of several characters and side-stories that have been mentioned casually throughout the series and there is a prime example of Oda’s ability to give every character the attention they deserve. Doflamingo was introduced early in the series and has made appearances several times including just before Skypiea and during the Battle of Marineford. Trafalgar Law appeared briefly during Sabaody and briefly saved Luffy during the Battle of Marineford and now there is an entire arc focused on the tragic past between these two characters no one suspected were harboring such hostility.

Strength is not naturally given in One Piece, which is a rarity in most shounen. Zoro trained in a dojo as a child, Sanji learned the art of kicking during his time as a chef, Franky trained under one of the most famous engineers in the world, Nico Robin studied in her library every day, Chopper trained under a world renowned doctor, Nami studied maps, and Luffy was raised partially by his crazy grandfather, so he trained from a very early age to fight enemies and survive. There are still moments of realization when more training must be aquired and Luffy learned this the hard way at the Battle of Marineford. After Ace’s death, he trains for more two years with Slivers Rayleigh on the art of Haki. Luffy is not alone in this endeavor and his entire crew train for two years during the time skip, each working hard to match Luffy in their respectable skills.

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Oda’s other strongpoints include the ability to bring in influences from outside sources into most of his characters. In an interview, Oda revealed that Sanji was taken from Reservoir Dogs and the three main admirals of the Marines are based on three of Japan’s most famous actors. In addition, Oda even pulled ideas from Rocky Horror Picture Show and ended up with Kama Land in Impel Down run by an ex-revolutionary Emporio Ivankov who bears a striking resemblance to Dr. Frank N Furter.

The only drawback of the series are the ridiculous proportion sizes of the female characters and their lack of real fights involving enemies. Nami and Robin’s chests in particular continue to grow larger with each episode and after a while boob jokes can become repetitive and unfunny. Particularly with Robin since she is older and can come across as more mature, her big breasts are a distraction from her character. Robin is also built up to be a dangerous woman from the moment she is introduced into the series, so her lack of one on one fights is quite perplexing since her devil fruit in particular is quite powerful.

Despite this small drawback, One Piece is a well-balanced anime people of all ages can enjoy.

1. Devil Fruits

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While not much is known about Devil Fruits, they can be either a curse or a blessing depending on their abilities. Users also lose the ability to swim and become weak upon contact with sea water or Kairoseki, a mysterious substance known to have similar traits as the sea. There are three basic types of fruits known as Zoan, Logia, and Paramecia. Zoans give their owners powers related to existing animals and in most cases give the user shapeshifting abilities. Paramecia users obtain superhuman abilities allowing their users to act almost as super heroes. Logia types are considered the strongest of the group and obtain the ability to physically change their bodies into an element.

2. Haki

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Haki has become an essential part of the One Piece world now that the crew has entered the New World, but in reality it’s been around since the beginning of the series. Haki is essentially spiritual energy that everyone possesses and has the potential to awaken and train. Like Devil Fruits, there are three types of Haki: Kenbunshoku which allows users to sense the movements of those around them, Busoshoku which allows users to conjure up armor as hard as steel, and Haoshoku which allows users to overwhelm people with weak wills. The first two are quite common, but Haoshoku Haki is quite rare and cannot be obtained through training.

3. World Government

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Formed after the void century 800 years ago, the World Government began when royalty from roughly 170 countries left their kingdoms to obtain the title of World Noble. Ruled over by the Gorosei, the founding members of the World Nobles believe in absolute justice and formed what is currently the Marines, their main military power. Since then, the World Government has managed to grow in power and even managed to convince 7 of the most powerful pirates in the world, known as the Shichibukai, to do their dirty work in exchange for immunity. The World Government is also extremely secretive and forbids research in regards to the void century, perhaps knowing that the information lost could lead to their demise.


To dismiss One Piece as a mere shounen anime would be a mistake. One Piece not only delivers action, adventure, and super powers, but also sends viewers on a journey into human nature. The characters, while sometimes absurd on the surface, are real and experience hardship, grief, and sorrow just as most human do. The struggles are real and the story progresses only when the characters do. Viewers hearts will pound during fights and cry during drama. There is certainly something for everyone in this powerful series.

Nikki Flores

Writer

Author: Nikki Flores

You may know me by my witty and excellent prose, but I assure you there is a real person underneath this brilliant exterior. As a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in English Literature and a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, I traveled to Okinawa, Japan in search of the One Piece. Together my crew consisting of a white dog named Yuki, an evil cat named Kyubei, the wise feline Pickles, and my ever supportive husband Aaron, we travel the globe seeking life’s greatest treasures. Oh, and I’m sure one day I’ll eventually meet Trafalgar Law in the New World. I hope. Please? *pout*

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