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One Piece
by Zoro on November 23rd, 2011, 5:44am

Rating - 9 / 10.0

User rating of this review - N/A out of 5
Story/Plot - 4.6 out of 5
Characters - 4.7 out of 5
Drawing Style - 4.1 out of 5
Enjoyment - 4.4 out of 5
Overall - 4.5 out of 5

Click here for series information

Plot/Story
Twenty years ago the death of the pirate king Gold Roger ignited the start of the pirate era. To this day, there have been many pirates chasing after the pirate king's famous treasure, One Piece. 17-year-old Monkey D. Luffy sets off on his own journey to find One Piece, because his goal is to become king of the pirates.

Devil Fruits are fruits that have been passed down to mankind with powers in exchange for the ability to swim. Luffy has eaten the Rubber fruit, making him a rubber-man and exceptionally strong. Luffy must gather a crew worthy enough to stand next to the pirate king, and set off to the Grand Line to find One Piece.

Already one foot into the story and we're twenty years behind. The author, Eiichiro Oda manages to side step this small detail by giving us hordes of brilliantly sequenced story-lines that were paced years before the beginning of Luffy's journey.

Oda takes on a monster of a premise in deciding the fate of Luffy and his gang. This story is a magnificent vessel set out to sea with no end in sight, but with such a daunting length can the author possibly continue to produce amazing stories and characters for almost 15 years and still be the top running shounen series in Jump magazine? It's always better to trust Eiichiro Oda than to question him.

I need to mention that this story almost always hints at discrimination as the bearings for most arcs, be it pirate or marine. But Eiichiro Oda nullifies qualities like these in every conflict until it only becomes a battle of belief versus belief. In some cases, the theme becomes too repetitive and arcs drag on unintentionally longer than they should, but more often then not, we enjoy the long and strung out arcs like Alabasta, as they have so much history and potential for stand-alone stories, but have coincidental conditions that make them easy for our characters too intrude and save the day. However, the story has a very original technique in having our characters partake in the history of every island they land on, spreading their status and reputation across the seas, increasing their bounty.

I'll give Oda some more applause with Luffy, because Luffy has some of the best transitions for story arcs ever. He'll harshly invite himself on to an island/ship by complete accident, and the supporting crew would always compensate for their captains incompetence. Such as the incident with the Buggy arc, Luffy is carried away by a gigantic bird on to the next island and suddenly into Buggy's hands. He does the same thing with Sanji's arc destroying part of the Baratie, introducing us to new potential characters on the wrong foot. My favourite might be when Luffy and Sanji land onto Nami's hometown with Arlong's pet Sea King, flying over trees in a ship. All these simple transitions stick their roots deep into the hearts of most story arcs, introducing us to an island's policy and setting, with different rules and under different management.

Eiichiro Oda has a hilarious sense in creating different stories for us. Anything he thinks is too farfetched he'll challenge. Oda guides and instructs us, telling us all the conditions beforehand. He'll think of the entirety of the world as settings for plots, the sky and ocean are not exceptions.

Our voyages on the ship through vast waves and unthinkable climate are anything but forgettable in the chapters of One Piece. We set out to sea with our fellow companions with no land in sight. We sing, we party, we train and fight enemies. It's the life of a pirate and though it may not be smooth sailing, it's fun and addictive.

Characters
Oda gives us his interpretation on the imaginary minds of pirates, most of them being typical bandits with cruel hearts and ugly faces, but then others with ambition and adventure passionately flowing through them.

Our Strawhat Pirates are young, with hearts willingly seeking adventure. They're strong and vigilant, it's impossible for others to overshadow them, except for a few VIPs.

Monkey D. Luffy is the most courageous, most sturdiest, and the most blunt. A captain that our crew can rely on in times of peril, he's the hero that has become the shounen cliche in our books. Luffy is a rubber-man, he looks up to his hero Shanks to whom he owes his life to, he admires pirates and tells Shanks that he'll one day band a crew that is even stronger than his and become king. Luffy accomplishes very little when starting off, taking his time recruiting members for our journey to the Grand Line, he is an excellent judge of character and takes interest in the most basic of things. At the same time, he has a heart of gold and goes to extreme lengths for his friends and his pride in being a pirate. He respects honor with his life, brandishing on top of his head for the world to see. His strawhat was given to him from Shanks and has since became his trademark.

The rest of Luffy's crew, Zoro, a master swordsman and a valuable asset to the Strawhat crew, being the first mate. Nami, the navigator, swindler and reluctant perception into piracy. Usopp, the lying, cheating nobleman that he is becomes one of the closest friends to Luffy than most of the crew, and also the Co-captain. Lastly, Sanji with his chivalrous prestige towards woman and combative technique in his skills as a cook and in a fight. All the characters Luffy eventually meets becomes immediate assets to Luffy's character, helping him grow and in turn helping the rest of his crew.

In terms of villains, Oda likes to keep them fairly obvious and sensibly over-powered. If Luffy has to lose a battle, he will, but it doesn't mean he's lost the fight.

All the characters become connected to Luffy through sheer conviction, and sometimes acceptance. Their hearts and histories are filled with sorrow and depressing tales of exile seclusion. It's hard to not love every character for their belief in friends, because after all they've been through friendship is the bond that everyone can come back to. Though their friendship is challenged in a few arcs, their relationships becomes deep and authentic.

Drawing Style
A few may shy away from the series because of the botchy sort of technique in art, but the art holds a deep and meaningful response to the series humour and can can be very sensitive in dire needs up production value.

The artwork improves with the later volumes of the series, and this goes for character design as well. Eiichiro Oda definitely likes to use the classic shounen impressionistic flavour to add to the character's value, such as the bubbly girls and the huge muscular opponents. But what else were we really looking for?

Enjoyment
The loveable characters and the bearably censored to the unbearably uncensored dialogue are all over the place in this series. If you want everything you can expect from this genre, here it is, all wrapped and ready for the taking. I assume there is a little of everything for everyone in One Piece, so even if you're a girl, you should still get a kick out of this.

Overall
How can I show my love for this series? I absolutely can't get enough of it. Read it once, read it twice? You'll never have enough, trust me. If I have one suggestion to the reader before starting this series, it's to pace yourself. Do not read it all in one go, savor it. It's an adventure that spans for who-knows-how-long. It's an incredible ride and what's more, it's only half way through.
 
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