One Piece is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Eiichiro Oda and serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump since July 19, 1997. As of September 2016, it has been collected into 82 tankobon volumes, and as of August 2016, 380 million copies of the manga have been printed worldwide making it the best-selling manga series in history.
The manga has been adapted into several original video animations (OVAs), 13 animated feature films, five television specials, a trading card game, numerous video games, light novels, merchandise of all kinds, and of course, an anime series. Both the manga and anime are currently ongoing and officially available in both Japanese and English. The series is prized for both its art and action-adventure story that has plenty of fantasy and humour as well as unique settings and rich characters.
[ STORY ]
Protagonist Monkey D. Luffy always wanted to become The King of Pirates. However, he had an unfortunate accident that gave him the valuable ability to stretch like rubber, but also made him never able to swim again! Not letting this deter him, he set off years later in search of the greatest treasure in the world: the One Piece. Together with his swashbuckling crew, he takes on the challenges of the open sea in action-packed adventures that leave fans laughing, sometimes crying, and at the edge of their seat.
[ WORLD OF ONE PIECE ]
The setting of One Piece is simply referred to as the “world.” It has six moons, it’s been suggested to be millions of years old, and has a long history. The world is home to the Marines; pirates; a World Government; Oka Shichibukai which are seven powerful pirates who have allied with the World Government and are referred to as “government dogs” by other pirates; Yonko which are the four most powerful pirates in the world; and the Revolutionary Army, led by “Dragon the Revolutionary” Monkey D. Dragon, that fight to overthrow the World Government. It also has numerous unique cultures, tribes, non-human intelligent beings, technologies, locations, races, and animal species.
There is a universal spoken and written language as well as an ancient language only the scholars of the island Ohara could decipher. The World Government include 20 kingdoms and polices the seas with Marines. The world’s currency is called Belly. The currency symbol is a Latin esh letter ( ʃ ) that strikes through the middle of a capital B.
Four seas called the North Blue, South Blue, East Blue, and West Blue as well as one large continent called the Red Line and a strong sea current called the Grand Line make up the world. Sailing from one Blue to another is difficult because The Red Line and the Grand Line separate each Blue from the others. Other locations include the rumoured All Blue sea also known as the Great Blue that chefs dream of visiting due to the rumour of it having all the fishes of all four Blues, the Calm Belt sea which are strips of ocean on either side of the Grand Line and where huge sea monsters called Sea Kings live, the Sky Ocean that is entirely made of Sea and Island clouds, and the unique islands scattered along the Grand Line.
The legendary treasure called the One Piece is said to be located somewhere in the Grand Line. Due to the Grand Line’s dangerous currents and erratic weather it often referred to as the Pirates’ Graveyard. It is made up of two halves: Paradise and the New World. Unusual cultures and species that have adapted to their climates inhabit the islands scattered along the Grand Line.
☠ DEVIL FRUIT
Devil Fruit are pivotal to the One Piece story as four crew members of the Straw Hat Pirates are Devil Fruit users meaning that they have eaten a Devil Fruit and gained a powerful ability and disadvantage.
There are over 100 types of Devil Fruit that fall within three categories (Paramecia is the most common and grants superhuman powers, Zoan grants the ability to transform into animals or human-animal hybrids, and Logia which is the rarest and grants the ability to transform into an element, liquid, gas, plasma, or abstract concept such as darkness) but all are extremely rare and mysterious sometimes selling for ridiculous amounts of Belly.
Although a Devil Fruit Encyclopedia which lacks numerous illustrations exists, what is know about Devil Fruit is mostly rumour and common folk know little about them. They’re believed to be fruits of the Sea Devil. While they do often grant the user a incredibly powerful and special ability, they also make the user helplessly weak in water and unable to use their powers while submerged. Devil Fruit users are also susceptible to Seastone which can considerably drain their power. Unfortunately, some Devil Fruits grant strange powers of little use that only bring trouble for the users for the rest of their life. Eating Devil Fruit is truly risky.
[ STRAW HAT PIRATES ]
Monkey D. Luffy also known as Luffy, Straw Hat Luffy, and Straw Hat is the protagonist of One Piece and captain of the Straw Hat Pirates. His dream is to one day have the most freedom in the world by becoming the Pirate King. Together with his crew, he searches for the legendary treasure called the One Piece that was left behind by the late Pirate King Gol D. Roger.
When he was a child he accidently ate a Paramecia-type Devil Fruit called a Gomu Gomu no Mi or Gum-Gum Fruit which turned him into a Rubber Human while also making him unable to swim. As a Rubber Human he can stretch and twist his body like elastic and suffers almost no damage from blunt attacks including even enormous blows from cannonballs. Luffy uses this unique ability in a variety of ways during combats to wield serious damage to his opponent, protect himself against electric enemies, and save himself from long falls.
Luffy also has additional abilities such as immense physical strength, tremendous speed, agility, and reflexes as well as a fierce willpower and fearlessness that enables him to live through damage that would have killed a normal person. His fighting know-how and strength are thanks to the unusual training he received from his grandfather. However, Luffy never kills an opponent as he sees forcing them to live with their failure as a greater punishment than death.
Luffy is like a simple-minded child who loves adventure and is only intelligent about fighting, but doesn’t go looking for fights. Regardless of his general lack of intelligence, his selflessness, humbleness, and loyalty makes a fine leader as also does his ability to make allies with nearly anyone. He’s also known to have an enormous appetite.
☠ CREW, SHIPS & ALLIES
The Straw Hat Pirates are unlike other pirates in that they are kindhearted, only fight in self-defense or in vengeance for their friends, and are more like a happy family always committed to one another than a pirate crew. Nevertheless, they are considered dangerous and wanted by the World Government and those unfamiliar to them so each member has a large bounty and epithet (written below in quotes).
Each member joined the Straw Hat Pirates out of their own will with a specific dream they hope to achieve, but all needing to sail along to Grand Line to achieve it and willing to let their dream go if it means acting against or not helping their fellow crew in a time of need.
Currently nine members make up the considerably strange, but powerful Straw Hat Pirates crew that each have several capabilities:
・Monkey D. Luffy: Captain
・Roronoa Zoro: Swordsman | former bounty hunter | “Pirate Hunter”
・Nami: Navigator | thieving expert | “Cat Burglar”
・Usopp: Sniper | compulsive liar | “God Usopp”
・Sanji: Chef | fugitive prince from a family of royal assassins | “Black Leg Sanji”
・Tony Tony Chopper: Doctor | shape-shifting reindeer | “Cotton Candy Lover Chopper”
・Franky: Shipwright | cyborg | “Iron Man Frank”
・Brook: Musician | undead skeleton | “Soul King Brook”
・Nico Robin: Archaeologist | previously worked for a criminal organization formerly run by a Shichibukai | “Devil Child Nico Robin”
Their flag depicts the Jolly Roger, a cartooish skull and crossbones wearing Luffy’s straw hat. Their current ship is the Thousand Sunny, but they did sail the Going Merry throughout the earlier part of the series. Their allies are the Heart Pirates, Kozuki Family, and Mink Tribe. Together the crew has managed to overcome incredible feats considered “nothing but sheer miracles” by Trafalgar Law.
One Piece might seem daunting to start reading or watching due to its incredible amount of volumes and episodes, but for most it is definitely worth taking the time to enjoy from the very beginning of the adventure. We say, don’t be afraid! Set sail with Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates!