One Piece: Why I'm More Excited Than Ever About The Anime Series

one piece live-action manga netflix
(Image credit: Toei Animation)

How long have you been a One Piece fan? Spanning 25 years, over 1000 anime episodes, and 1000 manga chapters, jumping onboard for fans can be an epic tale of its own. And after building toward these momentous numbers and series milestones for so long, author Eiichiro Oda announced that he'd take a break before returning to begin the final saga of One Piece

Although he said he’s aiming to complete the manga in 3 years, given Oda’s track record of not ending arcs when he said he would, that timespan may end up being longer. Nonetheless, with the horizon in view, at last, now is a great time to be a fan, especially given what’s happening in the manga currently. Knowing what’s to come and where we are headed, I’m more excited than ever about the anime series and its upcoming adaptations.

One Piece Episode 1015

(Image credit: Toei Animation)

One Piece’s Twist On The Shonen Protagonist Comes Into Focus 

Since we first saw our lanky protagonist burst through a barrel, Oda has set the tone for a different take on the Shonen hero. New series like My Hero Academia, One Punch Man, and Attack on Titan have their own spin on the old archetype, but One Piece’s take has a distinctive difference. Shonen tropes are usually portrayed as formulaic, albeit badass. Oda has instead opted to make most of these tropes funny in nature. Luffy is a rubberman with Rubber-like combat abilities, and the series itself has always been silly. However, given newfound revelations about Luffy’s powers in recent manga chapters, we now know Oda has more to say about Shonen’s biggest tropes: transformations and final battles.

Since the dawn of the Super Saiyan, transformations have become a staple for protagonists in the Shonen genre. Besides existing to elevate fights or maybe to sell different merchandise of the same character, they exist to be badass. However, Oda and our goofy, rubbery hero are a couple of sillies who prefer to laugh rather than be cool and stoic. It's no wonder the myth surrounding a historical figure named Joy Boy has become so prominent in the series. Luffy’s ability is tied to Joy Boy, liberation, and jovialness after his transformation. All the joyful smiles and comradery we’ve seen displayed from Luffy (and that we’ve felt consuming the story thus far) have been due to Luffy and his powers the whole time. It’s such a stark, fourth-wall-breaking contrast to the usual Shonen transformation while harkening back to Oda’s original take on the genre. And when it is animated, it will set a new standard for the trope for a future mangaka.

Zoro from one piece episode 1017

(Image credit: Toei Animation)

One Piece Is Looking The Best It Ever Has

Toei Animation is assigning some of the best directors and animators from past episodes and movies to cover the best fights from this arc. Lovingly referred to by the fans as “Roof Piece,” this stretch of action sees Luffy, Zoro, Kid, Killer, and Law team up against Kaido and Big Mom on the roof of Onigashima. We’ve seen animators like Ryota Nakamura (known for his film work on One Piece: Stampede), and Kazuya Hisada (another One Piece film animator) alongside renowned directors such as Yasunori Koyama (Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F) and Tatsuya Nagamine (One Piece Film Gold) come together to produce some of the best moments thus far. It’s entirely possible we’ll see them again for the arc's most hype moments in the future, including Luffy’s upcoming transformation. 

Sure, not everyone agrees with Toei's added aura flair and aerial clashes in this battle section, but the animation and direction are flawless. One Piece is the best-selling manga of all time, according to Crunchyroll, and the series has been long overdue to receive this much tender love and care from the animation department, and I’m glad the day has finally come.

Shanks from One Piece Film Red

(Image credit: Toei Animation)

Shanks’ Long-Awaited Backstory Finally Revealed?

Shanks is an enigma we met at the start of the series with high standings in the pirate world. He’s also the man who set Luffy on his path to becoming a pirate. Since then, we’ve learned Shanks is a Yonko, has one of the highest bounties in the series, is hinted at having some incredible Haki, and was an apprentice on Pirate King Gol D. Roger’s ship as a child. Decades later, we are about to see him for the longest stretch of time yet. Previously only appearing to clash with people, say something clandestine, or stop a war, Shanks is finally becoming an active part of the plot. 

Not only is he due to make his appearance in the anime, but Shanks is also the central figure in the One Piece Film Red anime in theaters. In the movie, we learn Shanks has a daughter named Uta who fancies herself an idol with the ability to sing people into harmony. It would seem a concurrent theme from Oda, between her ability and Luffy’s newfound power. What does Shanks have to do with these two and bringing people together? What’s his ambition? 

Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirate in One Piece episode 1000

(Image credit: Toei Animation)

Fan Speculation Is At An All-Time High

If you choose to indulge, speculating alongside the One Piece fan community can be fun and rewarding if your theories turn out to be true. For weekly manga readers and anime-onlys alike, partaking in civil anime fandom discussions in anticipation of the next event is exhilarating. There are countless fans in One Piece manga chapter release subreddits every week waiting for the next chapter, same for its anime subreddit counterpart. Every week, there are anime reactors on YouTube when a new episode spectacularly adapts the series. Even manga folk wait with bated breath together, anticipating how their favorite panels translate to animation. Every week I look forward to new speculation videos from my favorite folks in the space like Tekking101, King of Lightning, King Recon, Rogers Base, AnimeUproar, and Ohara. Even watching newcomers react to earlier episodes like Heisuten is fun because you get to rewatch the show alongside new eyes, and the knowledge of newfound information enhances the rewatch. 

One Piece is currently available to stream on Crunchyroll. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates and opinions on your favorite shows.

Features Writer