Today’s review is something that’s both a classic from a while ago and currently airing: One Piece. It’s a title that I didn’t really pay much attention to when it was just starting, and by the time I decided I was interested in it, it had an episode count that was a bit daunting. But recently, the group that I regularly get together with to watch anime with has started watching it, so that’s finally given me the kick in the arse to get started on it.
And I love it. The first thing that should be said about One Piece is that it’s utterly ridiculous. Everything about it, top to bottom, completely ridiculous. The setting, the character designs, the fights, the special powers, everything. Any time it even looks like things might get serious, it ramps up the ridiculous. And it’s brilliant. You see, at the heart of all this ridiculous is some really solid storytelling. The characters, while all utterly ridiculous in their own ways, are not just randomly strange: there’s clearly a lot of thought and effort gone into fleshing them out well.
I’ve basically just scratched the surface at this point; I’ve now seen 25 out of (as at this posting) 578 in existence. I’ve seen some of what’s in store for me somewhere in the hundreds; one of my customers at work is a big fan of it and occasionally mentions some of the more odd stuff that happens, and has shown me a few episodes. I honestly look forward to spending years and years watching it. It’s going to be a blast.
Now I’ve already gone on a bit talking about it where by now I would have described the show in a bit of detail by now. I was actually debating whether or not to do so, since it’s been around long enough and is popular enough that the basics are more or less common knowledge among the anime fandom, but nothing is actually universally known, so I’ll at least give a brief rundown.
It’s about pirates in sailing ships. The most legendary pirate of the previous generation, Gold Roger, said just before his execution that his greatest treasure, the titular One Piece, is out there for the taking. So lots of people took up piracy and went in search of it, and to become the king of pirates. One such person is Monkey D. Luffy, who ate the Devil’s Fruit and gained a rubber-like body. His companions include a tremendous liar, a womanising cook, the most mercenary navigator imaginable, a guy who fights using three swords at once, a reindeer-like thing (as the medic), a perverted cyborg, a skeleton, and more.
Many people are put off from the show by the art style, which is admittedly something of an acquired taste, but it really is a brilliant show. Recommended for anyone who wants a shounen action adventure show that’s more than just a series of fight scenes strung together.