One Piece

One Piece, internationally recognized under the original title (ワンピース, Wan Pīsu), is a manga masterpiece created by Eiichirō Oda. Since July 22, 1997, this phenomenal series has been introduced to the public in the renowned magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump. Currently, as of July 2023, it proudly boasts 106 volumes in Japan. As for French fans, they can enjoy the French edition launched by Glénat on September 1, 2000, with 104 volumes available as of April 2023. It’s worth noting that since September 26, 2021, simultaneous publication of the French and Japanese versions has been established on Manga Plus and Glénat Manga Max.

The epic tale follows Monkey D. Luffy, a fearless young man who, by accident, consumes a devil fruit and gains a physique similar to rubber. Along with his pirate crew, aptly named the Straw Hat Crew, Luffy sets out on an odyssey across the Grand Line in search of the legendary treasure: One Piece. His ultimate aspiration is to claim the title of Pirate King.

Toei Animation, a renowned company, holds the rights to this unparalleled series. They have successfully transformed this manga into a thrilling anime, airing every Sunday in Japan since 1999. Until November 2021, the anime has captivated viewers with more than 1,000 episodes. In French-speaking territories, Kana Home Video proudly holds the rights. Fans can watch this series on Anime Digital Network, Crunchyroll, and Prime Video. Moreover, channels J-One, Game One, and MCM have also included it in their programming. Beyond these achievements, One Piece has inspired fifteen animated films, numerous special episodes, OAVs, four captivating novels, a plethora of over fifty video games, and, hold on tight, a live-action series planned for August 2023.

In terms of success, One Piece holds the enviable title of the most popular manga worldwide, setting a sales record for a series created by a single author. In August 2022, it was reported that the total number of copies sold amounted to an impressive 516.5 million, with 416.5 million in Japan and 100 million internationally (distributed across 60 countries). In France, this series has topped the charts since 2011, with an astronomical sale of over 28.2 million copies since its launch.

One Piece Plot

Set in a fictional universe where vast oceans rule supreme, One Piece takes us on a journey through a mythical era often described as “the golden age of piracy.” This fascinating period was ushered in by the last words of the infamous Pirate King, Gol D. Roger, often referred to as Gold Roger, just before his execution. He openly declared that all the wealth he had amassed throughout his life was available to anyone who found it. Thus was born the legend of One Piece.

However, more than two decades after Roger’s death, the excitement around the One Piece treasure seems to be waning. For many, the very existence of this treasure is doubted. Although pirates continue to sow discord, the Marine has become increasingly effective in maintaining peace in the four known seas: East Blue, North Blue, West Blue, and South Blue. Despite this, a young and daring adventurer, Monkey D. Luffy, is determined to follow in the great Roger’s footsteps. He dreams of assembling a strong crew to sail on the Grand Line sea. The frenzied quest for One Piece continues, with a rumored treasure hidden on the mysterious island of Laugh Tale, a spelling specifically chosen by Oda.

Luffy embarked on this exciting quest after crossing paths with Shanks the Red-Haired, a charismatic pirate captain. Shanks not only saved Luffy from a terrifying sea creature at the cost of his left arm, but he also bequeathed his precious straw hat. This hat would later become emblematic of Luffy’s crew. It was also during this time that Luffy consumed the Gum-Gum Fruit, a type of Devil Fruit, which made his body remarkably elastic. While these fruits bestow exceptional powers upon those who consume them, they also curse their consumers by making them vulnerable in saltwater. Throughout their adventures, Luffy and his team will face formidable pirates and will also have to confront the Marine, a symbol of justice in this tumultuous world.

One Piece Characters

In the unique and vast world of One Piece, an incredible variety of characters come to life. The author pays meticulous attention to every detail – be it their appearance, personal history, or character, even for supporting roles. These characters are classified into several distinct factions.

At the forefront, we have the pirates, who sail every corner of this universe. They vary in power, some commanding just a handful of individuals while others lead entire armadas. They are continuously hunted for their bounties, which directly reflect their threat to the Marines and the World Government. Then, there is the Marine itself, a well-structured and hierarchized entity, under the leadership of admirals. Its main concern is to preserve peace, protect citizens, and of course, put pirates behind bars. However, the dynamics between these two entities are complex and cannot be simply categorized in terms of good and evil. Aside from these two groups, there are also bounty hunters, who track down pirates in hopes of collecting the rewards offered by the Marines.

The narrative thread focuses primarily on the Straw Hat crew, under the leadership of its young captain, Monkey D. Luffy. Following the accidental consumption of the Gum Gum fruit during his childhood, Luffy can stretch his body at will. His ultimate ambition? To crown himself Pirate King. By his side, we discover the talented swordsman Roronoa Zoro, with an ambition to become the greatest swordmaster, Usopp, the sharpshooter dreaming of bravery, Sanji, the passionate chef in search of the mysterious All Blue, the brilliant navigator Nami, Tony-Tony Chopper, the reindeer endowed with human abilities, Nico Robin, the enlightened historian with astonishing powers, the ingenious cyborg Franky, Brook, the skeletal musician thanks to his resurrection fruit, and Jinbe, the helmsman who was once a member of the prestigious Seven Warlords of the Sea.

It is important to mention that, in accordance with Japanese tradition, many character names are presented with the family name first, such as Monkey D. Luffy or Nico Robin, to name just a few.

History and Geopolitics of One Piece

In the universe of One Piece, it’s not just the unpredictable maritime geography that makes the waters dangerous, but more specifically its influential inhabitants. Three main factions hold sway over these waters: first, the World Government, supported by its powerful branch, the Marines. Next, there are the Four Emperors of the New World, also known as the Yonko in Japanese. Among these imposing figures are names such as Blackbeard, Red-Haired Shanks, Kaido, and Big Mom. Whitebeard, once an emblematic member of this group, is now a thing of the past. Lastly, the Seven Warlords of the Sea, or Shichibukai, were influential pirates who struck an immunity deal with the Marines. However, the recent dissolution of this order has created a disruption in the balance of the Three Great Powers.

These major entities have divided control of the Grand Line: the first half being controlled by the Marines and the Warlords, while the second, referred to as the New World or Shin Sekai, is under the aegis of the Four Emperors. Noteworthy is also the rebellion orchestrated by Dragon against the World Government, the details of which still remain shrouded in mystery.

Objects of One Piece

In the epic of One Piece, a multitude of singular objects contribute to its uniqueness. For example, there is the Den Den Mushi, a variant of a snail equipped for communication, or its cousin, the Transponder Snail, which integrates a camera. The story also highlights the Sea Trains originating from Water Seven, innovative machines designed to glide on water. Indeed, the genius behind these trains met a tragic fate for working on the ship of the renowned Pirate King. In addition to the majestic ships of the crews, there are also smaller boats, as well as the soap bubble bikes unique to the Sabaody Archipelago.

Among the distinctive artifacts, the Poneglyphs and the mysteries they hold occupy a crucial place in the saga. Moreover, One Piece is full of a surprisingly diverse and often eccentric fauna and flora. The Dial, a shell-like object, is another notable element of the adventure, with Usopp cherishing it to design a powerful weapon for Nami. This artifact, the Perfect Clima-Tact, is an evolution of the Clima-Tact with three Dials integrated. The Dials come in different types, some storing and returning the force of impacts, while others facilitate communication, as illustrated in the Strong World movie.

Finally, the Log Pose, essential for any sea navigation, serves as a compass. Its uniqueness lies in its ability to record the magnetic fields from one island to another. In the New World, where many islands have unstable magnetic fields, a Log Pose with three needles is indispensable. These agitated needles inform navigators about the danger level of an island: increased oscillation equates to higher risk.

Origin and Writing of One Piece

In the beginning, while working under the aegis of Nobuhiro Watsuki, Eiichiro Oda sketched the first drafts of One Piece in 1996. From this preliminary work emerged two one-shots called Romance Dawn, which would eventually give birth to the first chapter and the first volume of the manga. These initial works introduce Luffy and several concepts that would later be integrated into the main series. One of these stories appeared in August 1996 in a special edition of Weekly Shōnen Jump (also included in the One Piece Red volume) and the other later that year in the 41st issue of Shonen Jump (later reprinted in Eiichirō Oda’s Wanted! compilation).

Initially, Oda had envisioned a series spanning over five years. Although he already had the desired conclusion in mind, One Piece surpasses his expectations in terms of length. However, Oda stated in 2010 that the end would remain true to his original vision, regardless of the time needed to realize it. At one point, he mentioned that the manga was only halfway through and that it could extend for an additional decade. The planned timeline suggests a series of more than 100 volumes, but that remains subject to change. The narrative of One Piece is structured into “sagas”, which are themselves segmented into “arcs”.

A fundamental element of this manga concerns the Devil Fruits. When creating a new fruit, Oda focuses on how it could fulfill a human wish. He also highlights his reluctance to illustrate these fruits unless they have a narrative importance. For attacks, the names are often puns based on versatile kanji. Attacks from characters like Luffy, Nami, Sanji, Chopper, Robin, and Franky also incorporate foreign words, and Zoro’s are tinged with humor. However, the anime, directed by Eisaku Inoue, does not always incorporate these linguistic subtleties, even though the director insists on the adaptation’s fidelity to the manga. Oda, regarding international translations, is particularly rigorous, even submitting precise guidelines for onomatopoeias.

One Piece Anime

The One Piece saga made its debut in Japan on July 22, 1997, with its first appearance in issue 34 of the renowned magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump, under the editorial banner of Shūeisha. By December 1997, the first tankōbon appeared, and by July 2023, the collection has expanded with a 106th volume. In January 2021, the 1000th chapter was unveiled to the public in the same magazine, followed by the release of the 100th volume in September 2021. The cover illustrations are often adorned with a vignette signed by Oda, revealing facets of one or more manga characters. Dubbed The Adventures of Buggy’s Crew, a sub-series was launched between 1998 and 1999, and by 2022, it comprises 25 volumes.

Starting June 15, 2012, an innovation was introduced by Shueisha with the publication of colored versions of One Piece, exclusively in digital format, accessible through the Jump Store.

The Francophone market welcomed One Piece thanks to Glénat, starting in September 2000. By the end of 2022, 103 volumes have been translated and published. Glénat extends its influence to other Francophone territories such as Belgium, Switzerland, and Quebec. A major transition occurred with the 16th volume, marking the shift towards the original Japanese reading direction. This decision stemmed from a disagreement between Shūeisha and Eiichirō Oda. Subsequently, a revision of translations took place, after a controversy with translator Sylvain Chollet. The translation was realigned to better reflect the original version. The new edition, identifiable by the yellow volume numbers, replaces the old one, which had stopped at the 66th volume. Following a wave of criticism in 2019 concerning some translations of volume 89, Glénat adjusted its strategy to better adhere to the original. The French version of the manga is now pre-published simultaneously with the Japanese version on Manga Plus and Glénat’s platform, Glénat Manga Max. In December 2021, the 100th volume was released on the market.

One Piece is not just a Japanese sensation. Its international reach is undeniable, touching many countries. In the Nordic countries, it is overseen by Schibsted in Norway, Bonnier Carlsen in Sweden, and Sangatsu Manga in Finland. Other countries, such as Denmark and Germany, are under the auspices of Carlsen Comics. In Spain, Planeta DeAgostini Comics takes the reins, while in Italy, Star Comics is responsible for publication. English-speaking countries also have their share of the pie with Gollancz Manga for the UK, and VIZ Media for the US and Canada.

2020, a year marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, saw an adaptation of the publication schedule in Weekly Shonen Jump, due to the health measures taken by Eiichiro Oda and the editorial team. Once the health emergency was lifted in Japan, things returned to normal. However, a break was observed in 2022, from June 27 to July 25, to allow Oda to properly prepare for the 25th anniversary of One Piece and refine the final chapters of this epic.

Differences with the One Piece manga

The animated adaptation of One Piece by Toei has generally adhered to the narrative of the original manga, but there are some notable differences between the two versions. A striking difference involves Red-Leg Zeff. In the televised version, to free himself from the remains of a sinking ship, Zeff uses a chain to detach his leg while submerged. In contrast, in the manga, he takes the drastic decision to consume his own leg to stay alive. Another discrepancy concerns a confrontation between Akainu and Whitebeard. In the manga, Akainu’s devastating Black Dog attack strikes Whitebeard’s face, literally removing part of it. However, in the animated adaptation, the narrative is toned down: Akainu propels several lava attacks towards Whitebeard, who narrowly dodges the final assault, losing only a segment of his mustache. Only after this does Akainu use his Black Dog, but this time, he targets Whitebeard’s abdomen. It is likely that these changes were introduced to soften the violence for a younger audience. For those who wish to explore these nuances further, consulting the detailed comparisons between the manga and anime can be enlightening.

The animated adaptation of One Piece has undergone numerous censorships to meet television broadcasting criteria. In particular, the American version has been released in two interpretations: a FUNimation edition and a 4Kids edition. The latter has undergone major modifications, including replacing firearms with toy guns, changing cigarettes to lollipops, and even altering the skin tones of certain characters. It is widely accepted that the 4Kids channel has negatively altered several Japanese animes, including One Piece. After 104 episodes, the continuation of the adaptation by 4Kids was halted. In Europe, specifically in Germany, the anime was initially broadcast uncensored on RTL2, before interventions were gradually introduced.

Apart from these censorships, notable distinctions exist between Toei’s adaptation and the original manga. Specific episodes, absent from the manga, were designed to extend certain parts of the narrative. For example, episodes were added showing the heroes helping a young girl, Apis, and her dragon, Ryuji, in their quest. Although these additions may offer new elements to fans, they often remain secondary as they must not deviate from the main plot. Despite the rigor, inconsistencies can arise, such as when an episode shows Zoro slicing through chains well before he is supposed to do so in the storyline. However, some episodes provide a visual insight into the mini-adventures described in the manga’s cover pages, such as Buggy’s escapades or the adventures of Koby and Hermep. Among these additions, the arcs focused on the individual returns of the crew members after their separation on the Sabaody Archipelago are particularly appreciated. For an in-depth study of the differences between the adaptation and the manga, consult this comparative analysis.

Other One Piece Media

The world of One Piece extends well beyond the manga or anime. The unprecedented popularity of this series has spawned a multitude of derivative products, both official and unofficial. From everyday accessories like keychains and t-shirts to more specialized items like music and video games, fans have plenty to satisfy their passion. The fervor also extends to collectible cards, offered by Bandai under the name “One Piece CCG”. Special attention has been paid to the characters, with a CD drama dedicated to Nefertari Vivi, released by Avex Trax at the end of 2002.

Another segment that has captured the imagination of aficionados is that of figurines. There are thousands of different models inspired by One Piece. At the top of the list are the P.O.P (Portrait of Pirates) figurines from Megahouse, licensed by Bandai. These figurines, about 25 cm tall, stand out for their quality and are often equipped with accessories or modular limbs. For die-hard fans, the Mugiwara Store offers total immersion in this universe. This official store, inaugurated in September 2012 near Shibuya in Tokyo, is entirely dedicated to the franchise’s products. For those who wish to expand their collection, visit this figurine guide.

One Piece TV Series

The famed One Piece saga is set to make a grand return, but this time in a new format. Indeed, a live-action television series, developed by Tomorrow Studio, will be released on Netflix in August 2023. Under the supervision of producers Marty Adelstein and Eiichirō Oda, this adaptation promises to immerse fans in a universe blending action, adventure, pirate lore, and fantastical elements. Steven Maeda has been chosen to steer the project as the showrunner. Viewers will be treated to an eight-episode first season, inspired by the East Blue saga of the manga. This arc notably follows the initial formation of the iconic Straw Hat crew. To learn more about live-action series based on mangas, check out this article.

One Piece Video Games

The One Piece universe has expanded well beyond the manga and anime, delving into the thrilling world of video gaming. Titles inspired by this franchise have predominantly been released by Bandai, which has since evolved into Bandai Namco Entertainment. These games, available on various platforms, feature diverse gameplay styles but are particularly notable within the role-playing and fighting categories. The One Piece video game adventure began with “One Piece: Mezase Kaizoku Ō!” released in Japan on July 19, 2000. Fast-forward to 2023, the collection has grown to include over 50 titles. The most recent addition to this impressive list is “One Piece Odyssey,” available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, and Microsoft Windows.

One Piece Music

The One Piece universe isn’t just limited to captivating stories but also immerses fans in a sea of catchy melodies. Through the anime, movies, and even video games, a myriad of music tracks enhance the fans’ experience. The iconic compositions of the anime and most of the films come from the combined talents of Kohei Tanaka and Shiro Hamaguchi. Over time, these memorable melodies have been compiled into several albums for listeners’ enjoyment.

One Piece Spin-off Series

The One Piece universe has been enriched with several manga adaptations, offering fans new perspectives on this captivating world. For example, the manga “Chopperman,” illustrated by Hirofumi Takei with SD designs, was published between December 2010 and January 2014 in the magazine Saikyō Jump. This adaptation originated from three pages initially drawn by Eiichirō Oda, available in the databook One Piece Yellow. With a total of five volumes available, readers can also explore a one-shot of “Chopperman” published on February 3, 2012. In France, these gems are distributed by Kazé.

Continuing in this vein, another adaptation, “One Piece Party,” seen through the brushes of Ei Andō and still in SD design, was launched in the magazine Saikyō Jump on December 5, 2014. Seven volumes make up this series, with the last one published on February 4, 2021. French fans can immerse themselves in these stories thanks to Glénat, which has been distributing them since November 2016.

Other One Piece Items

The enthusiasm for the One Piece universe has given birth to an extensive collection of artbooks and guidebooks. So far, ten artbooks have been released, with captivating titles such as One Piece: Color Walk 1 launched in Japan in June 2001 and later in France in May 2006. Other notable titles include “Color Walk 2” in 2003, “Color Walk 3 – Lion” in 2006, “Color Walk 4 – Eagle” in 2010, “Color Walk 5 – Shark” also in 2010, “Color Walk 6 – Gorilla” in 2014, and “Color Walk 7 – Tyrannosaurus” in 2016.

As for guidebooks, five major works have been published. The very first, titled One Piece: Red – Grand Characters, was unveiled in March 2002, closely followed by “Blue – Grand Data File” the same year, “Yellow – Grand Elements” in 2007, “Green – Secret Pieces” in 2010, and “Blue Deep – Characters World” in 2012. Each offers a detailed dive into the One Piece epic and its iconic characters.

The exploration doesn’t stop there. In 2007, One Piece: RAINBOW! was published, highlighting the first eight years of the anime adaptation. A special chapter, “Chapter 0”, was released in 2009, offering a retrospective look at the world of One Piece, twenty years before Luffy’s adventure. This bonus chapter features iconic figures like Shiki the Golden Lion, Gold Roger, Red-Haired Shanks, and others. This treasure is also included in the databook “One Piece Blue Deep”.

The One Piece universe extends well beyond manga and anime, encompassing an impressive variety of media formats. Among these, “One Piece Grand Paper Adventure 3D”, an illustrated masterpiece by the legendary Eiichirō Oda, remains unreleased in France. Likewise, “One Piece 10th Treasures” celebrates a decade of success, offering a special issue of Shōnen Jump where Oda invites other great mangakas to revisit One Piece characters.

Fans were also delighted by “Cross Epoch”, an exceptional collaboration between Akira Toriyama and Eiichirō Oda, merging the iconic worlds of One Piece and Dragon Ball. Several bonus chapters, or omakes, offer parallel stories to the main plot, some of which have found their way into publications like “One Piece Yellow (Grand Elements)” and “One Piece Green”. Some of these omakes have even been adapted into animations, with the series “One Piece Mugiwara Theater”.

The adventure also continues with adaptations such as “One Piece The adventure of DEAD END”, an anime comics based on the 4th movie, and “One Piece Gyannzak”, a novel adaptation of an OVA retracing Luffy’s early exploits.

The success of One Piece also transcends media to come to life in the real world. In Tokyo, fans can savor the unique atmosphere of Baratie, a restaurant located within the Fuji Television building. And while the themed park Tokyo One Piece Tower, located in the heart of Tokyo Tower, closed its doors in 2020, it remains a testament to the indelible impact of the series on popular culture.

One Piece Manga

The cultural and commercial impact of the One Piece manga and anime is undeniable, receiving countless accolades and achieving impressive sales feats. In 2001, readers of the renowned Animage magazine placed this iconic series in the top five “memorable animes of the 21st century.” Two years later, One Piece once again made the top 20 of the magazine’s most beloved animes.

Oricon, a major player in media statistics in Japan, revealed in 2008 that Japanese teenagers considered One Piece as one of the most captivating manga series. This enthusiasm translated into significant sales increases for the magazine editions publishing it, reversing a downward trend that had lasted nearly a decade.

In terms of volume sales, One Piece has consistently topped the charts. For example, volume 27 distinguished itself as the best-selling book in Japan until the arrival of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Then, the records continued with volumes 56, 57, and 60, even surpassing the first printings of global best-sellers. Even more impressive, volume 67 was published with a record initial print run of 4.05 million copies, surpassing its predecessors.

Volume 63 eclipsed the first-week sales record previously held by volume 60, with a staggering 2.1 million copies sold in just four days.

It’s clear that One Piece, beyond its cultural impact, is also an undeniable force in the manga industry, continuing to set and redefine popularity and sales standards.

The influence of the One Piece manga on the Japanese manga market has been steadily growing since the early 2010s. Since the publication of volume 57 in March 2010, each edition has recorded over three million sales. The 66th volume set an impressive record by reaching 2.2 million sales in just four days, marking the most successful launch for a manga to date.

In 2012, even though One Piece continued to dominate the rankings with 23,464,866 copies sold, this figure was slightly down from the previous year when it had sold nearly 38 million copies. The following years saw fluctuations, with a notable drop in 2014 but a rebound in 2015 with over 14 million copies sold. According to Oricon statistics, in 2017, One Piece maintained its position as the best-selling manga for the tenth consecutive year.

The 55th volume marked a historic milestone for One Piece: it surpassed legendary titles such as Dragon Ball and Kochikame in terms of total sales, with around 150 million copies sold. The popularity of One Piece continued to grow, with a print run surpassing 260 million copies upon the release of volume 65. In 2013, this number climbed to 300 million with the publication of volume 72. And in May 2018, the global print run of the series reached a staggering 440 million copies, with 365 million of those in Japan alone. This steady growth testifies to the unwavering appeal of One Piece to readers worldwide.

The year 2019 marked a turning point in the world of manga, as for the first time since the creation of the Oricon rankings, One Piece was no longer in first place. It placed second with 10,134,232 copies, closely followed by Demon Slayer, which took first place with 12,057,628 copies sold. In 2020, One Piece continued to slide in the rankings, landing in third place, and in 2021, it failed to maintain a spot in the top 5. However, in August 2022, the series reached an impressive total print run of over 516.5 million copies – 416.5 million of these sales were made in Japan and 100 million in 60 other countries. For the period from November 22, 2021, to November 20, 2022, One Piece solidly held the fourth place in the Oricon rankings.

In France, One Piece experienced a meteoric rise. In May 2011, according to data from Glénat, One Piece emerged as the best-selling manga, surpassing the previous leader, Naruto. Since 2011, it has held the title of the best-selling manga in France. By the end of 2010, six million copies of the series had been sold in France. Upon the release of the hundredth volume in December 2021, with a record initial print run of 250,000 copies, Glénat announced that sales of the French version had reached 28.2 million copies.

One Piece Awards

In terms of recognition, the One Piece manga is not to be outdone. From 2000 to 2002, the series was in contention for the prestigious Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize three times, recording the highest number of nominations by aficionados during the first two years. At the Japan Expo Awards in 2008, One Piece won the title of best shōnen and continued its momentum by winning the same award at the French Anime Grand Prix for three consecutive years from 2008 to 2010.

2012 saw One Piece crowned with the Grand Prize of the Japanese Cartoonists’ Association, sharing this title of honor with “Nekodarake Nice” by Kimuchi Yokoyama. At the Paris Book Fair that same year, One Piece stood out once again, winning two trophies at the 3rd Anime and Manga Grand Prix of AnimeLand, as “best classic series” and “best shōnen”. “Strong World”, a film from the franchise, is not only honored at the Japan Academy Prize but is also nominated three times at the 50th edition of the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, for prestigious awards such as the Feature Film Crystal and the Audience Award. The iconic opening of the anime, “We Are!”, is not forgotten, receiving an Animation Kobe Theme Song Award in 2000.

In 2015, One Piece reached another pinnacle of glory by entering the Guinness Book of Records as the “most published series in the world”, with an impressive total of 320,866,000 copies.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *