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One Piece

ONE PIECE (stylized in all caps) stands as a captivating Japanese manga series crafted by the talented Eiichiro Oda. Serialized in Shueisha’s prestigious shōnen manga magazine, Weekly Shōnen Jump, since July 1997, its enthralling journey spans 106 tankōbon volumes as of July 2023. The narrative gracefully unravels the thrilling escapades of Monkey D. Luffy and his intrepid crew, the Straw Hat Pirates, as they chart their course through the enigmatic Grand Line. Their ultimate quest? To uncover the fabled treasure, the elusive “One Piece,” and claim the illustrious title of the next King of the Pirates.

The manga’s immense popularity gave rise to a sprawling media franchise, inspiring a festival film produced by Production I.G and an anime series by Toei Animation, which first aired in 1999. Toei Animation, in their creative prowess, crafted a total of fourteen animated feature films, accompanied by an original video animation and thirteen television specials. This sensational success also spawned a multitude of merchandise and media, including a thrilling trading card game and a plethora of captivating video games.

As for international reach, the manga series found its way to English-speaking audiences in North America and the United Kingdom, courtesy of Viz Media, while Madman Entertainment took charge of its release in Australia. The anime series, on the other hand, underwent a journey through licensing, initially handled by 4Kids Entertainment for North American distribution in 2004, though it was eventually taken over by Funimation in 2007, heralding a new chapter in its localization history.

One Piece has garnered widespread acclaim for its masterful storytelling, meticulous world-building, captivating art, well-developed characters, and delightful humor. Its brilliance has not gone unnoticed, as evidenced by the multitude of awards it has received, cementing its place as one of the greatest manga of all time, revered by critics, reviewers, and readers alike.

The series’ impact has been nothing short of phenomenal, with a staggering 516.6 million copies circulating across 61 countries and regions worldwide as of August 2022. This astonishing achievement solidifies One Piece as the best-selling manga series in history, and also claims the title of the best-selling comic series ever printed in book format. It comes as no surprise that numerous volumes of the manga have shattered publishing records, including holding the record for the highest initial print run of any book in Japan.

One Piece’s accomplishments have been officially recognized by the Guinness World Records on two occasions: in 2015 and 2022, it set the record for “the most copies published for the same comic book series by a single author.” This impressive feat is a testament to the unwavering dedication of both the creator and the devoted fanbase.

The manga’s commercial prowess is equally remarkable, reigning as the best-selling manga for an astonishing eleven consecutive years from 2008 to 2018. It remains unparalleled as the only manga to achieve initial print volumes exceeding 3 million continuously for over a decade, further reinforcing its unparalleled popularity. Additionally, One Piece is the sole manga series to boast over 1 million copies sold for every single one of its 100+ published tankōbon volumes.

Even in the competitive world of weekly comic rankings, One Piece stands head and shoulders above the rest. Since 2008, its volumes have consistently claimed the top spot in Oricon’s weekly comic chart, a remarkable streak that showcases its enduring relevance and widespread admiration.

In every aspect, One Piece has etched its name in the annals of manga history, leaving an indelible legacy that continues to captivate audiences around the globe.


Eiichiro Oda’s fascination with pirates can be traced back to his childhood when he was captivated by the animated series Vicky the Viking. This early inspiration sparked his desire to create a manga centered around pirates. As he delved into pirate biographies, he found a wellspring of ideas, infusing many of One Piece’s characters with traits borrowed from real-life pirates. An exemplary instance is the character Marshall D. Teach, whose name and basis were drawn from the historical pirate Edward “Blackbeard” Teach.

Beyond the realm of piracy, another significant influence on Oda’s work is Akira Toriyama, the creative genius behind the beloved series Dragon Ball, which holds a special place among Oda’s favorite manga. Additionally, The Wizard of Oz played a pivotal role in shaping his storytelling approach. Oda steers away from narratives where the adventure itself serves as the sole reward, instead, he crafts stories where the journey holds importance, but even more paramount is the ultimate goal the characters strive to achieve.

Eiichiro Oda’s journey with One Piece commenced while he served as an assistant to Nobuhiro Watsuki. It was in 1996 when he began crafting the series, initially starting with two one-shot stories titled “Romance Dawn.” Interestingly, these one-shots would later lend their name to One Piece’s first chapter and volume. In these preliminary stories, Luffy, the central character, made his appearance along with elements that would later be integrated into the main series. The first of these short tales was published in August 1996 in Akamaru Jump and subsequently in One Piece Red. The second story appeared in the 41st issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump in 1996 and was later reprinted in Oda’s collection of short stories, “Wanted!”.

However, Oda’s path to publishing One Piece was not without challenges. The manga faced rejection three times by Weekly Shōnen Jump before Shueisha finally gave the green light to publish the series. Takanori Asada, the original editor of One Piece, revealed this intriguing fact in an interview with TBS. Despite the initial setbacks, Oda’s unwavering determination eventually led to the creation of one of the most iconic and acclaimed manga series of all time.


When conceptualizing Devil Fruits, Oda ensures they tap into human desires, creating alluring appearances that entice readers to devour them with their eyes. He believes that drawing a Devil Fruit without this enticing quality would be missing the mark.[9]

The manga embraces a playful use of puns and wordplay when naming special attacks and other concepts. Kanji phrases are paired with unique readings, resulting in a delightful mix of languages and unexpected meanings. Zoro’s sword techniques are a prime example, appearing fearsome in writing but sounding comically like different types of food when pronounced aloud. For instance, Zoro’s signature move, “Onigiri,” means “demon cut” in writing but is pronounced the same as “rice ball” in Japanese. Although the anime creators refrained from using these kanji readings to preserve the comedic effect, they still aimed to stay faithful to the manga’s essence.[10]

Oda takes great care in the translation of his work, particularly the English version, to ensure its impact remains intact. While some onomatopoeia in the Japanese version might have various specific sounds, the English version often simplifies them into a single representation to maintain consistency.[12]

As a hands-on creator, Oda personally draws everything in motion, ensuring a uniform and distinct visual style. However, he entrusts his staff to handle background art based on his sketches, allowing him to maintain a cohesive look while managing a demanding workload. His rigorous schedule involves long hours, working from early morning until late at night with only brief breaks for meals. The process includes dedicating the first three days of the week to storyboard writing and the remaining time for final inking and possible coloring.[13]

When it comes to romantic relationships within Luffy’s crew, Oda intentionally avoids delving into love affairs. He believes that, as a shōnen manga, One Piece’s primary audience of boys may not be as interested in love stories. This decision keeps the focus on the adventurous and action-packed elements of the series.[14]

Overall, Oda’s meticulous approach, attention to detail, and understanding of his audience have contributed to the immense success and lasting appeal of One Piece.