I am a cartoon/manga addict. It’s a truth that I have embraced and practiced throughout my life. The context of imagining life without dwelling on creative plots and a flurry of imaginative scenarios remains out of question for me. That is why I hate people who detest these series just because they are ‘cartoons’ and ‘shouldn’t be watched by grown ups’. I had compiled my top ten cartoons list in the initial stages of my blogging venture but had quite surprisingly failed to note the impact that One Piece has brought to my life. I affirm that the series comes close to other manga series such as Naruto, Bleach and Fairy Tail when it comes to popularity but, in my opinion, One Piece beats them.
One piece is about a devil fruit user named Monkey D. Luffy who with his rubber powers aims to be the Pirate King and be the rightful owner of ‘One Piece’, a collection of all the treasures that Pirate King Gold Roger had in his life and which was left at the end of the island called Raftel in the Grand Line. A pirate age enveloped the world when Gold Roger spoke of the treasure as his dying wish in Loguetown. Now, Luffy and his eight crew members, sail through the seas and into the mercurial Grand Line where they meet strange devil fruit users and challenge to battles and make their way forward.
Most of us categorize pirates as dangerous hooligans but Straw Hats are the antithesis of this. Adamant in his aim to pursuit One Piece, Luffy makes sure that every challenges are overcome by the crew no matter what. And that is the most captivating quality that the crew possesses. They are resilient and beat the hell out of monstrous pirates or the Navy whose sole aim is to capture all the pirates that are causing ruckus in the world. Be it the pirate who caused anarchy in Alabasta or the Shichibukai (warlord pirate) who has a penchant to steal shadows, Luffy and his crew make sure that the victims do not have to suffer like they have suffered before. In other words, they have a soft spot for people who have been terrorized by the evil doings of pirates or to some extent, even the Navy.
One Piece encapsulates the necessity to make amends to the society through the actions that Straw Hat pirates take on their course to achieve their separate aims. Zoro dreams to be the best swordsman, Nami ventures to map the whole world, Usopp aspires to be the sharpest shooter, Sanji is lured by the All Blue legend, Chopper decides to be the best doctor, Robin swears to study the world’s history and examine the 100 year void, Brook lives to fulfill the promise he made when he entered Grand Line, and Franky heats up to make his self-built ship reach the end of Grand Line. They all have different ambitions, but such is the stubbornness towards fulfilling their dreams that they don’t care if they have to cross any lines or fear that their wanted posters surge in their price. As an audience, it is very inspiring to push you towards your limits as the manga teaches you that nothing can stop you from fulfilling your dreams.
Most of the mangas (comics that are released in Japan) bear a common quality that echo the mentalities of their main characters and it is friendship. A quality that has been portrayed in such a compelling emotional gesture that it is hard to put down reading one if you start on a manga reading/watching spree. One Piece depicts friendship in a truly spectacular ways with scenes of betrayal, rescue missions from hell (Enies Lobby), and faith and trust towards the captain that it is impossible to go along with the emotional weight and shed tears in your face. In some of the scenes, you just can’t put an end to tears and have difficulty in muttering a single word. The emotions such as ecstasy, joy, faith, rage, outburst, and determination steal the show and the show just maintains this emotional level throughout the series without interrupting the anticipation that you have built since the last episode.
When you are a big fan of anything, you want it to last forever. And One Piece does just that. The characters that Eiichiro Oda has created bring out more action scenes and the fight seems to never end. Straw Hats have built such a large circle of friends and enemies that you never get tired of guessing what would happen next. It is this very quality of One Piece that I believe edges out other manga series or even American cartoons. Right now, One Piece has crossed just over 50% of its story in its eighteenth year in print. An amazing feat considering the fact that many of the other manga barely cross fifteen years in print. For an avid fan like me, it makes a perfect sense as I can still relish the adventures of Straw Hat Pirates for the next ten years or even more than that.
For those of you who quite don’t know that such a manga/series existed, go google it or watch it or read it. And I bet it may turn out to be the best series (animated or non-animated) that you have ever experienced till date. When I told my friend Nimesh who was a die-hard Naruto fan that Naruto is nothing compared to One Piece, he had laughed at me. Now, he thanks me often for the entertainment that gets packed in reading/watching One Piece. So just grab a copy of One Piece and who knows that you will have a similar experience to share with me?
HAPPY ONE PIECE ADVENTURES WITH STRAW HATS!