Review

by Zac Bertschy, Aug 3rd 2002

One Piece

Synopsis:
One Piece
Years ago, the fearsome pirate king Gold Roger disappeared, leaving a huge pile of treasure and the famous “One Piece” behind. Whoever claims the “One Piece” will be named the new pirate king. Luffy D. Monkey, a boy who consumed the “Devil's Fruit”, has it in his head that he'll follow in the footsteps of his idol, the pirate Shanks, and find the One Piece. It helps, of course, that his body has the properties of rubber and he's surrounded by a bevy of skilled fighters and thieves to help him along the way.
Review:
Considered by some to be the heir to the throne of Dragon Ball in terms of Japanese market penetration, One Piece is certainly a phenomenon. The manga's print run recently outpaced Dragon Ball and the series, at more than 130 episodes, is still going strong. It's easy to see why; One Piece follows a very simple and very successful shonen action formula. It worked in the past for Rurouni Kenshin and Dragon Ball and it's working wonderfully for One Piece. The premise is pretty basic. Luffy D. Monkey, an irrepressible youth, ate the Devil's Fruit, which gave his body extra-strength elasticity. He's searching for the One Piece, a legendary treasure that will make him the King of all Pirates and finally allow him to prove himself to his childhood idol, a selfless pirate by the name of Shanks. Along the way, he collects an army of somewhat freakish rogues, including a tough swordfighter named Zoro who fights with a sword in his mouth, and Nami, a spunky thief. Together they have wacky adventures, beat up the bad guys, and collect treasure. It all sounds pretty harmless, right?

Well, right, it is. One Piece is completely harmless entertainment. The battles can be surprisingly brutal at times, but overall, this is pure shonen action entertainment. It is entirely unpretentious and knows exactly what it wants to be, and excels at that. That having been said, One Piece is not a particularly deep show, although the characters are well developed. The focus seems to be on the crazy villains and the endless string of fights the main characters go through. Luffy and his crew of misfits go from town to town, saving the repressed masses and eliminating evil pirates who stand between them and the One Piece. In some ways, it's very reminiscent of Rurouni Kenshin. Kenshin and Luffy are both laid-back badasses with hearts of gold that surround themselves with surprisingly capable outcasts and defeat circus freak-style enemies in episode after episode. If you like that sort of thing, One Piece delivers. If you don't, One Piece is going to bore the faith out of you.

So, for fans of formulaic action shows, One Piece is a well-animated bit of fluff that sports decent music and some well-done action scenes. Unfortunately, the bizarre character designs are sure to turn a lot of folks off. One Piece is not done in a traditional anime style. It's very unique and it's bound to rub some people the wrong way. Otherwise, if you like your anime rife with fight scenes that last several episodes, declaratory statements (“Ore wa Kaizokuo ni naru da!” or “I will become the Pirate King!” is Luffy's favorite thing to say...), screwball humor and a touch of originality, One Piece will not fail to please.
Grade:
Production Info:

+ Fun characters, original setting, decent music, nice animation.
Freakish character designs may put off some people, length of series is somewhat formidable.

Director:
Hiroaki Miyamoto
Munehisa Sakai
Junji Shimizu
Kônosuke Uda
Series Composition:
Junki Takegami
Hirohiko Uesaka
Script:
Hiroshi Hashimoto
Naoki Koga
Michiru Shimada
Yoshiyuki Suga
Junki Takegami
Suminori Takegami
Hitoshi Tanaka
Hirohiko Uesaka
Ryota Yamaguchi
Storyboard:
Junichi Fujise
Mamoru Hosoda
Takahiro Imamura
Hidehiko Kadota
Yukio Kaizawa
Tsuyoshi Koga
Aya Komaki
Tetsuji Nakamura
Yutaka Nakashima
Daisuke Nishio
Munehisa Sakai
Naotoshi Shida
Michiru Shimada
Yoshiyuki Suga
Kônosuke Uda
Yoshihiro Ueda
Ryota Yamaguchi
Shigeyasu Yamauchi
Kenji Yokoyama
Episode Director:
Yuji Endo
Junichi Fujise
Ayako Hiraike
Mamoru Hosoda
Yoko Ikeda
Takahiro Imamura
Hidehiko Kadota
Yukio Kaizawa
Hiroyuki Kakudou
Tsuyoshi Koga
Aya Komaki
Harume Kosaka
Ken Koyama
Hiroaki Miyamoto
Kazutoshi Mori
Yutaka Nakajima
Tetsuji Nakamura
Yutaka Nakashima
Kōdai Nakatsuka
Daisuke Nishio
Munehisa Sakai
Junji Shimizu
Koji Tanaka
Katsumi Tokoro
Kônosuke Uda
Yoshihiro Ueda
Sumio Watanabe
Shigeyasu Yamauchi
Music:
Shiroh Hamaguchi
Kouhei Tanaka
Original Manga:Eiichiro Oda
Character Design:
Kazuya Hisada
Noboru Koizumi
Art Director:
Kunihiro Chida
Kumiko Fukuzawa
Iwamitsu Itoo
Michiyo Kawasaki
Toshiaki Marumori
Yuri Sanan
Miyuki Sato
Tadami Shimokawa
Fumihiro Uchikawa
Tomoko Yoshida
Animation Director:
Toshio Deguchi
Masayuki Fujita
Yuuji Hakamada
Kazuya Hisada
Takeo Ide
Kazuyuki Igai
Eisaku Inoue
Katsumi Ishizuka
Atsuko Kawamura
Yuki Kinoshita
Yukari Kobayashi
Noboru Koizumi
Yuuji Kondou
Natsuko Makiyo
Hideaki Maniwa
Kiyoshi Matsushita
Naoki Murakami
Yukiko Nakatani
Masahiro Shimanuki
Takanori Shimura
Takayuki Shimura
Shigefumi Shingaki
Kouji Sugimoto
Shinichi Suzuki
Masayuki Takagi
Kazuo Takigawa
Naoki Tate
Tadayoshi Yamamuro
Megumi Yamashita
Kenji Yokoyama
Art design:Ryuuji Yoshiike
Producer:Yoshihiro Suzuki

Full encyclopedia details about
One Piece (TV)

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