Review

by Allen Divers, Feb 10th 2003

One Piece

manga

Synopsis:
One Piece (manga)
Every boy dreams of becoming someone important. For Monkey D. Luffy, his dream is to become the Pirate King. After eating the Devil's Fruit, Luffy plans to use his newfound power to travel to the Grand Line and find One Piece, a treasure that the infamous Gold Roger left behind. That treasure contains the wealth of the entire world, and every pirate wants it. Along the way, Luffy will have to find friends to help him on his journey and to fulfill a promise made on the straw hat he wears.
Review:
One Piece is an action adventure story in line with some of the great quest stories out there. Starting with a very simple plot, One Piece follows the adventures of a young boy looking to fulfill his ultimate dream. Creator, writer, and artist Eiichiro Oda describes One Piece as the story he wanted to read as a boy. One Piece mixes a unique art style, an expansive setting, comedy, and a ton of action to create an imaginative and romanticized tale of piracy.

The artwork of One Piece starts with a very simple style. The designs initially seem very cartoonish with much of the character designs showing more North American influence than that from its Japanese origins. One Piece's Japanese origins do work their way up in the form of the familiar big eyes and the typical expressions of many of the characters. The artwork and settings come across as timeless in their presentation. While the setting points back to a romanticized vision of the great sailing age, the characters--in both their mannerisms and clothing--are set firmly in modern times. While the male character designs are often quite varied and unique, the female designs do get a bit repetitive. Mr. Oda admits that female characters are often the hardest for him to draw.

Eiichiro Oda lists amongst his influences Akira Toriyama of Dragon Ball fame. This influence is seen most prominently in Mr. Oda's style of writing which contains huge epic battles punctuated by a lot of humor. All of the main characters join Luffy on his adventure for very their own personal quests. Each character is defined by what they seek in their quest, leaving very little for actual development. Luffy and his friends are basically what the audience sees, with no ulterior motives driving or influencing their decisions. Each of the main characters takes a turn in the spotlight, often during many of the battles that drive the series. These battles are a large part of One Piece, as each often takes up a few chapters to conclude.

There is always a danger when one artist takes inspiration from another. Luckily, One Piece avoids many of the pitfalls of this by creating a vivid world for its characters to wander in. One Piece manages to share a rich tale without getting bogged down by overly complicated plots. It is what it appears to be on the surface, a grand adventure filled with comedy, action, and strong values. Eiichiro Oda's artwork and storytelling combine to create a unique tale of adventure that many will find entertaining.
Grade:
Production Info:
Story : B
Art : B

+ A strong tale of adventure, highlighted with fun comedy and strong action
Funky art style takes time to get used to

Story & Art:Eiichiro Oda

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One Piece (manga)

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