Event Report: One Piece × Kyoto City Collaboration
posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
One Piece is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a myriad of events and announcements, including the franchise's first VR game, a new video game in the works, a new run of the Kabuki play, and of course, the Hollywood live-action adaptation. Another one of the events is a limited-time collaboration with the entire city of Kyoto in Japan's Kansai region.
One of the main reasons for the collaboration in Kyoto is to celebrate the upcoming Wano Kuni or Wano Country arc that manga creator Eiichiro Oda has assured fans he'll work on after the current arc with Big Mom. Kyoto is one of Japan's most traditional cities, and Wano Country is themed after traditional Japan.
The event is only from October 7-22, and it involves about five different mini-events throughout the city. We made sure to go to every event the city has to offer for these 16 days, so let's begin!
One Piece Art Nue at Daikakuji Temple
The absolute highlight of the collaboration is undeniably this art exhibition at Daikakuji. The temple is a hidden gem of Kyoto and, while out of the way and not on the list for most tourist visits, is well worth visiting even if it weren't for the One Piece exhibition. Aside from the beauty of the temple and its grounds, there's the added bonus for anime fans that it houses the taichi sword "Hizamaru," which is one of the swords featured in the Touken Ranbu franchise and who appeared in the Katsugeki! Tōken Ranbu series. There's no photos allowed of the sword itself, but visitors can take a picture of the sword in a book that stands outside the room holding the sword.
The art exhibition takes place throughout the temple buildings themselves, the outside wooden hallways that connect each building, and even in the rock garden. The artworks feature on folding screens, various sized canvases, hanging scrolls, and flags. The works are mostly in an art style reminiscent of ancient Japanese art one can find in temples and museums across Japan. The works are also numbered, so it's easier to follow along with the story (although it's only available in Japanese). The story is a non-canon full story arc set in Wano Country.
In the story, a man named Toratsugu is raggedly wandering along a beach, and he finds a piece of fruit in the sand. He eats the fruit, not realizing it was a Devil Fruit, and he is cursed with the transformative power of a Nue — a mythological Japanese creature that has a monkey's head, a lion's body, and a snake for a tail.
The next day, the Straw Hat Pirates land in the harbor of the country's capital. They have a blast interacting with the locals, with Nami checking out kimono, Chopper sampling local sweets, Brook playing a shamisen-like instrument, Sanji schmoozing with the ladies, Usopp learning about ukiyo-e, and Zoro just getting lost.
While the Straw Hats are enjoying the excitement of the harbor, the Daimyo's daughter Princess Kiku is having her wedding celebration, even though the Daimyo himself recently died. She is marrying Prince Lark from a neighboring country, and he is to become the new feudal lord. Suddenly, the Nue attacks the mansion housing the ceremony, and Prince Lark faces the creature, but is unable to take it down.
Prince Lark meets with the Straw Hat Pirates, asking them to please help him to save the capital. Luffy is much more excited about the Nue, and says he wants to make it his pet, so he agrees. Nami is excited by the rewards promised. Together, they all travel to a mountain temple to face the Nue.
But at the mountain temple, Luffy finds that the supposed "monster" is acting like a human, and seems to be crying. After their quick bout is over, the Nue falls into a ravine, Luffy and his crew retreat, but later find a man at the bottom of the ravine. Luffy realizes the Nue is really a human, and Chopper begins healing him.
Toratsugu then explains himself. He is in fact a master florist and teacher of flower arranging for the Hitaki clan, the clan of the Daimyo. He is also a childhood friend of Princess Kiku. He and Princess Kiku got along well, and gradually came to love one another. They pledged their love to each other, and got engaged. A few days later, Prince Lark murders the Daimyo, and Toratsugu witnesses the act. Prince Lark imprisons Toratsugu, blaming the murder on him. Prince Lark is then in line to become the next Daimyo and rule the capital. The night before his public execution, Toratsugu escapes his prison, and that is when he finds the Devil Fruit on the beach.
The Straw Hats are moved by Toratsugu's tale, and they decide to work together to take down Prince Lark. Toratsugu is injured, but he nevertheless changes into his Nue form, and the Straw Hats ride on his back to face the Prince. Prince Lark has barricaded himself in an encampment, and the desperate Princess Kiku tries to convince him that Toratsugu is innocent. Prince Lark says he'll definitely capture Toratsugu and execute him, and confesses to Princess Kiku that he is in fact the real killer. He then tells Princess Kiku that he doesn't need her anymore, and he pushes her off a balcony, saying he'll blame that on Toratsugu too. But a long set of arms comes down from the sky and saves Princess Kiku just in time.
In the climactic moment, Luffy punches Prince Lark right in the face, ending the fight. Oda himself drew the panel for this moment, and no pictures were allowed. The story ends, fittingly, with a banquet. The Straw Hats then sail off for another adventure. Chopper's happy Toratsugu and Princess Kiku will live happily ever after, Nami jokes that it's a shame they couldn't get a reward, and Luffy laughingly regrets that he wasn't able to make the Nue his pet after all.
Sharp-eyed visitors can also find several Pandaman images scattered throughout the temple.
After taking an hour or so to walk through everything, it was a bit of a shame that the only souvenir for sale at the temple was one charm, but the artwork was obviously the big draw of the whole event.
Straw Hat Crew Stamp Rally
Sites across the city of Kyoto also featured wooden plaques and stamps for each of the Straw Hat Crew. Fans can get the stamp cards (finished card pictured below) from any of the locations that have the stamps, or at the location of the fake stamps at Kyoto Station (explained below). A different pull-out stamp booklet was also available in the 45th issue of Weekly Shonen Jump, which shipped on October 7.
Not all of the sites for the stamps were free. Fans had to pay to enter the Kyoto Manga Museum to get access to Usopp's stamp. Additionally, to see Zoro's huge votive, visitors had to pay extra.
Luffy: Kyoto Station
Zoro: Mibudera Temple
This also happens to be the temple where the famed Shinsengumi unit trained on swordsmanship and horse riding, so the spot holds an extra bonus for anime or history fans, and of course it's an apropos site for Zoro's stamp.
The giant ema (wooden votive tablet) pictured below features a signature by Zoro and says, "To become the strongest swordsman in the world" (votive tablets are often used to write wishes and dreams on). The huge votive is also right by the bust of Shinsengumi leader Kondō Isami. Fans could also buy Zoro (or Shinsengumi)-themed votives at the temple (but there is only a limited amount of Zoro votives given out daily).
Nami: Tozai Subway Line
At many stations on the Tozai subway line in Kyoto, Nami's voice blasted over the speakers inside the station. Nami also featured on a series of posters throughout the stations explaining rules for riders. The signs below include warnings about making sure to hold on to the escalator handrails, no smoking inside the station, no walking while looking at your smartphone, and even one warning against manspreading featuring the three Admirals.
The Karasuma-Oike station, where the stamp is located, also features fake ads along the staircases, for things like Pappug's fashion line "Crimin," Nojiko's oranges, and the Baratie restaurant.
Usopp: Kyoto Manga Museum
The museum also had on display a large wall area featuring "The Legend of Usopp" — famous manga panels from One Piece but redrawn to feature Usopp as the protagonist instead of Luffy.
Sanji: Nikenchaya Tea House
Located inside the grounds of the Yasaka Shrine, the tea house was serving a "Sanji au lait" green tea drink with chestnut ice cream. The tea house itself was also decorated with Sanji banners. Two posters are also next tho the entrance, where Sanji lovingly and charmingly greets the ladies coming into the store, then sneers at the men coming into the store: "A guy, whatever, welcome to the damn store."
Chopper: Shōgoin Yatsuhashi sweets shop
The shop is also selling Chopper-themed sweets
Robin and Franky: Nijo Castle
Fans who lined up (very) early at the castle could also take an AR tour through the castle. Fans were given Franky-themed digital tablets, and Franky and Robin would guide visitors through the castle grounds.
Brook: Kuramazaki Jinja Shrine
The shrine was also selling Brook protective charms, but by the fourth day, they were completely sold out for the rest of the event.
The shrine is famous for bringing good luck and economic fortune, but a smaller shrine within the grounds, Geino Jinja shrine, is known for the deity of entertainment. Entertainers from across the country come to pray for good luck in their careers. The shrine has a Tamagaki fence lined with vermillion plaques of names of entertainers who have visited the shrine.
Kyoto City Hall
Kyoto City Hall is where participants go after they've finished the stamp rally to receive their prize, and it had a Marine theme. The prizes include a packet of A4-size wanted posters (the most recent ones) of all the Straw Hats, a card with a QR code on the back leading to a congratulations message from Oda, and a 10,000 Berry bill. The whole thing comes in a Marine envelope.
Outside the building, alongside a construction wall, there were also giant wanted posters of the crew members.
Aside from Luffy's stamp, Kyoto station also had a few things to offer. There was a giant mock One Piece cover for volume "794." The volume features the key art for the One Piece Art Nue exhibition.
Additionally, in a hidden section of the East Square area of the station, is a set of fake stamps featuring the Fake Straw Hat Pirates (sadly as there was no fake Brook, there was no fake Brook stamp, and everyone seemed to have just supplemented it with the real Brook stamp to finish the set).
From 7-10 p.m., a large staircase on the west side of the station also featured a short One Piece illumination event that lasts about 45 seconds and plays once every 20 minutes or so.
Pop-Up Mugiwara Store
The Kyoto Daimaru department store has a pop-up Mugiwara Store shop from October 11-16, selling One Piece goods. Several other permanent Mugiwara Stores exist in other cities in Japan. The store had lots of life-size statues of characters, as well as posters for each of Japan's 47 prefectures corresponding with a character from the series.
And that's it! The real crime of the whole thing was that there was no Jimbei-themed events at all (aside from the above poster with Okinawa prefecture, since Okinawa has a famous aquarium with a whale shark), considering the events of the latest chapters of the manga.
Photos by Matt Hodgkins.
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history