One Piece is regarded as one of the best manga of all time, and for the right reasons. The manga has been serialized for more than two decades and has already received countless accolades, including a Guiness World Record for “most copies published for the same comic book series by a single author”. During all these years, the manga has been adapted to various media platforms and has also passed the 1000th-chapter mark. Needless to say, it has a solid fan base that religiously follows the franchise as it still continues to expand. The level of prestige One Piece has reached can no longer be dismissed as a mere fluke. Here are the reasons why Eiichiro Oda’s work is a true manga masterpiece.
1. Solid Worldbuilding
Inarguably, One Piece has an expansive world, which the characters hope to fully explore. Unlike other similar titles, the end of One Piece has been very clear to the readers since day one. This gives the impression that Oda can vividly envision the world of One Piece right from the beginning. Interestingly, the world just continues to expand as the story progresses. We’d like to emphasize the word “expand”. In One Piece, revelations do not undermine or contradict older ones. Instead, they are like building blocks that reinforce the established facts. For instance, we’ve long known that devil fruits grant power to their eaters, but that lore is further reinforced when the fact that these powers can be awakened is revealed.
Despite the length of its serialization—even Oda has no clear idea how many more years the manga will run—there are still a lot of unanswered questions. The biggest of which, of course, is what the titular treasure actually is. These mysteries serve as some sort of progress gauge for viewers. Because the series has never seemed to have reached 100%, it never feels stretched out. From day one up to the present, we have been following the linear adventure of the Strawhat Pirates. More impressively is that Oda seemed to have most, if not all, of these elements figured out long ago. This then leads to our next point.
2. Plenty of Foreshadowing
One way for authors to prove that everything is planned and not just haphazardly put together is by using foreshadowing. This is especially true for long-running series like One Piece. True enough, Oda has hidden various foreshadowing details from the beginning. Fans can attest to that. After all, they have pieced together these bits of information and managed to form spot-on theories like Sanji being a prince and Lola being Big Mom’s daughter. This is not a recent development either. Haki has long been foreshadowed during the Sky Island Arc, wherein Enel and his men use the same skill but calls it Mantra. Of course, there are also Usopp’s lies, which mostly ended up becoming reality.
3. Efficient Character Utilization
With a world as big as One Piece, a very long list of characters is to be expected. Sure enough, the named characters have already exceeded 1000. While all of these characters have served their purpose in one way or another, some still make occasional appearances. This not only gives a nostalgic touch to the manga but also allows the readers to further empathize with them. Oda knows how to utilize his characters efficiently. He can make them relevant time and again using funny twists and coincidences. A good example of this is Buggy the Clown and Mr. 3 of Baroque Works. Both characters are introduced early on, but they are still very relevant to the series at present.
This just proves that the other characters’ world continues to revolve even if the focus isn’t set on them. What we mean is that the other characters - like Smoker, Alvida, and even Shanks - develop and gain experiences off-screen.
It is inarguable that One Piece is already a legend in the manga industry. Its legacy and achievements are and will be difficult to top. While these accolades prove how great One Piece is, it doesn’t break down as to why it is great. Even though Oda’s art, storytelling, and plot are undeniably good, we think that those aren’t the reason why One Piece sits above the others. They are, of course, essential, but we believe the things we’ve listed above are what really make One Piece exceptional.