According to the Oricon's yearly manga sales chart, 2020 saw One Piece claiming the third spot as the best selling series of the year, with Demon Slayer and Kingdom claiming the first and second places respectively.
That ranking marked the 14th year in a row One Piece managed to stay on the top of the ten best selling manga of the year list. And judging by the latest sales chart, 2021 will likely be its 15th year at the top. Love it or hate it, you can't deny how massively popular One Piece truly is.
There are tons of newer manga that couldn't do such a feat. And there are also lots of long-lasting manga, like Jojo, that somehow couldn't consistently crack that top spot. So how could One Piece manage to maintain its popularity to this day, nearly 25 years after its debut? Here are 5 reasons why One Piece is still popular today!
5. Nonstop Anime
It is no secret that an anime adaptation has the ability to boost the popularity of a manga series. After all, Attack On Titan wouldn’'t be as popular as it is today without its glorious anime adaptation.
For a new series, anime serves as a means of introduction, while for an established manga, it is a means to keep the audience engaged and interested in the series.
Since One Piece first got its anime adaptation in 1999, there is not a year that goes by without it on the air. The anime is there all year round to keep you up to date with the latest One Piece stories.
And since the story in the anime always lags behind its source material, curious viewers would have to pick up the manga if they want to know what happens next, thus increasing the popularity of the series.
4. Occasional Big Budget Movies
But no matter how good the anime is, there will come a time when people get tired of following the story. When such a thing happens, a special movie is the perfect tool to rebuild the hype for the series.
Once every several years, a new One Piece movie will hit the theaters. The movie is not simply an anime episode with an extended runtime. It is a big budget movie with an original story that is not even available in the manga, and the quality of the animation itself is also several times above the regular series.
Since it is basically a new One Piece story with enhanced visuals, everybody that has even a tiny bit of interest in One Piece would likely watch it. And surely, some of them would be interested enough to pick up the manga afterwards.
3. Perpetual Freshness
But no amount of anime series and movies would be able to retain the readers and viewers attention if the story itself stays the same. After all, human beings are easily bored and there are literally tons of other series out there. So what makes people stick with One Piece?
That is where Eiichiro Oda, One Piece's author, comes in. One Piece was designed to be a grand adventure right from the start - a journey across the foreign and dangerous seas to become a pirate king.
Along the way, the characters will inevitably come into new places, meet with new people, and experience unique environments, cultures, and ways of life. This is the One Piece story arc.
The story arcs have enough new elements that they are basically mini adventures in and of themselves. Because of this unique nature of storytelling, Oda-sensei is able to keep readers feeling curious and asking for more. That is how One Piece remains perpetually fresh.
2. Clear Objective
Setting up a story that would make every arc feel fresh is certainly not easy. Even so, no matter how novel the experience of each arc is to the readers, everything will quickly fall apart if there's nothing to hold it together. It would just be random adventures from one strange place to the next.
Once again, Oda-sensei already took care of that problem and set up a clear objective for his main characters right from the very first arc, if not the first chapter: to be the pirate king. Everything that happens afterward is solely for that purpose.
This is the one thing that will always guide what the Straw Hat pirate crew will do in any given situation. And every story arc - every mini adventure - brings them closer to that goal. This clear sense of purpose is what makes the readers want to stick around to see how everything will turn out.
1. Multigenerational Fans
One Piece made its manga debut in 1997, so most of its early fans have become proper adults by now. And due to the aforementioned reasons, a good number of them still follow One Piece passionately. And it's only natural to share what you like with other people that you care about, right?
That's why you'll find fathers that give their One Piece collections to their children, college kids who tell their younger siblings to read One Piece, and even coworkers that talk about their favorite One Piece moments during breaks.
That is how One Piece creates multigenerational fans. This is one of the few perks given only to a long-lasting and high-performing manga series. And this is what keeps the excitement alive.
If you look closely into so many great things, more often than not, you'll find that they are somehow destined to be great right from the start. It's as if every possible variable aligns in their favor to make sure they attain such a great height. The same thing happens to One Piece.
From how Oda-sensei decided to build his story, to all the interest in its anime series and movies throughout the years, One Piece has no choice but to be popular. You may think it is impossible for a manga to consistently stay in the top ten nearly 25 years after its debut. And yet, for One Piece, that is not impossible - that is inevitable.
So what do you think? Do you have any other reasons why One Piece is still so popular today that haven't been captured in this list? If so, please don't hesitate to share it in the comment section below.