One badass pirate crew, one epic journey and one thousand episodes. One Piece is approaching a major milestone this coming week with its 1000th episode about to air. One of the most consistently highly-rated anime shows, One Piece is a monstrous masterpiece; monstrous because of its sheer length, breadth and depth (did we mention 1000 episodes?), and masterpiece because of… well, its sheer length, breadth and depth.
A show like this can be quite daunting for those new to anime. Hell, even veterans raise their eyebrows and stay wary. There are also plenty of people who argue that One Piece isn’t worth the pay off and, while they’re entitled to their opinions, we think all you potential One Piece watchers should get to hear the argument in favour as well before you make your choice (while totally deconstructing the critique for it, of course). So because we understand that 1000 episodes is a lot to commit yourself to, we’re going to break down why we think you should dive in with both feet: because One Piece is one hundred percent worth it.
The 1000-Episode Journey
The No. 1 con we’ve heard about One Piece is that it’s way too long. Well, much like the ocean its set in, One Piece is long, broad and deep. While this may make some think twice, it’s a pro in our books. It is definitely a time-consuming watch, but the show’s run has benefits that outweigh the one (literally, just one) con regarding length. It allows for each and every character (and we do mean every, from MCs to extras) to be fleshed out and developed, it gives the narrative time for some solid world-building, which makes the lore so much more interesting, and it allows the show to build momentum, which makes every tear-jerking scene, every badass takedown, and every silly gag hit the spot that much harder.
And while these are all the great benefits of a long-running anime, the most important one is that it makes the show totally binge-worthy. Bingeing is a guilty pleasure we all partake in (even if we say we don’t). The downside of a binge is that it comes to an end all too soon, leaving us wanting more. One Piece has more. With 1000 episodes under its belt, it’s virtually impossible to binge the entire thing in one (or one hundred) sittings. So if you jump into this one, we guarantee you’ll be satisfied for a loooong time.
Friends, Enemies, Frenemies and Everything In-Between
Rubber Human Monkey D. Luffy and his rag-tag crew are just few of the many, many, many colourful characters that make up the world of One Piece. While the Straw Hats alone have fascinating backstories like Nico Robin, who at the age of 8 had a 79,000,000-belly bounty; Tony Tony Chopper who’s both a physician and an anthropomorphic reindeer; and Brook, who’s a reanimated blues-loving skeleton musician, the intrigue isn’t limited to the MCs. Villains like the Shichibukai, Blackbeard, Rob Lucci and CP 9 all hold their own against our protagonists both literally (the list of epic fights is endless) and literarily in the story. Motivations and histories all serve to establish our rotten baddies as, well, rotten, and thus all the more vindicating to defeat. Even side-characters are given time to shine, with their storylines taking centre-stage on par with the protagonists (like Boa Hancock and the Kuja Pirates). That and every single character seems to have an enviable power, even the irrelevant ones (real talk: there are no irrelevant ones) so how can it not be cool?
Warning: Danger Ahead!
And on that note, you know what an OP character means: Epic fight scenes! From Sea Kings in the Calm Belt to floating islands with pseudo-gods to a Marine Admiral who bicycles across the ocean, life on the Grand Line is danger-laden and thus, chock-full of powerful people to deal with said dangers (more often than not, they are the dangers). From Devil Fruit users to Rokushiki and other martial arts, the sheer number of variables in both ability and circumstance makes every confrontation uniquely epic even if it’s against the same opponent (a lá Buggy).
From Zoro’s Santoryu to Frankie’s Coup de Vent to Sanji’s Black Leg Style, novel abilities lead to distinctive fighting styles which all look undeniably cool when brought to life on the screen. The more you watch, the more you’ll find yourself shouting out attack combos as you sit at the edge of your seat.
We already explored Con No.1 earlier, and while we have definitely clocked in those pros, we should be open to alternative views (total maturity, right?). So here’s Con No. 2: Pacing. Admittedly, the show does get slow at times, but guess what? All anime has filler, and dealing with it is an easy fix: skip it! We think that the filler is a good break though, because it can get pretty intense.
Con No. 3: The Animation. Come on, it started in the 90s! Of course the animation isn’t going to be great in the early parts of the anime. It even used a 4:3 aspect ratio. But as time passed and animation techniques developed, it significantly improved, so much so that the most recent storyline, the Wano Arc, has film quality animation! And for those of you interested in the hows of anime, you get the satisfaction of watching a medium develop all through one show (yeah, win-win!).
Con No. 4: It’s childish shounen. Yes, its demographic is shounen but One Piece is anything but childish. While the story takes its time to mature and does start off as a fun action show, it touches on significantly darker themes which do unfold and develop in a manner appealing to more mature audiences. Genocide, corruption, exploitation, communal violence, classism, torture, censorship, these are just some of the topics One Piece touches upon. It takes on serious topics with the gravitas they deserve, so while some of it may be fun and games (literally in the case of the Foxy Pirates), that’s not all it is!
There you have it! That’s our case for starting One Piece even though its already at 1000 episodes. Action-packed fight scenes, heart-wrenching emotional vulnerability, and side-splitting comedy in a balance that’s not at all disorienting (plot twists aside). So whether you decide on a hybrid approach with a manga-anime combo or ‘One Pace’ it by skipping the filler, or decide to go all in the OG way (A+ for those who do), give One Piece a try. You definitely won’t regret it.
And for those of you who disagree, One Piece is awesome, change our mind (or if you agree, let us know) in the comments below!