At the grand age of piracy, a new adventure is born. Armed with nothing but a rowboat and ambition, Monkey D. Luffy sets out to become king of the pirates. On his adventures, he gathers a crew bit by bit. Along the way, a variety of places are visited, each bringing a new “enemy.” No matter what he faces, Luffy is determined to be ‘King of Pirates.’

As the series gets its foot in the water, the story starts very lightheartedly. It is slightly goofy, but it has many inspiring moments and a lot of great action scenes. As the series grows and matures, it pulls the reader in and creates a sort of invested interest in the events that surround Luffy. The sense of adventure that inspired Luffy never changes. It provides a uniquely refreshing look that makes Luffy and the whole Strawhat crew relatable. A lightheartedness that can be found with close friends and family often shows, which also adds to the sense of danger when the characters are in trouble.

What is unique all characters grow and develop, including the antagonist. The antagonist isn’t just a throw-away-villains. Which makes for a “you are in my way” confrontation. Many of them are affecting many people negatively. There is often a bit of humanity in them that shows up. These moments happen either at the point in the story or later when they call for their re-entrance.

The interaction between the characters is one of the high points of the series. It also is some of the best moments being amongst allies. The main characters have a bond that shows itself in such moments. What is very endearing is the small interactions in the series that enforce their connections. There are things like short panel gags, reactions to their allies’ profound moments or informative moments, or simply those “just friends” moments. This type of storytelling makes the more powerful scenes when they really need support from each other more moving. However, there are many characters and personalities in the series; they are well managed and are executed in ways where this comradery is expressed in many ways, giving an overall rich character-focused experience and the story.

Storytelling is an essential element of a good series, especially one of adventure. Using adventure as the central theme is necessary; the reader is invited to sail with the crew and explore many subjects. It takes the reader on a journey, as seen with the Strawhats. The crew’s involvement is always a simple “that antagonist is in our way” approach, which brings a critical look into the characters and makes them unique. What makes One Piece interesting is that no matter what happens, how the story advances, and what threatens them, the Strawhats are the same. Maybe they learned to love more, may even trust more, or perhaps they gain new techniques to help them be stronger. Every bit of who the readers saw is still there, no matter what is happening in the world around them. That alone gives the story another compelling aspect.

The art of the story has a unique style and has many charms. The character designs are as deep and as unique as Eiichiro Oda creativity runs. The detail in the artwork provides a real sense of being there. Background detailing is where many crucial moments in the story come out, including those minor character interactions throughout the story. Groups of people in scenes seem to be individually worked on with the anime. Emphasis details such as a simple drawing of the two characters alone in a single panel or even using two pages to create a spread to create a serious connection between characters adds to the moments being created.

So, for what it’s worth: One Piece is one of the greatest enjoyments of my media exploring life. It provided many moments when I was brought to tears, but no time when I wasn’t brought back up. One Piece gave me an incredible experience right down to a recent mommy-daughter movie, “date,” Where I finally got mom to talk One Piece even if it was “so who this?” “I liked that.”

Review by Raine Leggett of Raine And Reads

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