Let's Set Sail! Diving into One Piece
Shonen Jump has brought us a ton of lovely adventures over the years. From Dragonball to Hunter X Hunter, it’s a hall of fame for western audiences’ viewing pleasure for years. Thanks a lot, VIZ Media.
Since beginning my adventure with the SJ app, I’ve been on a mission to catch up on series that I’ve been watching so far. I smashed through Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba first, 200 chapters knocked out easy. Try spoiling any twists for me if you want, but I’m an expert right now, so good luck. It’s swords, slashes, and secrets from page one and doesn’t slow down one bit. Check it out if you want to indulge in heartfelt moments with a side of horror.
I’ve also caught up on One Punch Man, eagerly awaiting the chapters to close out the Monster Association/Garou Arc that is started in season 2 of the anime. If you’re not familiar, check it out for a comedic view at the life of the world’s strongest man, defeating all his foes in a single punch. It’s honestly more about the heroes and villains surrounding him, than it is about Saitama being the greatest, which is what makes it such an interesting ledger.
But… Now I’m about to embark on a whole new journey I feel like is necessitated by my immersion in the Con Life culture. On one fateful day, I was scrolling through the app looking for new fun to get into and then I saw it. The world’s longest running manga, One Piece, was just sitting there at chapter 994 taunting me.
“I’m legendary,” it whispered to me.
“But you look weird,” I whispered back.
“You love Sanji!” it spoke silently.
“I mean yeah, but..”
“BUT NOTHING! It doesn’t have almost a thousand chapters for no reason,” it spat back at me in my mind’s eye.
I sat there staring at Luffy’s gigantic mouth and outstretched arms, determined to sail the Grand Line and become the King of Pirates. Eiichiro Oda’s voice (Or whatever it sounds like in English) still whispered to me “It’s worth iiiiiiit.”
“But it looks weird,” I thought. I’ve never been a fan of the animation in the anime, but Luffy’s smile sitting above Chapter 994 intrigued me. I asked myself, If I started reading One Piece at that exact moment, could I catch up in time for chapter 1000? It was a harrowing trial I grew eager to meet. If Luffy can find Gold Roger’s sacred treasure, I can blow through a bunch of reading with gusto and determination!
Then reality hit me and I’ve accepted that I *might* not get to 1000 by the time it drops (Which at the time of writing is looking like mid January). So now I’m just reading One Piece as a new series. You, my friends are going to join me on this journey as well, so strap in, we’re only at chapter 13.
What’s going on so far? Well, we’ve met Luffy, our main character and learned of the root of his wanderlust. Whatever island nation it was he grew up on, they were frequented by a band of some of the most gracious pirates to step ashore there. The same band of pirates leave Luffy with his iconic hat and the rubber limbs he’s known for and they teach him the importance of being a great man. Their captain, Shanks, was able to brush off a little browbeating from some mountain bandits and go about his day. But when they return to bully Luffy and the townspeople, the crew does what pirates do and make quick work of their trial.
Fast forward and Luffy wants to set out on his own to find his own pirate crew. Starting from nothing, he needs a first mate and Navigator, not to mention his own ship. Between 2 and 13, the chapters bring in the most senior members of the Straw Hat crew. Their first trial is an oppressive Naval officer who rules his crew with an iron fist. The next, a clown themed pirate with abilities similar to Luffy’s. Already, we’re dealing with blurred lines of morality from page 1, and the juxtaposition of the Naval officer and clown Pirate as foes to this ragtag gang of pirates is interesting. People expect the military to be a force for good, yet the first interaction is framed in fearful authority. Similarly, clowns are tools for joy and happiness and One Piece brings us one whose insanity gives off distinct Joker Inspired insanity vibes. The straw hat crew is shaping up to be one of the most benevolent teams of pirates if this is how they frame their first foes.
I don’t want to get too into it, there’s lots of stuff to unpack and if you wanna check out One Piece, I’d hate to be that guy that spoils the critical plot points. That’s why I started reading manga more heavily again anyway, those Demon Slayer spoilers just hit a bit differently when you’re actively trying to experience the series without speculation or spoilers. For now, my sights are set on the end of this Buggy the Pirate adventure. I have a lot of lifting to do before I get to 1000 chapters so we’re going to have tons to talk about.
Have you started a new series recently? How do you handle spoilers? Let us know in the comments and we’ll see what everyone’s getting into!