In August 1997, a young author Eiichiro Oda debuted his first manga in the Weekly Shonen Jump, a magazine whose target reader are mainly young teenagers. Entitled One Piece, Romance Dawn, no one, not even its creator himself would have predict that this manga would become a worldwide phenomenon. With millions copies sold and translated across the globe, a successful anime adaptation with currently over more than 500 episodes that has itself spread to video games releases and merchandising features, the success of One Piece is something that has pushed its expectations to stratospheric heights with fans of all ages endearing and following the adventures of Luffy and his companions, the Straw hat Crew.
The story follows Monkey D. Luffy, a young man whose body has gained rubber qualites after accidentally eating the Gum-Gum 'devil fruit'. Together with his pirate companions, the Straw Hat Crew, travels the high seas in search of adventures and seeking the elusive treasure 'One Piece'. Finding the One Piece would help achieve Luffy's dream of becoming the next Pirate King which is located somewhere in the the Grand Line, an ocean full of ruthless and powerful pirates that are also looking for this treasure.
The first volume of the manga introduces Luffy and how he attempt to find a crew of his own to set sail and his path will first lead to Roronoa Zoro, a swordsman who eventually will become his first mate and the thief/navigator Nami. As Luffy is never far from troubles, we get a glimpse of his devil fruit abilities and how he use his rubber-like body to fight. This book set the course for the characters journey and bring us to world of One Piece step by step and it does demand patience for new readers to get into the story. Oda has a unique way to tell his story with lots of world-building, flashbacks and expostion about characters and their fighting abilities with lots of twists and turns which all leads to a bigger picture. This renders One Piece as believable world as while we get to see Luffy's journey across the seas and looking to form his own crew, there is also a lot of events happening in the background which undeoubtedly will have a bearing on Luffy's adventure to become the Pirate King. If there is one thing that Oda is mastered is his world-building techniques as each places, islands, peoples or races are all unique possessing their own cultures, myths and histories.
The art style is totally different from other Japanese mangas which at first sight is not appealing to other eyes and but it totally translate with the story Oda wants to tell. A story that blends humour, adventure, friendship and action where and this style makes sense in later volumes as we get to meet new characters and new settings which would have totally affect the story had a more Japanese-oriented style been used. The art form is consistent and flow nicely during action scenes where we get to see the different protagonists using their unique powers. The designs of the characters themselves are flawed to certain extent which can seems weird or ugly because Oda wants to show us that not everthing needs to be perfect or beautiful and and his story will not be influenced by other popular drawing styles or designs. Most characters we do meet are varied from size and shapes and their physical traits are at times used as part of humorous and harmless jokes thats fills the manga pages throughout.
One Piece is a unique and original manga with a mix of humour, action, adventure, character bondings all sets in a vivid and breathing world. It has gripping storyline which does becomes more complex and action-orientated as we follow Luffy's epic journey but which still retain its comedic and adventurous element throughout. The series itself is long, populated with eccentric and unique characters and will need you to invest a lot of time and reading to go along with the ride.
One Piece as it's centre is a Shonen type manga which are mostly targeted towards 10 years old teenagers but what Eiichiro Oda has created is something vast and epic that that has drawn readers of all ages and genders who all has one thing in their minds; follow Luffy and company adventure's till the end even if the end will demand lots of years and patience.
So if you want to enjoy One Piece then what a better way to start from the beginning and prepare for a long adventure
By 2012 this manga has reached phenomenal popularity and if you are a keen anime/manga fan you must have heard about it at least a few times. If you here to finally give this a try I will be glad to stand behind you and give you a great push towards it. Why? Well besides the fact that everyone is talking about it in the anime world and not knowing anything will be annoying and frustrating, you will be missing out a GREAT deal.
At first look the manga may seem quite childish and 'fun'. The art may not be as detailed and mature as many others, and the cover displays bright colours not to mention a smiling kid like boy as the main focus. Now if you are a fan of dark and intruding story linesyou may be thinking of turning around right now. However the saying 'don't judge a book by it's cover' applies here greatly. This manga as well as having funny times is filled with great shonen manga moments. The fights are intense and throughout the series each character is devoped into a perfectl giving you an isight on their personality, past, but also leaving enough mysteries which are uncovered on the way.
The story is about a young boy called Monkey D Luffy which is the idioticly grinning boy on the cover, but even if you find him weird at first, he becomes one of your best friends on your journey through the One piece series. As the books names suggests the manga is centered around a treasure with that name. The story begins when the pirate era once again starts, and everyone goes sailing off to become Pirate King. Luffy is also one of those pirates and on the journey he builds his own crew, strong friendships and new enemies.
This manga truly turns your view on a typical 'pirate' crew. The world of one piece is filled with magical powers (gained through mysterious 'devil fruits'), your not-so-typical sword fighting as well as witty sarcastic battles. Luffy may seem like your cliche shouju protagnist as a happy go lucky boy but will seriously suprise you as well make you absolutly love him.
Overall I would definetly recommend this to a friend, especially anyone who loves shonen jump mangas. Although on average more boys read this (as espected fromo shonen) i would still urge girls to give it a try. I as a girl really enjoy it and would tell you to give it a try.