Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Unpopular Opinion: I don’t Love One Piece

I'd read Knight Piece


Drop the pitchforks! You know you have them. Don’t hide them. Drop them.

Okay. Better.

Now, let's begin.

One Piece is a manga that doesn’t need introduction. Japan’s routinely top selling manga and a favorite of many all over the world. The tale of Luffy’s quest to become a Pirate King has won over many with its creative setting, wacky characters, and interesting powers.

Overall, I would call it good.

Not great. Just good. At best.


Here’s the thing, most of the things that are a hit with others and that make people love One Piece don’t really make that connection with me.


Law is Best Post Time Skip Character
If I have to say where does One Piece start to lose me, it’s here. The Strawhat pirates are the characters through which we see the world of One Piece.

None of them really grabs me.

Luffy is… well, he is an idiot, which is not really a bad thing. The problem is it interferes with his characterization. He is barely a person beyond the usual cheery, cartoonishly stupid pirate we see, which is a shame because there is more to Luffy than just that. Luffy, especially early Luffy and Impel Down Luffy, has some interesting sides to him.

Problem is, they are not really there most of the time.

Ussop Standing up like a man only to wimp out hundreds of chapter later.

With the exception of their “recruitment” arc, most Strawhats are lacking in development through the manga with some exceptions, Ussop being a notable one. 

Sadly, there are some problems there as well.

For example, look at the recent arc. God Ussop should be cool and all, but this development comes after a moment where his characterization takes several steps back with him running like a coward. I will admit this was a particularly low moment for One Piece.

Like, seriously low. 

Seriously, what was up with that? Oda is better than that.

Expectations and Pathos

Greatest Moment in One Piece History
Oda likes to use Pathos.

He appeals to our emotions. He is good at that. He is great at that. He knows how to make you hate a guy. He knows how to make you sad.

He also knows how to play on those expectations to make your cheer.

When Luffy punches Eneru, you cheer.

When Luffy punches the Heavenly Dragon dude, you couldn’t be happier.

Oda worked to make you hate those guys and the satisfaction of seeing them get what they deserve is great. His exaggerated art style only adds to this effect.

The only half works with me. It is fun the first time, but it loses impact over the course of the manga. One Piece, for the most part, will give you what you want. Luffy will do all those badass things and hit all those people.

To me that lost its charm a while ago.

Yes, I realize this is a weird reason to dislike something.


Momonosuke. Superior!
Travel. Find Island. Adventure. Go For Next Island.

The standard One Piece arc. A style that works sometimes and doesn’t work others.

I’m a character guy.

I need things to be relevant to the characters to care; so arcs in One Piece are hit or miss depending on the level of connection they have with the Stawhats.

For example, I could not care less about Thriller Bark.

The entire time I just wanted things to be over.

One the other hand, I liked the CP9 (despite the CP9 being overall rather boring villains) because of how important it was for the Strawhats to rescue Robin.

Plus, the epic team up and wide scale assault.

For similar reasons, I am not really caring about the current arcs in One Piece. Fishman arc was a low moment in One Piece history all things considered. Dressrosa is better in general terms, but it is still lacking that emotional connection.

As an aside, Alabasta is my favorite One Piece arc. It’s the one moment where all its strengths like up just right.

Overall though, yeah, not crazy about One Piece.

You can take the pitchforks out now, but I fled 35 minutes ago.

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