Eiichiro Oda sends animators to early graves.

Since the beginning of the year, or thereabouts, One Piece has embarked on its most ambitious storyline yet. We’re just over halfway through the series and the characters are geographically halfway through their journey. So we’ve had 8 months now of huge storyline events that dwarf everything that’s come before.

On top of that we’ve had the anime catch up to the start of those huge events, it getting paired with Dragonball Kai in the schedule, the promise of the tenth One Piece film with Oda’s involvement and the promise of anime-only material that ties directly to the manga.

All this has boosted One Piece’s profile something crazy. Already easily the top manga in Japan, its Google Trending has more than doubled since the start of the year. And in the last two weeks, the strip has shifted up into yet another gear.

The last two chapters have been full of huge splash pages full of epic vistas, and more importantly, full of individual characters. Oda’s approached this level of insane crowd scenes before, but the sheer amount of wonderful looking badass weirdos he’s unleashed onto the page in the last two weeks is awe inspiring. The anime has struggled to match this in the past, and I question how well this is going to look when they animate it in a year or so. And how sane the animators will be after animating it.

There’s a couple of other key elements to the impact of the story. There’s a major revelation made in chapter 550 that flips a lot of things on their head, and we finally get to see a character who we’ve been told is powerful for years now, demonstrate that power and actually live up to the hype.

But that’s all for nought without Oda’s illustrations. Not only does he maximise the impact of those important scenes so well, he’s also giving you so many characters that you want to know more about just from one appearance. Why does that guy look like walrus? Why does that guy have clamps for hands? Why is that guy’s beard and hat so ridiculously large? And so on. And the fun thing is that the series has already proven that we will certainly get to see more of some of them. Nothing can ever be dismissed as a single panel throwaway in One Piece, that one guy you saw 9 years ago could end up being one of the most important people in the world!

7 thoughts on “Eiichiro Oda sends animators to early graves.”

  1. Oda has made great progress in what he has been doing. I respect him for that.
    But in the end he disappointed me a great deal.
    In the current Manga Chapter released in Japan a death occurs that turns the world of One Piece upside down. I was always really happy and approved of Oda’s ways of never killing a character, because it somehow represents what people should believe in…that killing is wrong and immoral, that everything isn’t as it seems.
    All the battles, all the action paired with this little saying made Luffy and his crew to something very special. The world of One Piece was something special.
    Though now…with this happening I can only put Luffy towards the rest of the Manga World.
    It happens in every Manga and that seriously upsets me.

    This might be important for future chapters, since the world isn’t made of flowers and happy bunny’s…but I expected him to show us how hard a pirate life can be without loosing a character. To create something unique and amazing compared to other Manga’s.

    Now I see that it just isn’t possible and that my hope was but false.
    Even if Eiichiro Oda is a genius (and I never doubted that when it came to One Piece), he has to rewind and stop right where he is, otherwise I see One Piece on the same level I see Naruto and Bleach on. And actually, that does not make me happy at all.

    1. There’s at least four ways I can see to reverse this current plot turn, though I don’t think he’ll actually undo it any time soon.

      There’s one way which would come out of nowhere that would be incredibly cheap.

      There’s another way that would kind of make sense, but again would be come across as cheap.

      There’s another way that’s been foreshadowed, and I bet he wants you to hang onto that slither of hope between this and the next chapter.

      And finally there’s a way that makes a whole lot of dramatic sense for years down the line. And has been foreshadowed in this arc too.

      1. Oda is the one for surprises, but no matter how much he adores or respects the creators of DBZ or Naruto I doubt that he will make Ace return and that stings.
        Additionally, it must be quite an impact to his fan base, since such a major death can dig graves.
        But what really pains me most of all is the fact that Luffy now shares a common ‘dark past’ and an overused ‘loss of an important person’ with others. I would rather have him steal the Dragonballs and place them into one tiny pile to awaken a Phoenix or something of the like.

        And seriously said, that was a cheap way out of the situation. Really cheap. Oda can do so much better than that. I cannot count the many Manga and Comic books which have had such a scene at least once…even 50 years ago…

        When I first read One Piece it intrigued me.
        I really liked the way Luffy couldn’t be compared to the rest of his crew. He was the only main character I have ever seen without a too bad past and now the present makes me doubt the future.
        If Oda could disappoint me this once, he will surely do it again, I have no doubt in that.
        So I will not get attached to any of the characters, I will simply see his creation as an overused plot device, no matter how great and wonderful One Piece was before hand.

        On another notice, for the fan base situation.
        I stopped eating for two whole days without realizing it. I know that sounds pathetic.
        The discussions and the thoughts about One Piece turning felt heavy in my gut.
        Now, I am not extreme with losses and this was the first time experiencing that a Manga could effect me that much without me putting too much thought towards it. It would be plain stupid to let a loss of an important character change my life. I know I have been reading it for over 5 years, not even the longest, but I am very worried about people who tend to to feel a lot more like the character.
        So I am wondering if Oda has put some thought towards that or if that isn’t as important.
        I know that he cannot constantly think about others, but he managed before hand.

        1. “And finally there‚Äôs a way that makes a whole lot of dramatic sense for years down the line. And has been foreshadowed in this arc too.”

          This here is the truth.

          @Raishi

          I understand where you’re coming from, and I have to tell you that the only reason you think Ace’s death is cheap is because everyone else has done it before. Oda himself has often said that character deaths are overused and a cheap way to get reader emotions…when done WRONG. Oda also loves messing with his fanbase; what better way to mess with them than to kill off the most popular character outside of the SH crew? Furthermore, when people get angry at Ace’s death, they fail to realize that THIS IS WHAT WAR IS REALLY LIKE. It’s the readers own fault with their false expectations going into this conflict that nobody would come out dead.

          If Whitebeard was the only one who died, would you still be this miffed?

          “Hey…when do you think a man dies? Does he die when he’s been shot? No. Does he die when he’s ravaged with disease? No. Does he die when he’s been poisoned? NO! A man dies when, and only when, he is FORGOTTEN!” ~ Dr. Hilruk

        2. Dude, I understand what you feel. I felt the same thing when I first read the chapter. I thought One Piece was supposed to be the winning of Good over Evil, and as I thing we all can see those two doens’t choose flags. I mean Luffy, Whitebeard, Roger, all of those chose to be pirates to search freedom from the world not to do bad thing; and the marines are trying so much to keep the rules from the world that sometimes they are seen as evil. That’s one of the main One Piece themes: what’s true justice? Who are the one that should call it? And in this specific case, we all know that Ace wasn’t bad and that he beared no sin. Good here was represented by Luffy, Ace, Whitebeard and the others and Evil was represented by the marines. And since I thought One Piece woul always represent the tryumph of Good over Evil, I felt really sad. But then I understood what Oda really is. Is a genius and a philosopher. He wants to mark his work with a lot of messages; trying to do an analogy from our real world to the fantasy world; and the truth is: our world is not perfect and so, shouldn’t be the others. At least if you believe, just like I do, that the true message of One Piece cannot be understood by kids under 18~20 (we should not forget that the one writing the series is a man over 30 years old). I think some shocking truth of the world should have entered the story and the death of Ace was just that. One Piece is a masterpiece. I think it surpasses any other work of fantasy, including books or films (yeah, I’m talking about stuff like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or Star Wars). And I must say that I utterly respect Oda has a master of fantasy/fiction, and doesn’t matter how One Piece ends (even if he must kill Luffy or Shanks) That would be a fitting ending for the King of the Fantasy works

  2. I’m terribly sad about Ace dying. I think it’s awful. But, I don’t think Oda’s word has become yet another ‘plot device’. I’ve become far too attached to just stop reading/watching it now. And this doesn’t give Luffy a typical ‘dark’ past either. Because it’s his present. Can you really imagine somewhere in the future Luffy saying something like ‘My past… I don’t want to talk about it.’ Y’know?
    I do get a little defensive of Oda around this. Because people say things like ‘URGH, it’s become like any other battle manga.’ or ‘What a cop out!’
    It isn’t a cop out. Oda didn’t kill Ace because it was easier for him. He killed Ace off because that’s the story. Ace dies. Do you really think that Oda went into this Arc unplanned? Seriously? He was planning it from the very beginning. Ever since Ace gave Luffy his virve card.
    Honestly, I think Oda is incredible. I really respect him, and One Piece is sort of historic in the manga world.
    Oda’s main demographic for his manga, isn’t actually people my (our age, I’m assuming. I’m 17 and have been watching it since I was 14). Sure, a lot of us are that age, because we grew up with One Piece.
    But the majority are probably kids. That’s what Shounen Jump is aimed at. Kids. Ace’s death is a lesson, and it’s symbolic of the war. I think Oda wants people to see that the story is growing up, just as we all are, and just as he is.

    It’s true that I really admired the no-deaths rule that seemed to float around One Piece. But come on, 1 death after all this time… and it’s led by a very interesting arc as well.

    Oda will always continue to be an amazing person in my eyes. *_*

    1. There was news piece on NHK recently that reported that 88% of One Piece’s audience are adults. Which is probably really bad news for Shonen Jump if they don’t find another One Piece sized hit before One Piece ends. When Dragonball and Slam Dunk ended they lost readers by the millions, it’s possible that One Piece is the only thing propping up their current sales figures.

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