“On To Adventure!” – One Piece (manga) – 9/10 Black Cats

A true friend freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeably. ~William Penn

Mangaka: Eiichiro Oda

Genre: Action/Adventure/Shounen

Review Status: Incomplete (20 Volumes/? Volumes)

Licensed: Yes, this manga is licensed in the US

Art: It’s definitely more along the lines of traditional cartoon art than many of its counterparts. However, this allows for far more unique character designs than most manga. If you’ve read or seen Osamu Tezuka, then you’ll have no problem with this series.

Summary: Leffy has always wanted to be a pirate- and when he’s old enough, he takes the first chance he gets! Starting out with a barrel and some luck, his adventures take him to a few places where he gains crewmates and a ship. When he finally reaches the Grand Line, a sea that’s legendary because only the toughest of the pirates can survive on it, he becomes embroiled in the wars between the pirate lords, is chased by the navy, and has to deal with all the crazy things that can happen both on the ocean and the islands!

Review: This is me, writing about a manga that I said I’d never read but got out from the library since they have every volume published to date, and saying that it’s not the disaster I thought it would be. Actually, this is a really good shounen, and there’s a reason it’s one of the top anime and manga. There’s a distinct dearth of good pirate-related anything outside of Pirates of the Carribean, and One Piece manages to be successful where so manga have failed.

Memorable characters are a dime a dozen, from Buggy the Clown to Jango the hypnotist, and Nami the thief to Coby the budding Marine. With their own ambitions and dreams, strange powers, and fun abilities, they all make a mark. The main characters get more development than a number of the sides, but they’re the main characters. Some of the stories are downright tragic, but make the characters stand out with believable motivations and flesh them out into people you can get behind.

The setting is also an incredible test of the imagination. There is nothing too wacky to make an appearance- and seem totally normal in the world that Oda has created! There’s an unending amount of abilities and powers, which makes this fun as you see what is going to come up next. The varied cultures of each of the islands also gives this a lot of variety that you won’t see in a lot of anime or manga.

Does it have some issues? Yes- there was one instance where I could tell a power had been written in since it would have come in handy earlier (thankfully it was an enemy that will never be seen again), but in the grand scheme of it all, it really seems pretty minor- the same issue is avoided hard both before and after that incident. Luffy is a typical happy-go-lucky protagonist, oddly different from his counterparts simply because he wanted to go on an adventure and followed his dreams instead of having a sad or tragic past motivating him. And then there’s the attack names that are called out during battle.

It is a shounen, though, so I can’t say that I’m surprised. And even with those little things, One Piece still manages to be fun and exciting. I can’t wait for the next adventure!

Overall, this is a fun, exciting series that I’m definitely going to be keeping up with.

Recommended: 11+. There’s rarely death, or if there is, it’s implied. There’s violence- kicking, punching, some stabbing occasionally. Nothing terribly gory or violent, but it’s there. Some of it is comedic violence that you’d find on Cartoon Network. Language-wise, ‘crap’ is said quite a number of times. I can’t remember anything else. One time a villain uses his abilities to transform into Nami and opens her shirt to show the boys what’s underneath. He attempts the same tactic a second time but doesn’t get very far. There is no nudity actually on the page. Other than that, there’s nothing that wouldn’t be out of place on the beach or even in some cartoons.

Other titles you might enjoy:
Fairy Tale (anime and manga)
Toriko (anime and manga)
Groove Adventure Rave (manga)
Jing: King of Bandits (manga)


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