Wooooh! Finally just about one of my favorite current titles, on the block of Manga Movable Feast…and yay what a giant this is. This month’s MMF is once again hosted by David Welsh of The Manga Curmudegeon. He also writes a post that links up to past MMF’s which I had participated in four of seven.. and now five of eight.. Happy readings for manga lovers, and interested readers!
One Piece that is by Eichiro Oda, hits the record of outselling Harry Potter in Japan, and the anime/series is probably slated to go on for years. Some comparisons to Dragon Ball were made, down to cross over products, and films. As a fan, though, there are consistent observations, in just how much product and goods there are concerning this series…so what else can I say than to go and make a project of getting into this series, or continuing to be a fan? Going into 55 English volumes, 60 Japanese volumes, and around 400+ episodes, One Piece is such an epic title/journey, that I seriously would encourage any and all to tackle on this series.
I have seen hygiene products, food products, magazine covers, stationary goods, toys, automobile accessories, fashion accessories, and electronic accessories. One Piece covers all types of products.. and from my own collection of manga, art books, shitajikas, figures, DVD’s, CD’s, jigsaw puzzles, electronic accessories, kitchen accessories, I don’t really regret any of it. Even when this blog initially started from around four years ago, it began a small devotion to recapping episodes and purchases made. I even put together a Twitter background recently to push my feelings along.
I am on currently hiatus on watching the anime, and the manga I decided to go on a path of reading two arcs: Waters 7 to Thriller Bark (vol 33-50). I decided to do this for several reasons.
- It covers characters that I like a lot…namely Robin, Franky, and Brooks. There is also a significant growth to the character of Ussop that definitely raised my impression of him.
- There are sufficient themes covered, that makes it a well though out process. Up to this point, there was just the journeying/adventuring, but Waters 7 and Thriller Bark has sufficient plot points.
- Lots of other reviewers in this MMF will be covering other various parts of this long series, I wanted to read a part that made a distinct impression with me.
Just for a bit of a warning, my experience with One Piece is from the anime initially, so reading the manga has definitely made me noticed some details. I am really really glad that Viz did a series acceleration, catching up to the Japanese release, so at this point, the United States is only five books behind Japan. Another warning, this is going to be a post on the assumption that people at least have some knowledge of the series. I don’t believe that I will spoil that much parts of what I have read, but I will probably jump from parts of the series, and all around in general.
Since my initial foray into this series was from the anime, I can definitely say that I have had my eye on the print side of things. During my college years when Shonen Jump began to be sold in the United States, one of the earliest series I read was One Piece, at that time there wasn’t a series acceleration, so reading the manga in English felt way more slower than watching the anime. Still I digress, both mediums have its advantages and disadvantages.
Watching the anime, with a visual action in sight, and the acting talents of the seiyuus. Many people may very well prefer the anime over the manga, but with the manga there are some advantages as well and these are some what I feel are advantages of the anime.
- The manga is the source of what the anime is, so with how visually stimulating the anime is, the manga will always be faster, and so for readers this is an advantage to take in.
- There is an SBS column, where Oda has a question and answer columns, giving insights into the series from his creative or comedic perspective. Comparing this to the columns of Hideaki Sorachi of Gintama, there is definitely more of an organized outline, with the feelings of the mangaka revealed to the world.
- With every chapter title page, there is a mini story within the bigger picture of the manga. In the anime, many characters who’s arcs are finished viewers never really see them again, but Oda definitely is fantastic for building character bases and a clear result of what eventually happens to these characters that gets dropped in the anime. Comparing this with why I dropped Bleach, One Piece has way more developed characters/villians/supporting.
Where to begin?
Walsh has an entry that talks about opinions on where to begin reading. There was a comment that Davy Fights Back might be a good place to start reading this series, yet I disagree with that. I feel that the richness of the adventuring and comradeship is not as really understood if a reader starts from Davy Fights Back, it is already 33 books into the series. So it is my opinion that readers if they want to skip the beginning, start from when the Mugiwara Kaizoku Dan (Strawhat Pirates) leaves East Blue, from Louge Town onward.
Waters 7 includes the ending of the Skypiea arc, to the manga filler of Davy Fights Back. Compared to the anime, there were some parts definitely fleshed out, and other parts muted. It was great to see Zolo/Sanji fight in Davy Fights Back, since I was quite reminded with the opening of the anime. I was debating on whether or not I can put the actions of Waters 7 and Thriller Bark into suitable imagery, and decided that it might be more reflected in the openings from this period in the anime.
Davy Fights Back – I am quite glad that the manga is way more shorter than how the anime dragged on. Even if this filler arc was considered to be comedic, I really didn’t care for Foxy, but compared to other villains.. he’s more of a moron. Now as far as the island is, I felt the island was slightly on the ridiculous side of things. Edo in SBS column definitely mentions the toilet possibility of how a character is stuck on stilts for seven years.
Waters 7 – Entering into the island with a goal of repairing Going Merry, exploring a new island is always a fun aspect in my opinion, mainly because reading of the character’s various interactions with the location, and the locals that they meet. I liked how this island is designed with canals and such. There is an actual emphasis on placement and organization in an urban structure. Personally I am am a fan of urban structures and forms of transportation, so with how Drum Island, Alabasta, and Little Garden were, Waters 7 is definitely a city I want to visit. I am continually reminded of the manga series Aria, since both works/places are inspired by the Italian city of Venice. Since Water 7 sets up for Enies Lobby, the duplicity and treachery of villains get reveals later.
Enies Lobby –I am continually on the mindset that Enies Lobby should have been a separate arc. Putting it all into under the category of Waters 7 Arc pushed the arc count up to around 13 books. It is a collector’s quest, so I can only say that the library is the best friend a person can ask for in terms of going on a binge to read this. So if you skip reading the first couple of books, with Davy Fights Back, that would have lessen the amount of reading.
Enies Lobby was also part where I had a tissue box near my hand continually. The pacing was tight, and the action was just right. So I was either wiping away tears or wringing the tissue, (sighs). I really felt that my heart was on my sleeve for the most part during this arc. I am going on a limb to say either this arc or Alabaster that had me believing firmly that Oda is such a great mangaka.
Also up until this point, Luffy had battled foe after foe, testing his abilities with his devil fruits power. This arc sets the stage of moving Luffy’s strengths into the realm of probable disbelief, if he continues to go on his own ability, Oda writes Luffy with the devil’s luck.
Now for the villains in this one, I really really disliked CP9, of course with the consistent idea that the World Government is there for the regular people, makes the world more gray than black and white, very similar to reality. I am not a big fan of hypocrisy, but with Spanda being introduced, I was so totally cheering at the end of Enies Lobby for what happened to him.
Thriller Bark-With Waters 7, Enis Lobby, and post-Enis Lobby out of the way, the growing crew gets onto a detour from traveling onward at the Florian Triangle that reminds me of the Bermuda Triangle, but ends up running in another potential member as well as another battle to overcome. Up to this point Thriller Bark is another arc I simply faced as another location, it is a ship though that is quite big enough to maybe be mistaken for an island, since there is a castle, forest and grave yard on it. Many location in One Piece reminds me of how small humans really are, and overall, the villains in this one are quite detestable. I wasn’t as fond of Perona and it really gave me a huge laugh to see that she gets defeated by Ussop. At points of the crew’s battle with Oz, there are some funny moments. In the end, Gekko Moriah is set to be a making an appearance again in latter chapters.
Thus this ends my reading quest for the manga at the moment. One reason why I am on hiatus for the anime, is mostly because of a bad worry at Impel Down. I am lucky that most people I know won’t tell me what happened.But with the American release catching up to the manga in Japan. I am getting into the mindset of reading the manga before watching the anime. Also in December, 2010, Oda will be releasing his latest Color Walk, which is the manga artbook series of this series… which I absolutely am drooling to purchase.