One Piece: “Luffy… help.”

April 25th, 2010 by | Tags: , , ,

I talked about the shared storytelling techniques in Unforgiven and Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece last month. I was kinda bummed out, because the animated version of that chapter wasn’t online at the time, but Hulu recently put a whole bunch of episodes online, dubbed and subbed. So, re-read that essay and then come back here and watch this fantastic episode of One Piece.

I’d say that this is the main turning point in One Piece, the moment when you know whether or not you’ll like the series. I was interested way before, probably during the brief arc that introduced Zolo, but this here is where Oda’s style and planning start to pay off. Like every shonen manga ever, OP is about friendship and trying your hardest and being the best, but Oda’s use of screwball humor, clever pacing, and willingness to just let loose with the wackiest concepts and characters he can think of puts it a step above Dragon Ball Z or Naruto.

I do think that OP owes a lot to Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball, at least in terms of humor. Dragon Ball Z wasn’t a super serious affair, but it was several orders of magnitude more serious than its frankly ridiculous predecessor. Oda took the nigh-constant humor of Dragon Ball and spruced it up a little, resulting in a series that is a mix of genuinely funny jokes (Luffy’s “Oh, a mystery _____” when confronted with fairly simple ideas never fails to slay me, as does Chopper’s child-like terror on Skypiea), emotional confrontations that aren’t overbearingly emotionally manipulative, and seriously rocking fights.

One Piece is hands-down the best adventure comic.

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5 comments to “One Piece: “Luffy… help.””

  1. Cool article.

    “I do think that OP owes a lot to Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball, at least in terms of humor.”

    This was confirmed by Cross Epoch, where Toriyama essentially told the world “This man is my successor”.

    Also I can’t wait for the insanity of the Summit War to come out here, so you can do a write up for the climax.

  2. Wow. Nami’s voice actress is really, really good.

  3. Great dub for “We Are”, can’t wait for them to eventually get to “Brand New World” and “Share the World”

  4. I really really hate Hulu.
    “Sorry, you are not living in the rest of the world, so we can’t show you shit.” just doesn’t cut it for me. Artificial scarcity sucks.

  5. It’s a very good episode, and a fine adaptation of the story.


    First, I should admit that I just like comics better. Second, I think the anime version needlessly underlines one of the best moments from the comic. There’s no earthly reason for Luffy to deliver that “That’s what friends are for line” when it’s perfectly expressed by the physical action. He sounds like he’s scolding Nami, which is overstated and (in my opinion) exactly, exactly wrong.