Monday, October 12, 2009

One Small Piece of Anime Heaven

One Piece, it was almost assuredly love at first sight. Not only is it my most beloved and cherished of anime series, but for me and many others;it defines what an anime series should be. To such an extent in fact, One Piece has become an epic in its own right. Ok, so that’s more than enough fan speak for now, I don’t want you to get tired of me before you finish reading this post. So let me cut out all the unnecessary fat, and let’s get down to business. Yes, I believe One Piece to be worthy of praise, and yes, I am writing this post in the hopes of convincing, if only a few of you, to watch One Piece. But I’m not naive, and I’m most certainly not stupid, well at least I hope I’m not. I also know that not everyone reading this post is a fan of anime, moreover, I know that every anime fan that is reading this post, already has a favourite anime. So in the attempts of not angering anyone, and therefore losing my cause, I am going to try and motivate my point.

One Piece is story which revolves around the exploits and characters of the Straw Hat Pirates. Pirate anime, originality from the get go. The Straw Hat Pirates are a crew 9, who consist of:

Luffy (Captain)
Zoro (Swordfighter)
Nami (Navigator)
Usopp (Sniper I guess)
Sanji (Cook)
Chopper (Docter)
Robin (Archaeologist)
Franky (Shipwright)
Brook (Musician)

A normal enough crew name wise, but as you can see, there is clearly nothing ordinary about them. Before I make an attempt at explaining what makes this particular crew or any other character in One Piece, unique; it would probably be wise of me to explain the setting of which this anime finds itself. One Piece is set in a world of fantasy, where the King of Pirates, Gold Roger has been captured and executed. But before his death, he had announced to the world that all the wealth and power he had obtained, a treasure of epic proportions, could belong to anyone who finds One Piece. And while the anime still has not alluded to what One Piece is, many fans have put forward their own hypothesis as to what it is. Now as you can imagine, this announcement had not only set off a chain reaction of interest and desire for One Piece, but started the age of pirates. The story is based upon a tiered plot system, where not to be too confusing, many different sub-plots, story arks and characters are involved in their own individual events/circumstances, while still maintaining relevance with the story as a whole.

A majority of the story takes place in the Grand Line, a mystical strip of ocean running along the equatorial centre of the world. In this ocean, and owing to its mysterious nature, each individual island can consists of its own unique climate, environment and mystery. For example, one may be under continuous winter and populated almost exclusively with people; while another may contain a jungle environment, populated with giant animals and a more advanced civilisation. Baring in mind of course, these islands could be considerably close to each other, while never actually influencing one other at the same time. Now of course, without a conflict of forces, the effectiveness of the story would quickly be rendered mute. And in One Piece, there are two forces at play; the pirates searching and battling for One Piece, and the second force is the World Government trying to end the age of pirates, making them the counter balance to the equation.

This being shonen, you’d expect some type of special powers or abilities with which this anime may individualise itself. And of course, you’d be right. In One Piece there are fruit known as Devil Fruit, these fruit have the ability to grant a unique power to anyone who consumes one; and although that person loses the ability to swim in water, it usually makes that individual superior to anyone without an ability. As you would expect, a few of the Straw Hat Pirates have Devil Fruit powers which I would love to explain. But for reasons of respect for the show, and that I don’t believe I could properly do the crew justice in so short a post; I will leave that up to discovery.

So, what makes the Straw Hat Pirates so unique? I don’t think I could do that question as much justice as watching the series could. What makes One Piece such a great anime? Now this is an answer I think I could do justice, and without the worry of introducing any spoilers. There is no simple answer as to why One Piece is so loved, for one thing, it has unrivalled originality in its setting and characters. Of the hundreds of characters that have been introduced, each one is almost completely unique in both appearance and personality. Not only is the story is great, but the setting that is the Grand Line owes itself to completely new experiences and stories every few episodes. The characters have a real strength behind them; you easily believe their motivations, emotions and ambitions. But all this is trivial compared to the real reason to love this anime. And that is the emotions you experience when watching it; I have cried, laughed, got angry and sad while watching One Piece. You don’t watch One Piece, you live it.

Hopefully I’ve enticed you enough to give One Piece a try, you won’t go wrong. And even if you’ve never watched an anime series before, or more than that, you’re completely new to the whole idea of anime. I say to you, no, I plea to you; give One Piece a try; because you can’t go wrong when the first anime you watch may just happen to be your favourite. gr33n_FIEND


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