Both launched at the end of the 1990s in the famous Weekly Shōnen Jumpthese two series have shaped the manga in their image and have risen to the podium of the biggest hits in history.
Even today, the historic rivalry between naruto and One Piece continues, although the first ended nearly eight years ago. These two series have each profoundly changed the perception of manga and imposed their mark in the canon of the genre. When we ask the youngest what their manga preferred, it is often one or the other of these series that stands out. They respectively started their publication in 1997 for One Piece and 1999 for naruto. Their success obviously created rivalries. However, the two sagas are not lacking in similarities.
The call to adventure versus the importance of home
In One Piece, variety is the key word, whether in locations or characters, with each story arc having new things to offer. The story is a straight line towards the horizon, towards a goal, the One Piece, the ultimate treasure.
In narutoeverything revolves around Konoha – the main character’s village – and often similar decorations (forests, plains, etc.). Ninjas work for their village and protect it. They are attached to it and do everything to safeguard its safety.
It is an advantage for One Piecewhich is completely renewed at each stage of the journey of its protagonists, but naruto is anchored in a more realistic context (even if it is fantasy pure and hard) with a political functioning closer to ours.
An omnipresent morality
If there is one thing that is important in these two universes, it is the lessons that their main characters, heroes with pure hearts and with many values, draw from their adventures. Each of the authors has an ideology to defend: for Eiichirō Oda, the author of One Pieceis equality between peoples. Throughout the manga, Luffy fights against the powerful, the elite, and the highest representatives of the depicted universe, most often in defense of the oppressed.
Naruto fights to prove that predispositions and determinisms do not exist, that anyone can reach the top, even if they start from much lower than the others. With the latter, the identification is immediate because, at the beginning of the manga, Naruto has everything to learn. He climbs the stages one by one, often failing, but succeeding through the strength of his work. This is an aspect that is missing in One Piecewhere the main character is rarely defeated or struggled.
Anime: rewarding fillers versus boring length
anime adaptations of these two mangas there is a particularity: the episodes are released every week, without interruption, following the thread of the manga. Except that an anime episode is often too long to contain a chapter. The publication in anime can therefore catch up with that of the manga. To combat this, each series has had its technique.
naruto multiplied the special episodes, with a new scenario, while One Piece slows the pace of its episodes by extending each action, so that the duration corresponds to that of a chapter. There is clearly one technique much better than the other. With its specials, naruto showed what the manga never does: the daily life of ninjas, their missions, their functioning, etc. More often than not, the untold stories were even very interesting to follow… Whereas in One Piece, the extended episodes are boring. It’s no wonder viewers get tired of seeing each static shot last for several seconds or each run being endless.
Legacy: shovelful aftershocks against undisputed leadership
Given that One Piece and naruto are the two biggest successes of manga story, it is not surprising to see regularly released works greatly influenced by these two titles. However, there is one that has had a much bigger impact on the genre than the other, and that is naruto. Just take a look at the biggest headlines of the moment: My Hero Academia and BlackClover are greatly inspired by this title.
The trend is less strong on the side of One Piece, as if his leadership was such that no one dared to touch it. Especially since the story is still far from overunlike naruto. And if the themes of naruto can easily be transposed into other universes, those of One Piece are so barred that it is difficult to imagine seeing similar series appear one day.
The impact in pop culture
Who says great success, necessarily says derivative products, spin-offs and entry into popular language. You must have seen someone run their arms backwards, like Naruto, or shout: “I will be the king of the pirates”, like Luffy. These two series marked an entire generation that grew up with them, who inspired them. Today, their impact can be seen in their ubiquity, whether in bookstores, with their spin-off series, in video games where they have their flagship titles and on many other media (novel, theater, live-action, etc.).
With all these oppositions, difficult to navigate. These two manga have left their mark on this art that is manga so much that it is almost impossible to decide between them. By their length, they are both the kind of works with which one grows and towards which one always ends up coming back, by nostalgia or because nothing better has been done to date. Impossible, therefore, to designate a big winner in this duel of titans.