One Piece Today it reaches 1000 chapters and I have the feeling that I could get rich if during the next few hours they gave me a euro every time someone starts talking about the laziness that such long animes give. All of us who keep the series up to date have been through that. We all had a first moment of doubt before letting go, hoisting sails and throwing ourselves into the sea. A moment of hesitation that usually comes many, but many years after having met Luffy.
Because we pay more or less attention when we cross paths, the echo of their exploits usually awakens the memory of that first meeting. Memories of when the next King of the Pirates he was just a rookie, a freshwater buccaneer plowing through the extinct Fox Kids, or maybe Jetix, or K3, Nou 2, ETB and TVG. Maybe even the dangerous waters of Telecinco. The fact is that we all end up feeling his call, a flash of nostalgia and curiosity that prompts us to speculate on how long it may take to reach the Merry, and at the same time, we have all complained at the time of the resulting figure, losing the desire to try and postponing the trip again and again.
In my case, over the years I no longer had to hunt down the Merry, but rather the Sunny. They came to me spoilers from distant islands, from chapters too advanced to care about. Deaths that were said to be moving, wanted posters with strange faces, incorruptible words like gear, poneglyph, shichibukai, right O younkou. I wondered if he had missed the opportunity to accompany the straw hats. If it weren’t too many chapters, too stuffy. Or worse, if he wasn’t too old or too busy. Because there is never a shortage of excuses for those who seek them.
“Too many chapters, too much stuffing, too long to catch up … The 1000 episodes of One Piece just feel like ‘too much’ before they start. Afterwards, too little.”
And yes, we are not going to fool ourselves. It takes time to catch up, and there are times that can be uphill. The community will always be divided by the schism of time skip, Oda is less and less embarrassed to show himself as a dirty old man and some story arcs like those of Skypiea, Thriller Bark, the Isla Gyojin O Punk Hazard they still give me chills of sheer stupor. Nor do I think I will ever cry again as much as I did with the saga of Water 7. But with everything, I am going to tell you a secret: these 1000 chapters of One Piece only crave “too many” when it has not yet shipped heading to the new world. When you already glimpse Laugh Tale on the horizon they are also too much, but too little. The best is yet to come and although it does not seem to be the case, I wish we had another 1000 episodes ahead.
Because far from what it might seem, the series reaches its thousandth episode in a state of grace. Since i started the bow of wano, animation has experienced the biggest quality leap in its history. Never in its more than twenty years in broadcast has it been so ambitious and careful on a visual level. With the help of Tatsuya Nagamine (responsible for the movies One Piece Z and Dragon Ball Super: Broly), Toei Animation it has revitalized the work and banished any signs of fatigue. Between the technical advances and the drawing and design of what happens in the country of Wano, a continuous tribute to Hokusai and japanese painting ukiyo-e, the animation of One Piece is shining like never before and is capable of looking from you to you to anyone.
But if visually we are enjoying more than ever, at the plot level things are even better. We are before one of the highlights of the anime. Wano seems to be going to close plots that have been dragging on for years and presumably will lay the foundations of what will be the final stretch of One Piece. The long-awaited battle against Kaido and the revenge of Kinemon, baited for years (Punk Hazard —2013—, Dressrosa —2014—, Would —2016—); the resolution of the Pirate Alliance with Law and the Worst generation (in precarious balance since 2012); the last disagreement with Big Mom and the definitive incorporation of Jinbe (recurring themes from the arc of the Isla Gyojin, from 2011). Wano is the conclusion of more than a decade of intrigue, what we have been dreaming of seeing from the time skip from chapter 516. Luffy vs. the New World.
Speaking from that time machine that allows me to see the future (that is, the manga), my voice does not tremble when promising that this chapter 1000 is just the starting gun to a conflict that will be as remembered and acclaimed as the Marineford War. Not only looming the best battle of the series (true 2 vs 5) and the best fights of many mugiwaras, but a continuous becoming of power ups for the protagonists, impossible to predict script twists and fundamental narrative advances for the series finale. And above it should be remembered that the Wano arc comes to surpass the already exceptional seasons of Dressrosa and Whole Cake Island. Has the anime ever accumulated three sagas in a row of such a level during these 22 years? Even with the breaths of Would and Levels in the middle, It has a full luster. Not to mention the recent flashback upon Oden, Barbablanca and Gol D. Roger, one of the most beautiful, emotional and revealing of One Piece.
“I can’t think of a better time to start or resume One Piece. You have to shake off prejudices and laziness from above.”
I honestly can’t think of best time to start or resume One Piece. Because even if those who sign up for the first time arrive with Wano concluded (and it remains to be seen, it would be rare for it to end in 2022), they would land just in time for one piece act three. A final stretch in which my spyglass glimpses the visit to Elbaf, the reunion with Shanks, the final war against the World Government, the expected duel with Kurohige and the passage through the last island of the Grand Line, with the discovery of One Piece and the proclamation of Luffy as King of the Pirates. And I don’t even think it’s going to happen in that order! As will be the awakening of the akuma not my of Luffy? What happened during the lost century? Are the D. and the One Piece what we all expect after learning the theory of the sake de Binks? With which of the straw hats will Oda end up to break our hearts for life? There will be a new time skip as an epilogue?
It is difficult not to sound like a fan who has been carried away by excitement and illusion with such a horizon before us. But even more difficult is creating something that, 1000 chapters later, still provokes your followers the same desire and the same silly smiles of the first day. Happiness is seeing the Crunchyroll and Toei Animation logos appear on your screen every Sunday. That is why you have to put it in value and shake off prejudices and laziness from above. One Piece has reached a thousand episodes, but it does so being even more recommended than when it had half and with the best is yet to comer. Come with me, let’s go now, this is going to start …