One Piece is now “One Piece Z”

Image for article titled One Piece has finally become One Piece Z

Image: Eiichiro Oda/SHUEISHA Inc.

Eiichiro Oda plays a very long game. Everyone who knows and loves One Piece knows this. The popular manga has been dropping hints for 25 years and planting the seeds of change. That change has arrived this weekend and it is so radical that it has caused not a little division among the fans.

Image for article titled One Piece has finally become One Piece Z

Image: Eiichiro Oda/SHUEISHA Inc.

If you are not familiar with One Piece, I will summarize in one line what has happened: Luffy has received his hair transformation. His hair, normally black and straight, has become a kind of mass halfway between smoke and a kind of fluid. Any manga fan already knows what that means. The change is a before and after in the character and in the series.

Luffy, in the new Joyboy mode or power level 5 (Chapter 1044).

Luffy, in the new Joyboy mode or power level 5 (Chapter 1044).
Image: Eiichiro Oda/SHUEISHA Inc.

Hair changing is kind of a commonplace for Japanese comics. The most notorious cosmetic change was, of course, that of Goku. The passage from black hair to yellow and spiky hair not only meant the jump from him to the powerful Super Sayan form. This change of hair is far from exclusive to Dragon Ball. I star themnists of Naruto, Bleach, Yu Yu Hakusho or Demon Slayer they have gone through similar alterations that represent their increased power.

Just the fact that Monkey D. Luffy, the funny straw hat protagonist who wants to become king of the pirates, to have obtained this change after no less than 25 years is remarkable in itself. But it is by no means a sudden change. Oda had this in mind since at least 2011 (probably way back) when she first mentioned a character named Joyboy. The detail that has left some special fansreally melodrousamatic most unsettling is the fact that although Luffy is now more powerful than ever, he has also become much more goofy.

I could be writing about One Pice forever, but I’ll try to explain briefly. In the manga there is something called the Devil Fruits. If someone eats one of these mythical fruits, he receives extraordinary powers in exchange for a single curse: not being able to swim. The Moku-Moku no Mi, for example, allows its user to control smoke or turn into smoke. The Neko-Neko No mi fruit turns its user into a kind of wereleopard with increased strength, agility, and speed. The fruit that Luffy ate was the Gum-Gum, and what he did was turn him into an elastic character capable of extending his limbs to ridiculous lengths or inflating parts of his body among other things. The epic battles Luffy has participated in cannot hide the fact that he is a visible power.usually ridiculous.

Luffy drinks a huge amount of water to face a sand enemy in chapter 122.

Luffy drinks a huge amount of water to face a sand enemy in chapter 122.
Image: Eiichiro Oda/SHUEISHA Inc.

What has just come to light in the last chapter published this weekend (and I must emphasize that we are talking about chapter 1,044 of the series) is that Luffy did not eat a Gum-Gum fruit, but an even rarer fruit and legendary that made him the embodiment of a mythical figure called Joyboy. The character, by the way, is based on a real figure, a Javanese monarch (from the island of Java) of the twelfth century called Joyoboyo. You don’t need to know the latter. The bottom line is that Joyboy is supposed to bring joy, laughter and freedom to humanity, often using powers that fall squarely in the realm of comedy.

What Luffy and millions of readers around the world thought were rubber powers are actually cartoon powers. Perhaps a better way to describe it is Bugs Bunny-like powers. As the venerable rabbit from Warner Bros, Luffy can literally bend reality to his whim by following only what his imagination and ability to have fun dictate.

ANDhe new recurring villain from the series (a kind of chinese dragon giant named Kaido) fires a torrent of energy at Luffy in true Godzilla style. Luffy, without stopping laughingr in his new Joyboy form (better known as power level 5) simply stretches the ground to create a trench and block the lightning just like Bugs Bunny can get out of a frame or Coyote stay suspended on the air because he does not know that the ground has given way under his feet.

This incredible revelation that took 25 years to cookleaving has upset many fans. Ironically, some people think that turning Luffy, the pirate with a funny power and absurd that he only wants to be the king of the pirates in Luffy, the chosen one to save the world, makes him less original. The theme of the prophesied chosen one is another common place in anime (and fantasy in general), and One Piece is still a shonen manga in which the enemies will always be more and more powerful, Luffy will always save the world, and we will always discover him. new powers on the way. In that sense one piece remains true to himself and all the classic Shonen narrative.

Luffy, at his third power level, which involves blowing on his finger to fill his body with air and increase the size of his fists. (chapter 200).

Luffy, at his third power level, which involves blowing on his finger to fill his body with air and increase the size of his fists. (chapter 200).
Image: Eiichiro Oda/SHUEISHA Inc.

What many fans have not liked either is the fact that Luffy’s powers are now much more comical, literally and figuratively. one piece It is a world in which there are already superpowers, giants, flying islands and cyborgs, but turning the main charactergonist in a kind of Roger Rabbit is perceived as a betrayal of the epic of history. I suspect part of the complaint is that the change seems unmistakably inspired by American comics, not Japanese manga.

The detail that many of these fans ignore is that Eiichiro Oda has always been influenced by the culture Western and has never denied it. In fact, he has not only been inspired by the comics, but in things as strange as the Disney characters. Compare Nightmare Before Christmas and The little Mermaid with thriller bark and the saga Fishman Island and you will get an idea of ​​how consciously and masterfully Oda embraces any influence.

Regarding the visual licenses of pure cartoon, Oda has always used them and no one had complained until now. The characters’ eyes widen to impossible lengths when they get scared. Their teeth turn fang-like to express anger, and it’s not uncommon for them to grow huge bumps. All to the greater glory of comedy. Luffy’s new Joyboy powers are nothing more than a logical extension of all this.

The other detail that many fans of one piece What they don’t want to see is that Luffy’s new powers fit perfectly, both with the character and with the series. Luffy’s goal has always been to be king of the pirates because whoever holds that title is the person with the most freedom on the planet. The character has always enjoyed his journey and even laughed when he was about to be executed. During all these years, his battles have always been against villains who try to imprison, oppress or enslave people, and those liberations have always ended with parties where he laughs, eats and drinks. Freedom, happiness and joy have always been the values ​​that bring Luffy to life, and Oda has always shown him as a hero called to bring joy to the world by freeing its inhabitants from the tyranny of oppressive governments.

Mickey’s own cartoon tricks or tricks Looney Tunes They may seem a bit old-fashioned in 2022, but they are precisely designed to provoke surprise and laughter. Bugs Bunny is not a personHe is so loved because he is a realistic rabbit, but because he is a troublemaker capable of altering reality just to have a laugh or give the grumpy character on duty his due. What is freer than a character whose power is only limited by his imagination?

Luffy, in Joyboy mode, reacts in comical surprise to Kaido's breath and pulls up the ground to form a barrier.

Luffy, in Joyboy mode, reacts in comical surprise to Kaido’s breath and pulls up the ground to form a barrier.
Image: Eiichiro Oda/SHUEISHA Inc.

Those who think that this is the end of the “serious” version of One Piece are wrong. The series is still perfectly capable of making children and adults cry alike (I myself still haven’t gotten over the loss of its first ship, and that was in 2006). Comedy and drama have always gone hand in hand. one piece, and just because Luffy’s powers have gotten more ridiculous doesn’t mean the world they’re in is. There is still evil. Arch-Villain Blackbeard still has to make a move, and there are other sinister forces at play. In fact Luffy has not yet derrotated Kaido and it is a fight he has already lost three times.

one piece it has only added a layer to its more absurd side, which has been a fundamental part of the series since its debut in 1997. If that ends up bringing a smile to the characters of the series, surely it can bring a smile to its readers as well.