With Dragon Ball, One Piece is undoubtedly the manga that comes back to the minds of the general public the most when it comes to this medium straight from Japan. And, it must be said, there is plenty. Between its more than 1000 chapters published, its hundreds of millions of copies sold throughout the world and its almost limitless development potential, Eiichiro Oda’s work has amazed readers around the world for several generations.
Still far from its end, the story told by the mangaka through the crew of Monkey D. Luffy still enjoys many adaptations of all kinds, but also physical by-products in many areas. Moreover, recently, the publisher Pix’n Love has published a book which reviews the work in its entirety, from its beginnings to its current state, with a fan in pen, in the person of Alexis Orsini.
But if the original story moves the crowds, what about this book? Does he manage to pay tribute to the work he presents or is he simply riding the wave of unconditional love from French-speaking fans? We will see this together.
In the genesis of One Piece
With the desire to provide us with more information and context on the universe created from the Japanese archipelago, the author of this book is not at his first attempt since he has already published a biography of ‘Harrison Ford, but also on Naoki Urasawa. A regular at exercise, then.
But how do you manage to captivate people by talking about a work that is already so well known and already has so many adaptations to its credit? After all, Monkey D. Luffy and his crew set sail in July 1997, over twenty years ago already, with the insane goal of becoming the Pirate King. In any case, the success of One Piece was certainly not what its creator was initially looking for. No, after all, Eiichiro Oda suffered many refusals before managing to publish his series.
And it is, in the end, this period of failure and doubt that arouses our interest. After all, these are moments in the life of the revered mangaka that we know too little about. And, obviously, Alexis tells us about these moments in the first chapters of his book, which is already a good point, since he does not focus only on One Piece, but of course the man behind the work, hence the full title of his book: One Piece – Oda’s Will.
Moreover, just like the author of this book, we discover that Oda was bottle-fed to the comic strip. On the one hand, we find a worshiper of Dragon Ball, on the other a fan of the adventures of Indiana Jones. But above all, both are driven by a fervent love of manga. A passion that is felt in the work of the journalist, in particular in his analysis and the way in which he presents to us the various points addressed in his paragraphs.
An apotheosis following failure
Therefore, and in the manner of Gol D. Roger who leaves a hidden treasure as an inheritance, somewhere on the Grand Line, would Oda not be about to leave as a heritage to the world the most incredible manga that has ever existed? To bring us his analysis on the subject, Alexis has divided his work into 19 chapters, each one representing an arc of the manga, but also and above all an arc of the life of its creator.
To hell with the vain summaries of arc in mode “X fights Y and wins with technique Z”. No, here Alexis prefers to present us a still young Eiichiro Oda who has always known that he wants to become a mangaka, but certainly not THE mangaka. He tells us about a young boy who still has no idea that the country of Wa will be considered, several decades later, as “the apotheosis of One Piece ».
Through his analysis, the author allows us to understand what has always animated the brilliant mangaka that we know, but especially what were his difficulties. After all, drawing is not enough to break into a market as important and, although less than now, saturated as that of manga. This book is therefore an opportunity to follow the evolution step by step of a man whose name every fan of pop culture today knows.
All this, Alexis Orsini does with a mastered pen. Its paragraphs are readable and pleasant to browse, with an ever-present interest in the background. The reading is then pleasant, fluid, and even the most keen on Mugiwara adventures can discover some little information that they did not have before.
Most importantly, this reading allows us to learn enough to begin to understand Oda. Through the friendship and loyalty of Luffy, we feel a part of the personality of his creator. In Zoro’s work force and courage, we find the resentment of a creative who had to fight through thick and thin to reach the top. If the universe of One Piece is colorful, it is above all because Eiichiro Oda remains himself!
Should we fall for One Piece: The Will of Oda?
Therefore, and we can say it without taking too many risks, One Piece – Oda’s Will is a fascinating book. Throughout its 288 pages, the book never tires and manages to captivate the reader, whom he loves One Piece in particular or the manga market in general.
If the work of Alexis Orsini helps us to situate One Piece in his own universe and to better understand it, it is above all about discovering the behind the scenes with its creator, a passionate and fascinating Eiichiro Oda, who still has so much for us to discover.
Thus, we recommend the reading of this book to all fans of the adventures of the straw hat pirate, but also to the curious who would like to discover more about the universe he travels. But beware of spoils in the second case! In short, a good gift idea!