A statue of Luffy’s character, hero of the “One Piece” series, in a store in Tokyo on November 19, 2021 (AFP / Philip FONG)
With 250,000 copies in bookstores, the publication of volume 100 of the One Piece series on Wednesday is the biggest launch ever seen in manga in France, according to publisher Glénat.
Glénat has published since 2000 the series signed Eiichiro Oda, started in 1997 by the then a promising young designer, now at 46 years of age a legend of his art.
The industry behind him is now a well-oiled machine. In its original version, in Japan, this volume 100 was published in early September. And adaptation for the small screen should follow quickly.
“250,000 is the draw for a Goncourt prize,” Glénat manga editor Benoît Huot told AFP.
But the comparison stops there: this is a series, the price is lower (6.90 euros, 10.75 euros for the collector’s edition), and the readership is very young. Moreover, this quarter of a million copies is little compared to the 490 million sold, all volumes and all languages combined, for nearly 25 years.
One Piece tells the story of pirates in search of a fabulous treasure, and of a character who wants to become king of the pirates, Luffy, dressed in his famous straw hat.
The originality of the scenario, the mystery of the characters, the subtle mix of humor, fights, emotions and flashbacks ensured a worldwide success.
“The craze has grown over the course of the series. Between volumes 12 and 23 a narrative arc was set up, the Alabasta saga, which fascinated more and more readers in France. There has been a succession of events that have brought the series to fame, including especially, in 2008, the start of the animation on TNT “(digital terrestrial television), recalls Benoît Huot.
Eiichiro Oda has not finished telling this story, although he cannot himself say how many more books he will be releasing before he sets the final point.
“We are in the last part, which he announced that he was eager to draw it. The story is progressing rapidly, with an author who is systematically renewing himself. It will be 25 years in 2022 that it is a classic in being written before our eyes. It’s a chance, because we tend to discover the classics at school, completed once and for all, “according to the publisher.