Saturday, September 3, 2016

One Piece: Unlimited Retrospective Introduction

Let the Romance Dawn begin!

"Gold Roger, the "King of the Pirates" had achieved it all. Wealth, fame and power had all been his. Not surprisingly, the final words he spoke before they lopped off his head inspired adventurers throughout the world to sail the seas. The world... is about to witness a great era of piracy!"

Without a doubt, One Piece is my favorite manga of all time. It's a series that had endured for nearly two decades, sporting 82 volumes, selling over 380 million units, and has become the best selling manga series of all time. And yet, despite all of the critical acclaim and sales that the manga has achieved, its impact in the West is fairly limited to say the least. Out of the original Big 3, consisting of Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece, One Piece was always the one that people had the least amount of interest in, at least during the mid 2000's. 

And yet, with both Bleach and Naruto having come to an end, one ceremoniously and one with very little fanfare, One Piece is still trucking along. Hell, Eiichiro Oda, the creator of One Piece, has stated in an interview that as of July 2016, the series is about 65-70% done. With nearly two decades of stories already told, we may be getting another 10 or so years of One Piece action. 

But because of this lack of exposure in the West, I'm going to spend an inordinate amount of time chronically One Piece. This may be fairly similar to Linkara's "History of Power Rangers", in which he discusses every season of Power Rangers by analyzing the production, story, characters, special effects, and behind the scene information of the season in question before giving a final overview and recommendation of each season. I intend to do something very similar to that, but with a few little caveats. 
  • I am only going to be discussing the manga in this overview. I know there are a ton of video games, films, OVA's (Original Video Animations), light novels, and of course the anime, but I want to only talk about the manga that inspired it all. I will make REFERENCES to these outside materials if it becomes relevant, like if I was watching the anime at the time I was reading the manga. The crux of this series will be talking about the manga exclusively, so there. 
  • This retrospective will only talk about each arc in the manga. I know that One Piece likes to call certain arcs "Sagas", but truth be told, trying to categorize each arc into a saga is a messy process. For example, If I'm going to talk about the "East Blue Saga" for my first post, that means I'll have to cram 4 arcs into one entry, and that is one hell of a messy process. Instead, I figure that talking about each arc will give me more time to analyze the pros and cons of each arc as well as the characters and new information learned about our main cast. 
  • Finally, the format of each entry will be giving my own personal experiences reading the arc, an overall arc summation with commentary about certain plot points, backstory, or character introductions, before going into an overall evaluation of what worked, what didn't, and what this arc did for the series as a whole. 
There are a ton of arcs in One Piece, so as of right now, the arcs I'll cover will be as follows. 

Romance Dawn, Port Town, Syrup Village, The Baratie, Arlong Park, Roguetown, Wiskey Peak, Little Garden, Alabasta, Jaya, Skypia, Davy Back Fight, Water 7, Enies Lobby, Thriller Bark, Sabaody, Amazon Lily, Impel Down, The Paramount War, The Grey Terminal, Time Skip, Fishman Island, Punk Hazard, Dressrosa, and Zou.

Of course as the series continues I'll talk about the newer arcs as they're detailed, but I'm going to go into details on these arcs in particular, hitting all of the major bullet points. So for now, let's start with th every first chapter of One Piece, Romance Dawn.

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