Note: In this review blurb I’m going to talk about each crew member and their abilities, I won’t talk about their background. So if you consider learning which characters join the crew a spoiler, turn away. But I warn you every single crew member is spoiled in the anime by the opening prior to them officially joining.
One Piece is about the adventures of a group of misfit pirates called the Straw Hat Crew, each member is determined to achieving their own respective dreams. Although their dreams differ, the path they take to achieve their dreams happens to be shared by the other members of the crew. The common part of their goals is to venture out into the Grand Line. The Grand Line is referred to as the Pirate’s Graveyard because many pirates go there in search of treasure and obtaining the One Piece but most meet their fate instead. This story was heavily influenced by Akira Toriyama’s Dragonball works, although that isn’t to say if you disliked or liked Dragonball you’ll automatically dislike or like this anime, Eiichiro Oda has created an original series that is all his own.
Within One Piece it should be noted that there are people who exist with Devil’s Fruit abilities. If a person eats a Devil Fruit they will gain the ability of that fruit, but it’s said that the ocean casts away those who have eaten the Devil Fruit. As a result if anyone with Devil’s Fruit abilities enters the ocean they become like a hammer (unable to swim or use their abilities) and will quickly drown unless rescued by someone else.
The goofy/pure/confident captain of the crew who has his eyes set on getting One Piece and receiving the title of Pirate King! He ate the Gomu Gomu (Rubber) Fruit and has become a rubberman. He fights using his durable rubber body and fists. He also has an amazing appetite.
Before becoming a pirate himself Zoro was a feared pirate hunter. He is known for his green attire and his ability to wield 3 swords at once (one is held in his mouth). He fights to become the #1 swordsman in the world. He loves drinking Sake and sleeps as much as possible.
A brilliant navigator whom before becoming a pirate of the Straw Hat Crew was a pirate thief (stealing treasure only from pirates), she fights with a pole/staff. Nami is very greedy about money. Her goal is to draw a map of the entire world.
Physically weak in comparison with the rest of the crew and is well known for telling “tall tales”. However he is an incredibly accurate sharpshooter, from slingshots to cannons, and is has the ability to create weapons and other inventions to help out the crew. He also served as a shipwright until Franky joined. His goal is to become a brave man of the sea.
A top notch cook who fights only using his legs, he doesn’t fight with his hands because if they were hurt he wouldn’t be able to cook. His goal is to find All Blue which is rumored to be in the Grand Line. All Blue is a place where all 4 oceans of their world meet and thus any fish in the world may be found in that spot, a cook’s paradise. He has an extreme weakness for beautiful women.
A blue nosed reindeer that ate the Hito (Human) fruit, the Hito fruit allows those who eat it to have a human form and gain intelligence. Chopper is a doctor from an island famous for its medicine. His goal is to expand his skills as a doctor. He wishes to possess the ability to cure any ailment.
A skilled archeologist turned pirate due to a high bounty that was placed on her head as a child. She ate the Hana Hana no Mi (Flower Fruit) allowing her to create copies of any of her body parts on any solid surface that she can see. In battle she most often employs grappling techniques using her Devil’s Fruit ability to incapacitate her foe. Unlike the rest of the crew Robin is quite calm and mature in almost any situation. Robin’s goal is to find and decipher the Rio Poneglyph.
Franky is the carpenter and Shipwright, he built the crew’s second ship the Thousand Sunny. Franky is also a partial cyborg, he received serious injuries when he was younger and replaced parts of himself in order to live. Franky’s artificial body is fueled by Cola (yes thats right soda), his artificial body makes his body amazingly durable and strong, he also has built in projectiles in both his arms. He probably has THE worst sense of style of the whole crew…by far. Franky’s goal is to construct his dream ship (The Thousand Sunny) and sail the world on it as its shipwright.
Brook is the musician of the crew and is a swordsman that is especially agile due to being a skeleton. Why is he a skeleton? He ate the Yomi Yomi no Mi (Resurrection) Fruit, Brook was killed but this fruit allows him to return to his body (once) and continue his life but by the time Brook found his body all his flesh had already rotted away. Although he is a skeleton he still eats and poops like a normal human (Luffy eagerly asked if he pooped promptly upon seeing him). Brook’s goal is to keep a promise to a friend that he made before he died.
Ok this is a 370+ episode shonen series, there has GOT TO BE fillers right? Up until the early 200’s if there were fillers I wasn’t bothered enough by them for them to stand out in my mind as an annoyance, I was happily entertained. It wasn’t until around those early 200’s that there was a small story arc that was definitely oozing a filler feeling (Foxy Story Arc). Those fillers actually did begin to annoy the heck out of me after a short while, but this was the shortest filler story arc I have ever seen (Naruto…cough…Bleach…cough). So it was a minor inconvenience and if you’re just starting the series, well you have a long way to go before you worry about that. There are also relatively few recap episodes considering how long this series is.
The odd thing with this series is that the BEST story arc (in my opinion) doesn’t occur until mid 200’s (Enies Lobby). This is very refreshing for me. It’s awful when a great show peaks early and everything after that feels a bit ‘blah’ by comparison. And I don’t even know for sure if this story arc is the best one yet since the series is still going!! BUT even though Enies Lobby was my favorite story arc thus far, there were MANY repeated flashbacks about Robin’s past. It really was excessive, I was bothered by it quite a bit but still felt the most pumped during this arc. However, the previous story arcs and following story arc (Thriller Bark) don’t have excessive flashbacks. Although all episodes have a pretty long recap portion at the begining, but thats easy enough to skip.
The voice acting for this anime is GREAT! All the characters have original charismatic voices that really make you laugh and cry on cue! The voices I enjoy the best are by far Luffy and Zoro’s. Luffy’s voice is definitely original, it’s very raspy, childish, and can get high pitched in a cute way when he is amazed by something. It took a few episodes to get used to his voice, but then after I couldn’t imagine a better voice for him. Zoro’s voice is one that is very “manly” and doesn’t usually carry a worried/sad/comedic tone, this voice actor has the most bad@$$ voice in the anime business to me. Yet whenever he gets mad and shark toothed at something idiotic a crew member has done (usually Luffy) you can’t help but laugh. Brook is new but…I quickly learned to love his voice, every word that comes out of his mouth makes me smile. Yooooo Ho Ho Ho Ho!!! Skull Joke!
The animation quality varies because this is a 370 episode+ series!! It slowly but surely gets better with each passing season, but unless you go back and randomly watch a few of the first episodes it’s hard to grasp how much better the animation quality got. The characters and scenery are drawn with bright colors and in a way that pleased at least my eye. Although there is one story arc that has a bit if a darker tone in its colors to it due to where it takes place.
Each character has an interesting/moving background that may move viewers to tears. This is the first time I have teared up over drama in a shonen anime. I think the great background each character has is what makes you start to really care for the series. The characters are what make this show. Also this wouldn’t be considered a great shonen anime if you didn’t get pumped for battles. I never get tired of people underestimating Luffy’s crew and them being shown what REAL strength is mwahahahahaha!
I highly recommend this anime!! So far this is my favorite shonen series. I have never seen an anime able to carry on this long and still hold my interest in every episode. I adore each member of the crew completely and totally. However it’s understandable that the fact that it is SO LONG may scare away a lot of people. But it’s a commitment you won’t regret!!
PS – I watched this in Japanese (uncut) with subtitles. I don’t recommend watching it any other way, I hear the English dubbing on this series is an epic failure.