One Piece is a Shonen pirate adventure that can attract different demographics that are new and old. A huge contributor to this is perhaps because the series itself literally spans different generations. With nearly 1000 chapters in the manga and over 20 years of content in its entirety, One Piece has a little more mileage than the average series.
For many, this has been a blessing, as it seems like the fun adventure may never end. For others, this has been to the story’s detriment, with more content watering down what elements made it special in the first place. This list will be going over a few reasons why the length has held One Piece back and a few saving graces as to why it can go longer.
10 Too Long: Bad Pacing
Something that no One Piece fan can hide from is the fact that both the manga and anime suffer greatly in their pacing. The anime, to an extent, is excusable for production trends that span across the entire industry. The manga, however, doesn’t deserve as much forgiveness. One Piece‘s sheer length probably wouldn’t be as bad as it is if it wasn’t for the fact that the story isn’t developing as efficiently as its colleagues.
The characters will become trapped within a story arc that distracts more from the larger picture than it contributes, and Oda himself seems to enjoy padding a lot of his stories with prolonged running sequences, typically towards the climax of his arcs.
9 Go Longer: Complete Everything
What may keep many from wishing for the series’ inevitable end, however, is the fact that a rushed ending may sacrifice certain details. One Piece has sewn various mysteries and competing storylines across its world; and while the story of the Straw Hat Pirates should take precedent, it would be a shame to leave the potential out there.
This can be as obscure as the final moments of Don Krieg’s Gin or the greater story of Iceburg’s attempt to make Water Seven a ship. To save the beloved creator from having to draw several spin-offs, it would be better for him to complete everything the first time around.
8 Too Long: Little Change
As addressed above, One Piece has an issue with pacing. A lot of the time, this just means that there’s a lot of padding and filler keeping the story from truly progressing. However, there’s an even harsher thing to be said about the actual development of the characters and story as a whole.
There have been a ton of cooky reveals in the series, but the story has always been fundamentally the same: find the One Piece, be friends, and don’t drown in the sea. Other series with shorter lengths have managed to be much more dynamic than this and would have had their characters and perspective change dramatically by this point. Familiarity is fine, but there’s only so much about going to a castle and fighting the main bad guy that fans can handle.
7 Go Longer: Compelling Story
With that being said, Eiichiro Oda has done a good job of making those same adventures and fights very compelling. One Piece has been able to retain and even grow its audience for a reason. The story itself manages to stay fresh with every new plot development, and there’s little twists in every arc that help create some variety.
The Alabasta and Dressrosa Arc are both essentially about tyrants conspiring against a kingdom, but Alabasta portrays the beginnings of a coup whereas Dressrosa shows its aftermath. Slight changes like this help keep the perspective fresh and the conversation ongoing. If Oda can still make these stories interesting to this day, why should he stop now?
6 Too Long: Too Much Change
As compelling as some of One Piece‘s story beats have been, a fan just sometimes has to step back and take some stock. Oda has made changes to keep his story relevant; but twenty years after Luffy popping out of the barrel, the story has become a stranger of its former itself.
What was initially a traditional pirate adventure with some magic elements has now become a grand government conspiracy involving robots, samurai, and time travel. There’s always a risk of coming off as contrived when trying to keep a prolonged story relevant, and Oda may have breached that threshold long ago.
5 Go Longer: More Detail
As stated earlier, if Oda were to finish the manga soon, it may result in a rushed job. Oda has taken his sweet time with the story; and if people start working against his work pattern to initiate a faster ending, he might sacrifice some of the details that have made the story fun in the first place.
Long time fans know the joy of going back to the anime or manga and looking in the backgrounds and scouting small details like stray characters, cultural markers, and, of course, Pandaman. If Oda could have even more time to write the story, that only means more effort is being given to each and every panel of the story. That’s just good craftsmanship.
4 Too Long: Made Up Power Systems
As faithful as One Piece fans are, none of them are going to say that Haki was always a thing in the story. It was clearly a made up power system that Oda came up with to give his characters a seemingly quantifiable ceiling to climb. As stated earlier, there can be contrived efforts to keep a long running story relevant, and Haki is one of the most blatant examples of that.
It has made quite a few of the new fights interesting, but it hardly seems to have the same mystery or spirit of Luffy using his own blood to fight Crocodile or him being the natural predator to Enel. Much like other Shonen protagonists in the late game, it just matters that he can now punch harder.
3 Go Longer: More Content
This is an easy one. What One Piece fan is going to say “No” to more One Piece? Despite the negatives stated above, One Piece is a hobby whose enjoyment can only be amplified with more material to paw through.
Whether this means more mysteries for fans to theorize about or just more hours to read, a longer story can mean more fun.
2 Too Long: Longer Than The Actual Adventure
The main question that this list asks is whether or not One Piece has been going on for too long. While there’s other stories and media to compare One Piece to, there’s no better market to exaggerate its own length than its own story. The canonical first half of One Piece took six months for the Straw Hats to reach the New World.
Recently, the story revealed that Gol D. Roger himself took a couple of decades to find the One Piece. The actual One Piece manga has been going on for more than 20 years. It is literally longer than the canonical traversal of the world’s sea, and Roger’s own ability to find the One Piece on his own. The series might be a little long.
1 Go Longer: Oda’s Joy
What better reason for the series to go longer than the creator’s own enjoyment? Eiichiro Oda may have dedicated decades and a hard work schedule to create the series, but he isn’t really being forced to do it.
The man has made more than enough money at this point to never have to work or draw again, and he has plenty of credibility in the industry to rival even Akira Toriyama. At this point in time, it’s easy to say that Oda just enjoys the story as much as the fans are if not more so. If he’s not bored of the story yet, why should it end?
There are plenty of reasons why the length has held One Piece back and a few saving graces as to why it can go longer.