One Piece is a true franchise if there ever was one. Beginning in the humble mind of one Eiichiro Oda, it has expanded into dozens of books, hundreds of anime episodes, an endless line of video games, some really cool toys, and so much more. With the content having reached a variety of media, one has to wonder what is the best way to consume the story.
While the ramen commercials are fun, it’s certainly not them. The two key entryways for fans are the manga and anime, and each has there reasons why they should be an upcoming fans’ go-to. This list will be looking at a few reasons why the manga is the ideal One Piece experience (& a few reasons why the anime is the true king).
10 Anime: Animation
One of the more obvious reasons as to one should at least try out the anime is actually getting to see Oda’s caricatures in motion. Animation has already done wonders for storytelling, and One Piece has plenty of key moments that just look spectacular with some sakuga.
This includes Big Mom’s musical sequences, the Germa’s transformations, Luffy’s Gears, and the arrival of new characters. Reading these moments are fine, but the manga doesn’t seem to have the same weight as an animated punch.
9 Manga: Consistent Art
With that being said, Toei’s adaptation isn’t exactly the most consistent experience. Having a strict animation schedule and being much too up-to-date with the story, plenty of sacrifices have been made in the art to make up for time.
Oda on the other hand puts a lot of love and care into each of his designs. Whether it’s a brand new island or a character that he’s drawing for the millionth time, there’s a lot more definition done with his pen than Toei’s computers.
8 Anime: Voice Work
If there’s one thing about the anime’s production that is done exceptionally well, it is its voice works. Speech balloons are a neat way to convey the content, but they far from having the same emotional value as hearing Luffy’s laugh, Brook’s songs, or Zoro just breath. The Japanese voice actors do a wonderful job of consistently giving the characters depth and passion.
While fans are divided on how they feel about the English dub, the Funimation adaptation has helped thousands of new fans ease into the series and continues to be the definitive experience to this day. The 4Kids dub is also a one of a kind experience that, while notorious, a One Piece fan just has to watch.
7 Manga: Better Pacing
As addressed above, Toei animation has infamously dropped the ball with the One Piece anime. While some of that has translated into poor background designs and character sketches, it has more noticeably affected the actual consumption of content.
That is to say that it does a good job of making the content as unbearable to consume as possible between its slow pacing, padding, and leagues of unnecessary pauses. The manga itself just doesn’t have the same gratuitous pauses to fill out time and is a much more efficient and authentic way to get through the story.
6 Anime: Fight Scenes
While the manga is a more efficient way to get through the story, the same unfortunately goes for fight scenes. Seeing swords clash and fists fly just lacks the impact of seeing things in motion. And while the anime may have a tendency to really stretch things out, the action itself is at least consistently enjoyable.
It’s responsible for making Luffy’s memorable encounters even more memorable, such as his superhuman bout with Rob Lucci or his recent spectacle with Charlottte Katakuri. The same goes for Zoro’s various confrontations and each of Sanji’s hardened kicks. If one is looking for the definitive way to see a One Piece fight scene, the anime remains supreme.
5 Manga: Less Censorship
Even though the anime helps make the fights all the more brutal, it’s far from being the most brutal way to see One Piece. As odd as it may seem, One Piece is not always the bright and cheerful adventure that outside fans think it is. For every big smile and goofy hairdo, there’s plenty of bloody, gore, and attitude that goes with it.
This includes “Red Foot” Zeff eating his own foot, Trafalgar Law flipping people off, and Whitebeard getting half his head blown off. The anime has plenty of opportunities to make these scenes even flashier, yet production standards keep it from doing so.
4 Anime: Extra Content
For One Piece fans that just want a lot of One Piece, the anime has got them covered. What the anime lacks in efficiency, it more than makes up for with unique stories that help diversify the Straw Hats’ adventures. While there are plenty of filler arcs that are divisive, stories such as the Straw Hats’ adventures in Loguetown, the magical Warship Island Arc, and, of course, the acclaimed G-8 Arc have broken the curve as filler arcs that fans genuinely believed should’ve been canon.
On top of that, there are also plenty of anime specials that have either created new stories for the Straw Hats or remade old ones with much better pacing and animation.
3 Manga: No Filler
With that being said, it doesn’t hurt to just stick with the authentic content. Filler episodes are hit-and-miss with the anime community; and if a new fan is going to get into a series, it’s better to not risk a miss.
The manga isn’t bogged down with inconsequential resort trips, fights with nameless bounty hunters, or an overstayed welcome by the Foxy Pirates. The latter alone is more than enough to just stick with the books.
2 Anime: Opening Sequences
If there’s one thing that the manga just can’t replicate, it’s the addictive nature and spectacle of a weekly opening sequence. One Piece is host to some of the most memorable music in the industry, and the peak of its musical arts include the music videos that invite fans to the story.
Whether it’s the joy of “We Are,” the tears of “Fight Together,” or even the commercial pandering of the 4Kids rap, the anime helped bring some noise to the One Piece world.
1 Manga: Up To Date
However, if there’s one thing that the anime can’t beat, it’s being up-to-date with the story. One of the great terrors for being an anime fan or just a fan of any story is being the last to know about key plot developments and having to have great experiences spoiled by overzealous fans.
Piracy alone makes the internet world a treacherous landscape for One Piece spoilers, but the anime itself is far from being the most current telling of the story. With the above reasons added on top, the manga is the safest way to experience One Piece first hand.
Whether you watch it or read it, One Piece takes a lot of time to get through. But which is the best way to experience it?