The One Piece manga speed-up is still going strong as a fistful of new manga volumes hits the shelves this week -- that's fistful as in five fingers, as in five volumes! And pay special attention to volume 46, which includes an exclusive sticker that unlocks a wallpaper on onepiece.viz.com! While we're here, please also give a warm round of applause to our editorial team, who has worked days and long nights to make this speed-up possible.
Get the new One Piece volumes for a discount in the VIZ store, and be sure to check out our other manga, DVDs and games while you're there.
Vol. 44: Let's Go Back
The battle between Luffy and CP9 agent Rob Lucci escalates while the rest of the crew tries to escape to safety through the Gates of Justice. Suddenly, a fleet of warships sent by the Navy Headquarters arrives on the scene and begins bombarding the island. Will the crew get away before the island is blown to smithereens?!
Vol. 45: You Have My Sympathies
Without a ship to sail, the Straw Hats are grounded for good. Luckily, the inhabitants of Water Seven rally together to help them out to show their appreciation. But the crew will need to set sail quickly when Vice Admiral Garp comes after them. Luffy knows all too well that he won't stand a chance if this fearsome Navy officer catches him!
Vol. 46: Adventure on Ghost Island
Adventure on Ghost Island When the Straw Hats encounter a mysterious barrel on the open sea, little do they know that it's a trap. Losing control of their ship, they're steered toward Thriller Bark. Any rational sailor would think twice before going ashore on an island full of zombies. But with Luffy at the helm, the Straw Hats are in for a scare as they become the targets of the dreaded Gecko Moria!
Vol. 47: Cloudy, Partly Bony
The Straw Hats find themselves caught in the Florian Triangle when the mysterious island "Thriller Bark" suddenly appears. Gecko Moria, one of the Seven Warlords, and his zombie army are also on the island, and they're preparing for a Night Hunt! Can the crew survive this fearsome evening?
Vol. 48: Adventures of Oars
The Straw Hats rush back into Thriller Bark in an all out battle with Gecko Moria's zombie generals. But Gecko Moria has a secret weapon: Oars, a massive zombie warrior who's got all of Luffy's fighting skills! Have the Straw Hats finally met an opponent too powerful to beat?
We launched another update of the vizanime.com site over this past weekend, with improvements in user comment displays, and a new poll function. Stay tuned because we're going to have fun with this new poll system over the next few months. And if you haven't caught up with the One Piece anime, our most recent addition to the site, now's the perfect time as episodes 1-114 are now up, and we continue with the current Impel Down storyline with episode 448 this week. This month also brings some exciting series into the fold, so stay tuned for those as well...
Okay, so you now have a ton of One Piece episodes before you. You're camped out in front of your monitor, ready to tackle the exciting task of watching this show... but maybe you're a little pressed for time. Maybe you want a good intro to the story and the major characters, but you don't necessarily have a hundred free hours to watch everything. (At least, not in one sitting. Of course you'll watch the whole show eventually, because it's that good, and because there'll be a test on all this later. Well, maybe not a test, but One Piece knowledge may come in handy down the road for prizes 'n' such.)
So where to start? Fear not, stalwart fans -- here's some suggestions on episodes you can watch to get a quick intro to the characters and main storylines of One Piece. Enjoy! [Warning, mild spoilers ahead...]
Episode 1: I’m Luffy! The Man Who’s Gonna Be King of the Pirates!
Naturally ya gotta watch the first episode of any anime series -- meet Luffy, the Gum Gum-powered hero of our tale!
Episode 2: Enter the Great Swordsman! Pirate Hunter Roronoa Zoro!
Every great hero needs great sidekicks, and we meet our first one when Zoro arrives on the scene! Watch out for the three-sword technique!
Episode 4: Luffy's Past! Enter Red-Haired Shanks!
Get the story behind the scar on Luffy's cheek, how he got his crazy powers, and the reason he started on his grand adventure to the Grand Line!
Episode 5: A Terrifying Mysterious Power! Captain Buggy, the Clown Pirate!
How do you get a pirate-hater to join a crew of pirates? Nami makes her first appearance a few episodes back, but by the end of this episode she's on board as navigator!
Episode 11: Expose the Plot! Pirate Butler, Captain Kuro!
He's klutzy, funny-looking, a bit of a coward, and tells tall tales, but he also has a heart of gold -- in this episode, we get the backstory on the lovable Usopp and see him take a stand!
Episode 17: Famous Cook! Sanji of the Sea Restaurant!
How can you sail the high seas without some decent grub? Answer: You can't! So when Luffy and crew happen upon a sous chef named Sanji who happens to have a flair for combat, you know they won't pass up the chance to recruit him!
So I did a little math, and I came up with this:
That’s how many pages are in the entire One Piece manga series at the end of the Speed Up — almost 11,000 pages of Oda-sensei’s masterpiece about grand adventure, loyalty, and a motley crew of Straw Hats Pirates. For almost seven years, we’ve been working hard here at VIZ Media to bring you the best pirate story that isn’t really about pirates. Yup, I looked up when we published our first printing of Oda-sensei’s wildly popular series. And now seven years later, we’re speeding up the release of North American graphic novels to bring it as close to the Japanese schedule as possible. That means we’re releasing 30 volumes in 6 months.
More math…30 volumes…every 6 months…*counts on fingers for a moment* That’s 5 volumes a month! And each one with a really sweet "Wanted Poster" sticker inside. Find the hint on the sticker to get a secret online goodie.
And now, I’d like to make a confession. When I was first asked to take on the One Piece project, I hadn’t read One Piece. Okay, so I had seen a couple of anime episodes, the first three manga volumes, and whatever else had appeared in SHONEN JUMP magazine (whoo hoo, subscription!). But, I hadn’t actually sat down and really read One Piece in all its detail.
I thought, ”I can do this… 54 volumes to date? Thirty of them in six months…” Crossing my eyes, I did a little more math:
I can read a single manga in about 40 minutes when I take my time. (Yes, I timed myself. At this job, you need to know). So let’s see here: 40 minutes x 54 volumes is….2,160 minutes, which is equal to 36 hours.
Wow. I’ve spent nearly an entire work week reading One Piece. And you know what, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
There are so many wonderful characters—I can’t decide between Sanji or Zolo as my favorite—and awesome story lines. And of course, Oda-sensei’s art is amazing. I kick myself for not picking up the series sooner. It was the best 36 hours I’d spent reading in a while.
But it seems pretty daunting, doesn’t it? There is SOOO much good stuff to read in One Piece. You get the introduction of all the characters in the East Blue Saga, the saving of a princess and her country from an evil conspiracy in the Baroque Works Saga (not to mention Chopper!), the sea in the sky with the Kami in the Skypiea Saga, Luffy’s Afro in the Water Seven Saga (well, other stuff happens, but the Afro is fantastic), the new crewmembers in…well, you get the idea. More plot than this run-on sentence can handle.
If you’re still sitting there making this face: o.O, don’t worry, there’s always one thing you can do:
Start from the beginning.
No math involved, just a whole lot of awesome adventure and great characters. We’ll even help you out: you can read all of volume 1 online for free.
So once you’ve done what the rest of us have done—read the first volume and get yourself hooked—you can then come back here to vizanime.com and actually watch the One Piece anime. See for yourself why so many people are reading 54 manga that total 10,800 pages and why they're devoting 36 hours of their lives to the most epic of titles: One Piece.
— Lex Scheuble (Online Marketing Manager, VIZ Media)
As the current One Piece manga editor, this series has been ruling my life during the last few months. I'm sure you've heard already that VIZ Media is releasing a megaton of One Piece manga during the first six months of 2010. We’re going all the way up to volume 54 by July and we’ll be very close to where the anime is, especially if you are reading the series in SHONEN JUMP magazine. So be sure to check out your local bookstore and get your pirate fix!
I’m actually not that familiar with the anime version of the series, so I’d love to hear comments from the fans that follow both versions. I’ve watched the first 30~40 episodes, but that was way back in 2003 or so. I do remember that I loved the intro/outro songs. From what I see online, the anime is done very well. I don’t catch many people complaining about the filler episodes, and it just seems to me that the anime team at Toei does a great job keeping the anime as amazing as the original manga version.
One recent promotion that really got me hyped was a chapter that ran in the last Japanese Weekly Shonen Jump issue of 2009. The chapter was called “Chapter 0: Strong World” and set up all the back-story for the latest One Piece movie which is also called Strong World. The movie hit Japan over the holidays (if you’re in Japan, check it out and tell me what it’s like!). It’s so cool that the One Piece franchise can intertwine the manga and animated versions in this way and it made me really want to see the movie!
Usually theatrical versions of popular anime shows have nothing to do with the main story… but this new Strong World movie has roots in the manga story and looks like it could be an awesome experience. Hopefully we see in it the US soon!
-- Alexis Kirsch (Editor of the One Piece manga)
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