Monday, September 2, 2019

My Early Thoughts on One Piece

I now understand why One Piece is such a popular manga with over 900 chapters!

It's been awhile since I've written a blog post and that's because I'm still getting used to my current job. Whenever I have a day off, I'm just so tired that I want to sleep and there's only so much I can do in the little free time that I have. I've barely even had time to watch anime.

But it's not all bad. I've been able to do a lot of reading at work and besides reading A Song of Ice and Fire, I decided to give the famous One Piece a chance. I've never watched the anime and before reading the manga, I knew very little about the shounen series. I knew that One Piece is one of the "Big Three" along with Naruto and Bleach, I knew the names of a few characters, and I knew that it was one of the longest running shounen titles for a good reason.

So after a few weeks of work, I'm over 100 chapters into the series...what do I think? To be completely honest, I love One Piece and I just have to talk about it.

In case you've never heard of One Piece and have no clue what it's about, let me give you just a brief synopsis. As a boy, Monkey D. Luffy idolized his friend and mentor, pirate "Red Haired" Shanks, and wanted to become a pirate just like Shanks. Luffy accidentally ate "Devil Fruit" and gained the ability to stretch like a rubber band. Grown, he goes off on a journey to assemble a pirate crew, find the legendary treasure called "One Piece", and become the "King of the Pirates".

Like a lot of shounen protagonists, Luffy is charismatic, cheerful, and determined to achieve his dreams and help his friends. It's his loyalty to his friends (and those who he's chosen as his friends) that really got me on Luffy's side. Like when Luffy is betrayed by the navigator Nami, he's still willing to help her out of trouble because he's already decided that she's a part of his crew and his friend, not matter what she's done. He may be foolish, but I got a lot of respect for Luffy's loyalty and love for his pirate crew and friends.

And that brings me to another reason why I really like One Piece and that's the feelings that it hits me with every several chapters. Discovering the tragic backstory of some of these characters, witnessing their devotion for the people they love, and and just feeling their pure anger and frustration is just awesome. I have to give credit to creator Eiichiro Oda for writing and drawing a series that has made me want to laugh, cry, rage, and everything in between. I don't think any other shounen series has given me so many different feels.

But what I really like about One Piece is how the main cast of characters are all pursuing incredible dreams that are seemingly impossible. Luffy starts out with nothing more than a little raft but he wants to become the "King of the Pirates". Zolo is just a pirate bounty hunter but he's determined to become the world's greatest swordsman. And Nami is a thief who steals from other pirates, but she wants to navigate and create a map of the entire world. Even though there are deadly obstacles in their path, the characters still dream of greatness and will not let anything stand in the way of their dreams.

It reminds me of what I used to say to people back when I was a freshman in college. I would tell almost everyone who asked about my major and career goals that I wanted to become one of the greatest writers in the world. Even though I knew very little about writing and English literature, I still wanted to achieve something fantastic.

Reading One Piece reminds me of that foolish passion I used to have and it sparked it again. Even though I have very little free time and I know that my writing skills pale in comparison to others, I still want to believe that I'll one day be a great writer who everyone knows about. I guess you can say that I want to be "King of the Writers" and I thank Luffy and One Piece for reminding me of my dream.

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