5 reasons One Piece popular around the world !

There are so many reasons why One Piece has become as popular as it is and maintained that popularity for over 20 years.

1. Let’s start with the characters.

Let’s start with Luffy, our young, ambitious, protagonist. Luffy as a a character has many qualities that make him attractive – ambitious, unwavering, generally light-hearted but serious when he needs to be, and loyal to his crew.

2. SPOILERS

Speaking of Luffy’s crew, pretty much every member of the Straw Hat Pirates has a tragic backstory and has experienced great loss. Eiichiro Oda makes his characters feel human and we can’t help but empathize with them.

Luffy as a young child was raised by his grandfather, lost one of his close childhood friends, and never really knew his parents. Zoro lost his closest childhood friend. Usopp lost his mother at a young age. Sanji almost starved to death as a kid. Nami lost her adoptive mother and her village was captured by pirates. Robin’s entire village was destroyed by the World Government and she lost her mother. Chopper was ostracized by everyone and lost his only friend and mentor. Franky lost his “father” because of mistakes he made as an adolescent. Brook lost his entire crew.

Each one of them has his/her own purpose in the manga with a unique personality.

3. Let’s talk about worldbuilding.

So think of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Tolkien created Middle-Earth and made it what it is – elves, dwarves, hobbits, orcs, Sauron, Gandalf, etc. He has this super-detailed history about “the One Ring” and everything.

Now take a look at One Piece’s worldbuilding – fish monsters, cyborgs, giants, devil fruits, the history of Gol D. Roger, the World Government, Skypiea, oceans and a world that doesn’t follow the known laws of physics, etc. There’s still so many things in One Piece that even after 20 years we don’t know – the Void Century, the One Piece itself, the will of D, etc. I’d argue that One Piece has the best worldbuilding of any fictional media, hands down.

4. Let’s talk about the plot itself.

One Piece when you first look at it has a pretty simplistic plot. Luffy seeks out to form a crew and become King of the Pirates. Easy enough, right? Well let’s throw in the World Government, the Seven Warlords, the Yonkos, and all this other crazy stuff. Throw in the Revolutionary Army while you’re at it. Oda is also meticulous in his attention to detail. It seems like he never adds in something just for the sake of it being there or fanservice. He is also a genius at foreshadowing. Take the example of Blackbeard, one of the main antagonists of the series. When we are first introduced to Blackbeard, we don’t know who he is exactly. But Luffy and Blackbeard basically say the exact opposite things and even act as polar opposites. A great foreshadowing into how Blackbeard would develop into one of the main antagonists further in the manga.

5. Let’s talk about other things One Piece highlights.

You have to keep in mind that One Piece is still a shonen series, which means it’s meant to be targeted towards an adolescent male audience. While this was probably true when it debuted, One Piece as it has aged, so has its audience. I’m now in my mid 20s but first started following the manga in middle school. As the story has aged, it has also tackled many serious and heavy issues, like slavery, human trafficking, government corruption, LGBTQ, etc.

Let’s look at the Celestial Dragons for example. They are direct descendants of the founders of the World Government. As such, they live highly privileged lives and abuse their authority. They can buy pirates as slaves and exploit them in any way they want. The best example is probably Boa Hancock, a female pirate, who becomes one of Luffy’s good allies. Hancock and her sisters were slaves to a Celestial Dragon, who tortured and abused her. Although never explicitly shown, it is heavily implied that she and her sisters were also sexually abused.

Next the World Government itself. Its job is essentially to police all activity that they deem “unjust.” They function in only one way – absolute justice where the ends justify the means. It doesn’t matter how many innocent people are killed in the process or how many “immoral” things it has to do; as long as it completes the mission it’s okay. The most prominent example is the infamous Buster Call on Robin’s hometown island of Ohara.

Robin’s family compromises of a group of archaeologists, who seek to discover the untold truths about the world. One of these unsolved mysteries is the Void Century, a century long gap in history where only the World Government knows what happened. In an effort to ensure nobody could ever uncover the mysteries of the Void Century, the World Government executed a Buster Call on Ohara Island, in which the orders were to wipe out the entire island, killing anybody in the way. Robin escaped from Ohara as the sole survivor and before joining Luffy’s crew, lived as a fugitive from the World Government for over 20 years.