If you don’t know ‘One Piece’ yet, it’s probably because the barrier of more than a thousand episodes is pushing you back. If you’re already a fan, you’re probably one of those who have uttered the phrase “Well, but they go by in no time, little by little you get there, it’s worth it”. Eiichiro Oda’s manga was born in the pages of Shonen Jump on July 22, 1997 and since then until today have continued to be published almost without rest. But… What if we told you that it would have ended twenty years ago?
A couple of fights and that’s it
For Oda, the story of a pirate who stretches himself and his crazy crew was not enough for more than five years: one of presentation where all the companions would join, three in Grand Line and one of the final saga. But as good as the mangaka is at telling stories, he is not good at calculating time: after 101 episodes, the group of only five crew members (out of the ten planned) managed to reach the beginning of the main adventure. It is now, after almost 1100 episodes, that we finally begin to glimpse, very distantly, the end of the adventure.
It is surprising that the creator of one of the most influential manga of all time is so absent-minded. For example, in 2003 he said that a crew member would die that year: it would happen three years later with the destruction of the Going Merry. He also wanted to kill Ace, Luffy’s brother, the same year of his appearance, and if you’ve read the manga or watched the anime you already know how the matter ended. So when he says there are only three years left for the adventure to end, it’s best to take it with a grain of salt.
Although it may surprise us when a manga exceeds 1,000 episodes, in Japan it is quite normal. For example, ‘Kobo-chan’, a strip by Masashi Ueda that has been published for forty years, exceeds 13,300, and ‘Sazae-san’, which saw its protagonist grow from 1946 to 1994, ended its run with a whopping 6,477 episodes (more than 8,000 in the anime, which is still being broadcast). It is possible that Oda’s work will eventually overtake classics like ‘Doraemon’ (1,345 issues) or ‘Detective Conan’ (1,125 so far) in length, but it remains to be seen. It will depend on the mangaka’s calculation, fight up fight down.
For the time being, we’ll settle for holding on to Luffy’s arms, shifting into fourth gear and letting ourselves be surprised until we become those people who recommend anime that anyone would take five years to watch. Or is it that only Eiichiro Oda has the right to change his mind?