- This is NOT a One Piece hatepost.
- Just as with any other title, One Piece also has flaws, potholes, and weaknesses, and this article merely tries to outline the possible ones, in my personal opinion.
- This is not a review. This is a critical analysis of the ‘not-so-good’ stuff, keeping aside all the good stuff.
- Several parts of this article target newer arcs only.
- Sorry for any inaccuracy.
- Please do not send us hate-mail for this, it will hurt us. :'(
One Piece is huge. Way beyond on a level where peasants like me should not even dare to criticise.
One episode of the anime costs around $94,000 (¥1,000,000 — courtesy ANN). 749 episodes and counting, spread over nearly 15 years. Add all those movies. Numerous people have watched these.
One Piece has an issue with its pacing. It can be very slow at times. A shonen title needs a somewhat better pacing. It also tries so hard to tackle short-term aims that it completely loses any notion of actual story pacing. But almost all long-term anime have this problem.
With time, One Piece has become very childish with the extensive usage of comedy and vibrant colors. It looks like a 12 year old’s MySpace page. Filled with colors and all the pretty stuff. One Piece now only caters to children.
For example, take Pokémon. It used to be so childish (not sure of the current scenario, dropped it after Diamond and Pearl ended). Each episode equally dreamy. Seemed like they were just lengthening the plot. Like Ash and co. would accidentally end up at a new place with something new: an aqua fair, a museum, an abandoned castle, whatnot. The same Team Rocket, no substance, Ash wins, bla bla bla. Each episode seemed like it’s meant to show one little fresh story, completely separate from the main story-line.
So, somewhere in the aspiration of greater audience, One Piece, licensed by 4Kids, has decimated to a family business especially tailored for the children (the manga is more serious).
Of course, fantasy means an unreal world. But with the new gimmicks, One Piece has become a silly, immature fantasy. If you’re familiar with many fantasies and similar stories, you’ll admit One Piece is overrated for such a stupid fantasy constructed from endless arcs of the same structure and the same formula.
Luffy looks as if he’s trying to be stupid. His wretched laughter and demeanor around others is just plain childish. Of course, he was childish in the beginning too. Its just that he seems more fit for a “stupid brat” tag or a moron over an “entertaining protagonist” tag.
After many important wars (like the World War) and other situations that shattered him from within (Ace’s death), he ought to be more grown. Growing doesn’t necessarily mean being a composed, dead-serious protagonist, but the mental maturity should have developed, which we clearly don’t see. His character is of a funny, careless, free-spirited boy. But now his character is somewhat more foolish than what he used to be.
Many protagonists grow, even if they are childish in the long term. Take Goku for example.
Keeping Luffy underdeveloped
It seems like Oda is stressing too much over keeping Luffy seriously undeveloped. As danger and risks increase, his teammates get more and more powerful (so does he, for the fact), and the world faces greater than ever perils, his idiotic persona can be traded for a more composed, yet comic character.
One Piece used to be a fantasy with a cool concept: Devil fruits, super-powerful pirates, treasures, etc. But now it’s a giant world of a child’s dream. A fantasy is unrealistic, but with the introduction of immature sub-plotlines and unintelligent cramming of empty-headed creatures, the line separating imbecilic and genuine fantasy is clearly visible.
One Piece lacks depth.
Cyborgs and fish-men are cool. But too many cyborgs and fish-men, without detailed purposes, characteristics, and bad planning are bad. Even so, cyborgs in a medieval fantasy don’t quite live up to one’s hopes.
Lack of deaths
Sometimes a good sacrifice like that of Ace’s makes the story more touching. But One Piece lacks of credible deaths. A real fantasy will have emotional knee-jerks for all sorts of people.
Of course, the anime is mainly comic and a non-gore pirate drama, so we can’t blame it for lack of deaths but with pirates and blood-thirsty bounty hunters, there has to be something inappropriate for children. There just has to be. Just push it through, dammit!
When someone surprisingly gets away from the claws of death by a miracle, and when that happens a lot, like every time a character is at risk, then it asks for questioning the maturity of the story.
It’s not rare you’ll spot someone being saved miraculously from something that can kill a village of blue whales or devastate the Himalayan mountain range.
One Piece is:
- A dream fantasy; coz Pirates.
- A typical shonen manga with all that over-positivist, cool rival-types, waves of antagonists, etc.
- A childish drama.
It should decide what it wants to be: serious or comedic. It cannot be both. The world, characters, concepts, and art, are a comedy at best, and a good one. So it should remain that.
It’s not very difficult to imagine the anime as a child narrating you a story. But that’s fine, every once a while we need some crazy stuff to just watch and not think about. But here’s the catch: Such a thing cannot be a genuine competitor to serious anime, yet it is. Hence, it’s just overrated.
Anything that’s continued by making up story after story to keep the audience stuck is prone to be considered uselessly stretched. Further, it comes with some flaws any good anime might contain.
- It’s somewhat boring with all its showcasing of tragic pasts and battle scenes.
- An idiotic and useless main character: Sanji.
- Enemies are introduced with too much hype.
- Lack of character coordination.
- Overstretched drama: Feels like the pirates will never find the treasure.
Here’s a piece by a certain “Crossword” on ArlongPark Forums that sums up a good deal of it all:
I can summarize most of my current gripes with the series by saying that it feels like Oda’s stuck in Marineford mode. Every chapter’s gotta end in a cliffhanger, everything needs to be bigger, flashier, and more destructive, there needs to be a million things going on at once all day every day. I miss when things were more leisurely and less hectic, like during Skypiea and Water 7. I miss when transition scenes weren’t shoved off screen making everything feel muddled. I miss when fights actually had choreography to them (though Punk Hazard’s been much better in this regard than Fishman Island was). I miss the times when attacks didn’t have to be so ridiculously over the top, with a few exceptions, and that battles weren’t halfway reliant on whose set of invisible magic armor was better. I miss the times when the interaction felt richer and not just a stream of character gags.