Title:  One Piece

Year:  1997

Manga Available in the UK?  Yes (Gollancz)

Anime Available in the UK?  Yes (TV Only)

Games Available in the UK?  Yes (Sony PS2)

What's One Piece then?

One Piece is Eiichiro Oda's epic series set in a fantasy land in which pirates rule the waves.  All the pirates in the world are searching for the legendary treasure One Piece, and none

more so than Monkey D Luffy! After eating the magical Devil Fruit Luffy has the ability to stretch like rubber, but at the cost of losing his ability to swim.  However, a small thing like this isn't going to stop him taking to the seas, and he gathers equally ambitious crewmembers before setting his sights on the deadly sea known as the Grand Line, where One Piece is fabled to lie.

Arrr, Jim-lad!  Who else is in his crew then?

To start with no-one!  But he soon meets and recruits several talented companions, including swordsman Zolo, navigator Nami, marksman and inventor Usopp and fighting chef Sanji.


A crew of five?  They aren't going to beat the world with that!

Well, more join as the series progresses, but we don't want to give it all away!  The series is very long and an awful lot happens.

Very long?  How long?

Well, at the time of writing the manga series has clocked up forty collected volumes in Japan, whilst the anime series is rapidly closing on its 300th episode!  There have also been seven anime films, three TV specials and a

 straight to video special, and the franchise is still going strong in the Far East.

Wow, if it's that big a series why isn't it better known over here?

The cartoonish visuals, huge length and violent content put US distributors off for a very long time, meaning there was no English version for UK distributors to pick up.  It eventually hit the US a couple of years ago, and the anime series made it to UK cable channel Toonami in 2005, with the manga following in 2006 from Gollancz.  Despite the US reluctance the series has been popular in mainland Europe for a while, particularly in Italy and Germany.

Well, at least it's on UK TV now eh?

Yes, but some people aren't happy.  The US distributors heavily edited it so that it would be acceptable for US consumption, cutting out anything remotely violent and digitally removing blood, guns, alcohol and cigarettes.  The series remains enjoyable, but the cuts are often shoddy and the volume of material cut out is considerable, in the two seasons shown the equivalent of 32 episodes have been removed from a possible 110.

WHAT?!  That's tonnes!

It is indeed, but don't write the series off because of the edits, even cut it is still great fun to watch and some of the episodes removed are pretty pointless side stories anyway.  Besides, the excellent manga series, which is being released by Gollancz, is fully uncut.  It is a really imaginative and entertaining action series that deserves to at least be given a chance, especially when the anime is on telly and the manga is only 4.99 per volume.

Ok, do you have any other articles about One Piece?

Yep, check out the following

Book Review - One Piece Color Walk 1
Merchandise Review - Monkey D Luffy Keyring

Luffy also features in our Top Five Hat Wearers!___________________________________________________________________________