One Piece Book 1

The young hero of this book, “Straw Hat Luffy”, really wants to be a pirate. Aside from the criminal nature of this goal, which rightfully disturbs many of his fellow villagers, his dream is made more difficult when he accidentally eats magic fruit that gives him the Plastic Man-like ability to stretch his body like rubber. It also curses him to never be able to swim, which makes his goal somewhat of a tricky challenge.

One Piece Book 1 cover
One Piece Book 1
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Ten years later, he’s still determined to make his dream come true. He starts assembling a crew, almost by accident, to find a fabled treasure (the “One Piece” of the title) left by the pirate king after his execution. Luffy meets a cabin boy his age who’s been shanghaied by a lady pirate, and together they free a pirate hunter (who wants to be the world’s greatest swordsman) from prison in order to have him join the crew.

This pursuit of an inappropriate goal no matter what is a hallmark of this title. It’s very much “damn the plot, full speed ahead” with the action and the fighting on the path to making Luffy King of the Pirates. I’m told that One Piece is one of the world’s most popular manga titles. I’m surprised, but hey, Tom and Jerry cartoons are quire popular, too.

This episodic adventure is told through cartoony exaggeration. It’s rated T for teens due to violence and the stupid things Luffy does, like stabbing himself in the face to show his dedication.

Although his youthful attitudes towards what being a man means has more in common with the mountain bandit villains than the pirates he wants to join — they are more concerned with having a good time then getting into pointless fights — his determination later becomes more admirable, taking him closer to his ridiculous goal. It’s silly fun that works better if you’re willing to play along with it.

5 Comments

  1. one piece is a really good comic.i’m a girl and the my boyfriend and the boys in my class got my to read one and i’m the first and only girl in my class to read it.they even gave me the character nomi.

  2. “damn the plot, full speed ahead” you say?

    to describe it in such a way, i can tell that you haven’t read much of One Piece to actually understand how deep the plot really is.

    at a glance, everything in OP seems exaggerated with all the fightings going on – dude, this is a SHOUNEN manga about PIRATES.

    after just a few volumes you’ll see that this manga does indeed follow a damn good plot. it shapes its arcs into full circles, both touching and exciting, and the main storyline paves a long way ahead with hints and brilliant foreshadowing within each story arc.

    Eiichiro Oda is a true genius when it comes to storytelling. read at least 5 volumes, and if you don’t get hooked at that point, ONLY THEN you can say “damn the plot, full speed ahead”.

  3. I only had the one volume (and since I read this so long ago, it was before I understood the difference between shonen, shojo, and other genres). Interesting to know how it changes when taken in larger chunks; thanks for sharing that.

  4. as a boy,it doesn’t like a good comic in the beginning. Seems like the other one with an ordinary story. But after more and more volume ( about 11++ ) i can fell something different with this comics…
    I can fell something in this comic that can make me laugh, happy, brave, and make me sad so i didn’t know if there is tears in my eyes….

    It has became one piece in my heart..

  5. [...] Pirates“, comparing One Piece to the classic American comic strip Peanuts. Me, I posted a review of the first book back in early 2006, before I really got manga, especially shonen (boys’) manga. I [...]

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