Although it’s only a couple of decades old, One Piece has quickly become one of the biggest stories in the worlds of both manga and anime. In part because the premise is so simple, the show became something that fans glommed onto and refused to let go of. The world of One Piece is now massive, but its core elements have remained largely the same.
The story follows Monkey D. Luffy, a young man who decides to travel to the East Blue Sea in order to search for treasure. Along the way, he picks up a crew and a gallery of supporting characters that are perfectly cast to play off of one another. The series has evolved from this relatively simple conceit, and Luffy and the gang have gotten into various adventures and picked up new characters along the way. Fundamentally, though, One Piece is a show about lovable people setting sail together in order to pursue their dreams. Here are some things you may not have known about the popular franchise.
One Piece has sold more than 400 million copies
One Piece is immensely popular. The manga currently has over 480 million copies in circulation in 43 countries, according to Anime News Network. That includes 400 million copies that are currently circulating in Japan, and another 80 million in countries around the world. One Piece is definitely most popular in Japan, but it’s a big deal all over the world and is one of the best-selling manga series of all time.
Although the manga accounts for a huge part of the franchise’s total gross, it’s not the only source of income for One Piece. When combined with revenue from TV shows, merchandise, feature films, and other products, One Piece has become a global phenomenon. Even though the series is still being run by its original creator, Eiichiro Oda, One Piece has expanded far beyond what he initially created into a global entertainment powerhouse.
One Piece’s creator was inspired by Dragon Ball
Given the enormous success of both One Piece and Dragon Ball, it makes sense that Eiichiro Oda was inspired in part by what Akira Toriyama had done with his series. The folks at One Piece Podcast translated an interview between Oda and Naruto writer Masashi Kishimoto, in which the former called Toriyama a "huge influence." "I’d have to say that Toriyama-sensei has been a huge influence. Of course, there’s Dragon Ball, but I really loved Dr. Slump, as well." Although the rules of each universe is different, the core elements of One Piece, and the rogue cast of characters at its center, have a lot in common with the motley crew that Goku assembles over the course of Dragon Ball.
In a conversation with Toriyama (via thegrandline.com), Oda even acknowledged that he had fallen in love with Dragon Ball the second he stumbled across it. "I fell in love at first sight. I thought, ‘He’s too good!’" Oda explained. "At that time, I loved Disney, but I was thinking, ‘This is even better than Disney stuff!’" Oda also said that there were specific things about the art style in the series that inspired him, including the way that Toriyama drew muscles and hands.
One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda works a crazy schedule
Although we could forgive Eiichiro Oda for deciding to rest on his laurels after creating one of the most profitable stories in history, that’s not the path he chose. Instead, according to Medium, Oda continues to work a very intense schedule, and does a lot of the drawing for One Piece himself. This process means that Oda is often working exceedingly long days, and suggests that he demands a lot of himself in order to make sure that the stories in One Piece are told the way he wants them to be.
Oda reportedly wakes up at 5 a.m., and continues working on through 2 a.m. the next day, and rarely takes a day off, even on weekends. One Piece became an enormous success in part because of Oda’s attention to detail, and it seems even now that it’s world famous, Oda still wants to make sure his story is told with as much precision and care as possible.
One Piece was originally supposed to last for five years
Like many hugely important creators, Eiichiro Oda initially thought that he would be able to end the story of One Piece after five years, according to a translated quote found on an Amino anime blog. Although Oda knows how the series will end, he realized it would take him longer to get there than he had initially suspected. He also acknowledged that he liked the story too much to wrap it up that quickly, and ultimately decided to keep it going much longer than originally planned.
In 2019, Oda said that he predicts One Piece would end within the next five years, according to Anime News Network. The series is on its way toward a definitive conclusion, and at this point, that ending is still the one that Oda envisioned when he initially planned to end the series after five years. Although the series will have run for more than 25 years by the time it actually ends, Oda is clearly committed to seeing his vision for the manga’s ending realized.
There’s a live-action version of One Piece coming
Although One Piece has already expanded into a wide array of media, including One Piece movies, video games, and a hugely successful anime, the manga has yet to be adapted into a live-action series. That’s about to change, according to What’s on Netflix, with an adaptation that will eventually debut on Netflix. The show was originally supposed to start filming in Cape Town in 2020, but production was delayed because of the pandemic. Now, it’s unclear exactly when the series will debut.
The live-action One Piece will likely cater to American fans of the series, but it will also work as part of Netflix’s broader push to reach a larger international audience. One Piece is a global property, and with Oda serving as an executive producer on the series, fans around the world can be comfortable that this new adaptation will work as yet another part of the franchise for fans to enjoy.