A look at the good and the bad of “One Piece”

It’s 685 episodes and counting. That’s right, folks””  685 episodes. That’s how far the “One Piece” anime is right now, and that’s how many episodes I’ve watched.

Before last summer, I had never heard of “One Piece”. That all changed when one of my roommates insisted on me watching it. I finally caught up to the current episodes back in late January, and the hardest thing about being a fan of “One Piece” now is not being able to binge watch two or three or 10 episodes a night and having to wait a whole week for a new episode.

“One Piece” has been an amazing discovery, but instead of rambling on about it, I thought I would try my best to lay down the good and the bad of the anime.

The Good

1) The music

The music in “One Piece” is fantastic, and that is an understatement. Starting with the opening theme “We Are,” the show, through its music, tells viewers what kind of tone it’s going to have. As for the other music in the show, it’s just as good. There’s music that’s downright epic, there’s music that’s goofy, and there are some tunes that are outright tearjerkers. I can’t think of another show that has ever made me break down over an inanimate object like “One Piece” did. Good music enhances the emotional experience of what you’re watching, and the music of “One Piece” does just that.


2.) The powers

The world of “One Piece” is full of Devil Fruits. Devil Fruits grant their eaters some kind of unique power, such as turning the eater’s body into rubber or giving the eater the ability to shapeshift into an animal. The one downside to Devil Fruits, however, is once they’re eaten, they take away the eater’s ability to swim. This makes the choice to consume a Devil Fruit all the more intriguing since most of the people who eat them are pirates who travel across the sea day in and day out, so it’s a tough sacrifice to make for the power.

3) The story

The story of One Piece is simple, yet thrilling. The main character wants to find the treasure that will make him the king of the pirates. Additionally, each member of his crew has their own individual dreams, from drawing a map of the world to becoming the greatest swordsman who ever lived. The backstories for each of these characters, though tragic, allow the audience to really care for them. Speaking of backstories, the flashbacks in “One Piece” always hit an emotional high note and never really interrupt the current plot.

The Bad

1) The episode titles

Some episode titles completely spoil the events of the episode. Others tease a big fight that never really happens. For example, one episode is called “Intense! _________ vs. _________.” As a viewer, you expect to see a large part of the episode dedicated to this “intense” fight that the title has promised. Instead, what you get is maybe a minute of fighting, if that. These teases can be disheartening and spoil the rest of an episode because of the huge buildup and failure to deliver.

2) The fillers

Just when you thought you were going to see the big fight of the arc, “One Piece” throws in  some special holiday episode in or ties in with another anime that has absolutely no connection with the current plot. Overall, the fillers are annoying, and it’s best to just skip these.

3) The lack of deaths

“One Piece” has very few deaths. In fact, I believe I could count them on one hand. The lack of death in the show erases any real suspense the audience might have when the Straw Hats appear to be on the brink of losing. It removes any kind of moral themes that the show could explore by having a member of the Straw Hat crew choose between killing a villain or sparing him or her. Granted, since death is so rare in this show, it really leaves an impact when one does occur. However, I think sprinkling in some more character deaths would really elevate the show to another level.

For people who aren’t sure if they will like “One Piece,” I recommend watching up to episode 37; that episode will determine whether or not “One Piece” is for you.