Our love of anime and manga here at Back2Gaming is well known, particularly as we dedicated a whole section of our website to it. With this in mind, it would simply be wrong if we did not mark the incredible milestone which has been achieved by the magnificent One Piece this year. Thought to be the biggest selling manga series of all time with more than 400 million copies sold, the series is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its first serialisation in Weekly Shonen Jump. While its origins are in print, the manga created by Eiichiro Oda is now undoubtedly a full-on multimedia franchise and hugely loved by fans across the globe.
An incredible universe of characters
If you were to ask any of those fans why they think the series has endured and remained popular across the past 20 years, one reason likely to be cited is the incredible world-building which has seen the One Piece universe become littered with compelling, crazy and kick-ass characters. Monkey D Luffy is the undoubted hero and star of the series and his popularity has been key to One Piece in general becoming more than just manga and being adapted into anime and video games including One Piece Burning Blood and One Piece Pirate Warriors 3. However, while his attributes, including immense strength, speed and endurance, have proven invaluable in his battles against a number of enemies down the years, such abilities and traits are actually fairly pedestrian compared to many of the other characters you come across as you delve into this incredible world.
Gambling on the fate of your enemies
Best known as Big Mom, Charlotte Linlin is the captain of the Big Mom Pirates and the only female to be part of the Yonko group of notorious pirates. Despite her huge size and abilities, one of her odder traits is to use the gaming classic of roulette to decide the fate of those who fall foul or her. As you may know from playing roulette; involves a wheel featuring numbers being spun with players betting on which digit they think the ball will land. In contrast, Big Mom’s wheel features numbers and other symbols including heads, arms and legs. Enemies spin the wheel to discover what ‘compensation’ they have to pay the captain for wronging her, with the device essentially designed to ensure the spinner’s death.
The devil is in the fruit
While Big Mom’s use of a roulette wheel is fairly quirky in the One Piece universe, it is not quite on the same level as some of the traits and abilities that many characters receive from eating Devil Fruit. The mystical fruits play a key role in the manga and there are notable examples of characters gaining a whole new level of powers by consuming them. Donquixote Doflamingo, whose second name accurately reflects his love of a rather flamboyant bright pink feathery outfit, ate the Ito Ito no Mi fruit and got the ability to create and manipulate strings. This rather neat ability means he can not only use the strings as a weapon to cut enemies, but also to actually control them and become a puppet master of sorts. However, not all skills from devil fruit are quite as cool. Kaku may be a skilled agent of espionage and also an incredible swordsman, but for reasons frankly unknown his use of the Ushi Ushi no Mi led him to transform into a giraffe. While he has always claimed to love the animals, it has not stopped him from inducing fits of giggles from his enemies.
On the flip side, one power derived from a Devil Fruit which we cannot decide is cool or disturbing is that used by Buggy. The clownish captain of the Buggy Pirates accidentally ate a Bara Bara no Mi and therefore has the ability to split his own body into pieces when he wants. This peculiar power means he cannot be attacked with knives and also allows him to control limbs even when they are not part of the entire body. Bizarre.
An otherworldly experience
As you may have gathered from the handful of characters touched upon here, One Piece is a truly weird and wonderful world. It is probably fair to say that this unique, otherworldly style which has been perfected over the years may well be why it is still around 20 years after its launch. Even after 86 volumes were published, the public appetite for the series remains incredibly strong and we are sure that it will continue to be around in another two decades.