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Anime & Manga Japan / 'One Piece' thrives by staying loyal to manga principles

One Piece- the crew of the Pirate King!

To say Eiichiro Oda’s manga series “One Piece” is big business is a bit of an understatement. In 2010, its 57th volume's first print run reached 3 million copies, breaking the record held by J.K. Rowling’s novel “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” for the most copies for a first edition in Japan.
But J.K. Rowling wrote just seven Harry Potter books, while “One Piece” spans 65 volumes. It has a mind-boggling 250 million copies in print.

Serialized in Shueisha Inc.'s Shonen Jump weekly magazine, the pirate manga is going into its 15th year and will be the focus of an exhibition hosted jointly by The Asahi Shimbun and Shueisha at the Mori Arts Center Gallery, Roppongi Hills in Tokyo’s Roppongi district from March 20 to June 17.

One Piece - Phenomenon

But what is the secret of “One Piece’s” phenomenal success?
Manga critic Tomofusa Kure says Oda’s genius is his extraordinary loyalty to the basic disciplines of boys’ manga. It long has been said that the three principles of popular manga in Shonen Jump are "friendship, effort and victory." Oda has rarely strayed from the formula.

[One Piece] The New Era

"The forms of friendship and efforts have been changing a little, but the three principles remain unchanged," Kure says. "Actually, not so many manga artists today can continue with these principles for a long time in their works for boys."
The basic story is simple: The Straw Hat Pirates, led by Monkey D. Luffy, set out on an adventure to discover a great treasure known as "One Piece."
There is plenty of fighting and gimmickry to keep the target readership amused. A particularly popular twist are the “devil fruits” featured throughout the story, which give those who eat them a special power.

Many of Luffy’s allies and foes have eaten the fruits and have gained superhuman powers from them. Luffy himself has eaten the fruit of the Gum-Gum Tree, which allows his body to stretch like rubber and adds all sorts of funny variations to his options in combat. At one moment he is stretching his limbs into a slingshot. At another, he is bouncing cannonballs off his belly.
But the insistence on the importance of friendship is a constant throughout the 65 volumes.

By AS on Mar , 2012
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tag : Anime_Manga



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