As far as long manga and anime series go, Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece is one of the longest in history. Both the manga and the anime have been around for more than two decades and can be found on every list detailing the longest-running manga and anime series. Now, sometimes, such duration makes sense, while at other times, it’s simply beating a dead horse. As for One Piece, why is it so long? Does that duration make sense?
One Piece is so long because Oda has a lot of ideas and adventures in store for his characters, and because the series is so enormously popular, both in Japan and around the world. Even after all these years, the series remains fresh and intriguing, allowing fans to enjoy the adventures of Luffy’s crew like they did in the beginning.
The rest of this article will actually explain these two reasons in more detail. We will build on the known facts and the popularity of the series to elaborate on why people still love it that much and how Oda keeps developing his stories with such power. We’ll also answer one interesting and related question in the end.
The Reasons Why One Piece Is So Long
In this section, we will explain the reasons cited above in more detail. We’ll bring you some interesting information you can enjoy and some numbers that will corroborate our reasons and explanations.
The first chapter of Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece manga was published on July 22, 1997. The manga has been regularly published ever since, hitting its annual 25th year of publication in 2022. Although there are manga that have been published for more than 25 years, One Piece is certainly among those manga series that have the longest “lifespan”.
The reason for that, in narrative terms, of course, is the inspiration Eiichiro Oda has, of course. The guy has been running his story all alone for almost 25 years now and although he has, three years ago, stated that the manga is about 80% completed, he keeps on publishing new chapters with new adventures and new worlds.
If you consider the fact that it took him 21 years to write 80% of the story, that means that he’s writing around 3.8% annually, which means that the anime is still at least five years from completion, meaning that it will probably hit the 30-year mark.
Oda has, recently, reiterated that the manga is nearing its ending, confirming that the plans to end it in 2025 or 2026, which is consistent with our calculations above. Now, this still gives both Oda and his characters plenty of time to evolve and wrap up their storylines.
A good thing about One Piece is that, as far as we understand, Oda has the whole concept developed in his head. He has an ending point he wants to reach and so far, all of the adventures that have appeared and will appear in between, have been great, with the manga still being among the most popular around the world, even in those countries where the manga is not the primary comic book format (see below).
Now, the Wano Country arc is the current ongoing arc in both the manga and the anime, and as far as we understand, Oda has at least one or two arcs before the epic final arc that will, hopefully, see Luffy find the One Piece treasure and become the greatest pirate in the world. All of this shows how inspired and dedicated he is as an author. One Piece is evidently a masterpiece and you can see how much emotion and passion was invested in the work.
Oda’s dedication can be an inspiration for anyone who has a great story, and it is certainly one of the main reasons why the series is so long. Oda is able to publish great and high-quality content with a level of consistency that is, obviously, so loved that fans still want more, despite the fact that the basic premise is the same – Luffy searching for the One Piece and kicking butt along the way – which is why this series is so great.
One Piece is the best-selling manga in the whole world; in February 2005 it had sold 100 million tankōbon volumes, passed the 200 million mark in February 2011, reaching 450 million books in circulation in 2019, 470 million in 2020 and 490 million in 2021, surpassing the number of copies in circulation of the Batman comics.
The manga has also been a yearly bestseller in Japan starting in 2008, when Oricon began tracking this type of data, until 2019, when it was overtaken by Demon Slayer – Kimetsu no yaiba. In January 2011, Shūeisha stated that One Piece, with over 200 million copies sold, had surpassed Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari kōen-mae hashutsujo and Dragon Ball as Weekly Shōnen Jump’s best-selling series in Japan.
The manga’s success also helped boost the magazine’s sales in 2007, after a decade of the downturn. On June 15, 2015, One Piece entered the Guinness Book of Records as a comic series drawn by a single author with the highest number of copies published, which at the time were over 320 million.
It has also been the best-selling manga in France since 2011. In Italy it has 18 million copies in circulation by 2021; moreover, on September 4, 2021 the special edition of volume 98, published by Star Comics on the occasion of the Japanese release of volume 100, was the first manga to reach the first position in the weekly ranking of best-selling books in Italy.
Several volumes in the series have achieved individual records. Volume 50 set the record for the highest number of copies sold in one week in Japan: over one million copies. The record was improved by volume 60, which, according to data compiled by Oricon, sold more than two million copies in the first week and later became the first book to sell over 3 million copies. Volume 56 received the highest initial run for a manga: 2.85 million copies.
The printing of 3 million copies of volume 57 was the highest initial print run for a book in Japan, not just manga, surpassing Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; a record surpassed several times by successive volumes, up to 4.05 million of volume 67. With the release of the hundredth volume on September 3, 2021 it is the first manga to have one hundred volumes in circulation with over a million copies sold each.
On the Japanese site Oricon it was voted as the most moving manga and, in a poll with a sample aged 10 to 40, as the most interesting of 2008. A poll drawn up in 2011 by the magazine Kono manga ga sugoi!, as experts in the sector, placed One Piece in twelfth place in the list of manga recommended for a male audience; while in similar rankings drawn up by Da Vinci Magazine, it was voted second, third and second place respectively in 2012, 2013 and 2015.
In a survey conducted in 2014 on the most popular manga of Weekly Shōnen Jump, One Piece appears in second place behind Dragon Ball. In the Manga Sōsenkyo 2021 poll launched by TV Asahi, 150,000 people voted their top 100 manga series and One Piece ranked 1st. The anime also had good success in Japan and, despite its longevity, in the first ten years of broadcasting it remained at constant levels of about 10% share, with peaks of 13.8%.
Animage readers voted One Piece fifth on the 2001 list of anime that should be remembered in the 21st century and sixteenth in the 2004 poll for their favorite anime series. A 2005 web survey conducted by the Asahi television network placed the series in sixth place among the most popular anime, while the following year it dropped to 21st for audiences and 32nd for editors.
At the end of July 2008 it was the most downloaded TV series in the world via BitTorrent.
Overall, it is one of the most profitable franchises ever, with a gain given by all its media of about 20 billion dollars estimated in 2019. These numbers are certainly more than enough to show how popular One Piece is and why, despite being around for very long, it makes sense for it to still be around.
Why Are One Piece Fights So Long?
This is something that annoys a lot of people when manga and anime are concerned (although yours truly isn’t among them). Some fights, both in the manga and on the screen, can last for a while – whether it’s several chapters or several episodes – and we can understand why people get annoyed.
Now, there really is no universal answer here, as it all depends on the author’s will and the production rate, with the latter often extending some scenes so that the anime doesn’t get too close to the manga.