I got into anime from watching Death Note; then moved on to My Hero Academia, during the hiatus between season 3 & 4, I'm looking for an anime to watch. I heard about One Piece from a friend; all I know about it so far are devil fruits(sort of?), but can anyone give me a short simple explanation on the show and its lore. Thanks!
One piece is a very long and interestingly annoying anime. I label it "interestingly annoying" because of the speed of the entire series. Unlike most other animes, One piece is very slow paced and a fight could usually take way too many episodes. If you aren't into really long and awesome animes then One piece Isn't for you. I say this because the anime is currently on 855 episodes but yet it hasn't reached half of its enitre story.
Now that I've got that out of the way, I'll briefly summarise the show from my perspective. The One piece anime revolves around Luffy, a boy who sets out to become the King of Pirates. However, before he can reach his goal, he would have to assemble a very good pirate crew and then navigate his way to Raftel.
In order to get to Raftel, Luffy and his crew would need to find the map to Raftel, the problem thou is that the map can only be gotten from combinning Poneglyphs (ancient texts left by an ancient civilization).
Also, the World Government (a political organization made of majority of the world) rules pirates as threats to the world and so Pirates are kinda illegal. The World Government uses the Marines by placing bounties on Pirates that prove themselves to be notorious. This makes it very difficult for Pirates to sail around freely. And so luffy must constantly fend off the Marines that try to capture him and his friends, while facing the difficulties of pirate rivalry.
And finally, the best part. Devil fruits. These mystical fruits give whomever eats them special abilities which vary from (1) being able to control elemental forces of nature like water, wind lightning and all those good stuff (Logia types) to (2) becoming an ancient or mythical creature (Mythical zoan type) to (3) having abilities other than the first and second. AKA paramecia type. However, whomever eats such fruits looses the ability to swim.
I hope this helps but then pls bear in mind, the One piece anime is way too broad to completely compress into a definitive short summary.
The Anime Scientist gives a good overview of the series' major points, but for a bit more depth, I though I'd break it down into the major 'arcs' (caution: significant spoilers ahead for anyone who isn't up to date). This also won't be short, because, well... One Piece is complicated :P
Disclaimer: For the hardcore fans - yes, I know there's heaps of stuff missing. I've tried to break the series down into the least amount of information so that it still flows and makes some kind of sense. For the people who are new to One Piece - there's also no way to convey the gravity of some of the really emotional moments, so if the first few spoiler blocks tickle your fancy, stop reading and go and enjoy the series. Then come back and tell me how much I forgot to include here :P
We meet Luffy, the main character of the series, who has set out to become the Pirate King, inspired by another pirate named Shanks (commonly referred to as 'Red-Haired' Shanks). He first meets Zoro, who has the goal of becoming the world's strongest swordsman (a title currently held by a man name Dracule Mihawk) and Zoro joins Luffy after he is rescued from the Marines (effectively the "police" of the One Piece world). We then meet Usopp (a notorious liar with exceptional sniping abilities), Sanji (who wants to find a mythical ocean called 'All Blue' where all the fish in the world can be found - he's also an exceptional chef) and Nami (who wants to draw a complete map of the world - her nautical navigation skills are second-to-none). With a crew of five, they head towards 'Reverse Mountain', which acts as the entry point to the Grand Line (a sea which is basically the equator of the world, but bordered by an area known as the 'Calm Belt' which is essentially impassable to sailing ships.
Twin Capes/Whiskey Peak
After coming down reverse mountain, we meet Crocus, who is currently looking after a whale named Laboon, whose crew left him behind and then died. We also meet Miss Wednesday and Mr. 9, members of an organisation called 'Baroque Works', who are trying to kill Laboon for food. After chasing them off, we arrive at Whiskey Peak, which is a front for Baroque Works to trap naive pirates, although Zoro beats up most of them. We discover that Miss Wednesday is actually a princess from the country of Arabasta named Vivi and has infiltrated Baroque Works to try and figure out what they play to do in her country. She joins the crew who promise to escort her back to Arabasta
We next head to a prehistoric island called Little Garden where two giants (Dorry and Brogy) have been fighting for the last 100 years over a fishing contest. We also meet Mr. 3. and Miss Goldenweek, plus Mr. 5 and Miss Valentine (all Baroque Works agents) who try to sabotage the giants' fight but are thwarted by the crew. Nami also falls quite unwell to an insect bite and the crew decides she needs urgent medical treatment
This winter island is ruled by a cruel dictator named Wapol who has banished all but 20 of the country's doctors (who only serve him and a select few citizens who must beg the king). It is also home to Chopper, who ultimately saves Nami from her infection and joins the crew as the doctor. We also meet Dr. Kureha (Chopper's mentor) and Dalton (who becomes the new king of Drum)
We arrive in Vivi's country to discover that there is a serious drought and hasn't been any rain in several years. Vivi reveals that the head of Baroque Works is a pirate named Crocodile who is likely the mastermind behind an attempt to take the throne. Crocodile is also a member of the Seven Warlords of the Sea (called the 'Shichibukai') - seven pirates who have permission from the World Government to basically deter other pirates. Luffy confronts Crocodile, but is initially defeated when he is stabbed through the stomach, although we discover that Crocodile is vulnerable when he gets wet (he has the Sand Devil Fruit, which means most physical attacks don't affect him). We also meet Miss All Sunday, the right hand (wo)man of Crocodile. Luffy recovers and eventually beats Crocodile, the rest of the crew thwart a bomb plot by Baroque Works and we learn about the Poneglyphs, indestructible engraved stones that contain the history of the world from an era known as the 'Void Century', which it is forbidden to study. As they are departing, Miss All Sunday (whose name is really Nico Robin) appears on their ship and joins the crew (Luffy saved her during the final showdown with Crocodile and now she was nowhere to go)
Long story short: There's an island 10km up in the sky. The crew go there, discover a ton of gold, beat Enel (a self-proclaimed god who has the Ligtning Devil Fruit) discover another Poneglyph and learn that Gol D. Roger (the previous Pirate King) had travelled there before and was following the Poneglyphs (although he shouldn't have been able to read them)
Oh boy. I'm going to try and bullet point this one, but I'll still probably miss half the major events
- The crew's ship (The Going Merry) is in bad condition and needs repairs
- Some workers from Galley La Company assess the ship and determine it can't be fixed (the keel is damaged)
- Franky (a cyborg who terrorises Water 7) steals the money they got from selling the gold they found on Sky Island
- Luffy tells the crew the ship needs to be replaced
- Usopp accuses Luffy of not caring about the ship and fights him, loses the fight and leaves the crew
- Robin disappears and is then framed for the assassination attempt of Iceburg, the mayor of Water 7
- We learn that some of the Galley La workers really belong to a secret division of the World Government known as 'CP-9' who are spies (think CIA/MI-6 etc.) and are trying to locate the plans to a super-weapon known as 'Pluton'
- Robin (and Franky) are taken by CP-9 to Enies Lobby (a government island which is supposed to act like a courthouse)
- The crew chase after Robin and Luffy beats up most of Enies Lobby
- Having been previously beaten by Rob Lucci (strongest member of CP-9), Luffy realises his attacks need to get stronger, so we see 'Gear Second' for the first time. Essentially, he uses his Rubber Devil Fruit to make his heart pump faster and his attacks get way faster and a lot stronger
- Robin admits that she willingly surrendered to CP-9 to protect the crew, because they wouldn't survive with the World Government as their enemy
- Luffy tells Usopp (who has re-joined the party disguised as 'Soge King') to shoot and burn the World Government flag (an act of war) and then tells Robin he doesn't care who her enemies are
- We see Luffy's 'Gear Third' where he inflates parts of his body to the size of a giant
- The crew beat all of CP-9 and rescue Robin
- The Going Merry arrives (we don't actually know how) and rescues the crew
- The crew give Merry a Viking funeral and all of the fans collectively cry over the loss of a ship (yes, the series is that amazing)
- Franky gifts the crew a new ship called 'Thousand Sunny' which he built after spending the stolen money on supplies
- Franky joins the crew as the shipwright
- Usopp apologises to Luffy and rejoins the crew
We come across a ghost ship which has a living skeleton on it named Brook. Luffy immediately invites him to join the crew, but we learn that he doesn't have a shadow (it was stolen) and so he can't be in sunlight. It turns out that his shadow was stolen by a Shichibukai named Moria who rules over a massive pirate ship called Thriller Bark. We arrive at Thriller Bark, beat up Moria and recover everyone's shadows. It also turns out that Brook is part of the crew that Laboon (the whale at Twin Peaks that Crocus is looking after) is waiting for and Luffy tells him that he's still alive and waiting for them. After defeating Moria, another Shichibukai named Kuma shows up and threatens to kill Luffy. Using his Devil Fruit, he extracts all of the 'damage' that Luffy suffered during his fight with Moria and Zoro agrees to take it, in return for Luffy being spared, which very nearly kills Zoro.
Get the tissue box ready :(
We first learn about the Celestial Dragons, who are the 'Nobles' of the world (they have human slaves, wear helmets so they don't have to breathe the same air as the 'lower classes' and can basically get away with any crime they like - you get the idea). Harming one is major taboo which will lead to a Marine Admiral coming after you, so of course, Luffy punches one in the face. They manage to escape and meet Silvers Rayleigh, the right hand man to the previous Pirate King, Gol D. Roger. He reveals a ton of stuff about what happened when he was with Roger (including that they know what happened during the Void Century and what One Piece is) although Robin declines to hear about the Void Century (as Rayleigh puts it - "it's too soon and there's not much you could do about it as you are now") and Luffy yells at Usopp for asking what One Piece is (because that would "be a boring adventure"). One of the Marine Admirals (Kizaru) appears along with Kuma to apprehend Luffy for punching the Celestial Dragon and it quickly becomes clear that the crew can't win this fight. In the infamous anime episode 405 (I can't remember which manga chapter), Kuma uses his Devil Fruit ability to blast all 9 crew members off the island, separating them all over the world. Many tissues are required and the first time you experience this, it feels like your world has just been torn apart.
With the crew separated, the series mostly follows Luffy for the next few arcs, but we do get occasional updates on the crew. This is out of order with how we learn about them, but it's easier to just put it all in one place
- Zoro: Is on the island where Mihawk lives, who trains him
- Nami: Is on a Sky Island called Weatheria, where she learns from the scientists living there
- Usopp: Is on an island which is really a canivorous plant, he gets stronger by training with the only other inhabitant, Heracles'n
- Sanji: Is on an island inhabited by only cross-dressers (the Japanese term is 'Okama')
- Chopper: Is on an island with a primitive tribe and giant birds who are at war with each other, but the primitive tribe has some advanced medical techniques using local plants which Chopper learns about
- Robin: Arrives on a bridge being built by slaves, but is rescued by the Revolutionary Army (we don't actually know a lot about what she does after that)
- Franky: Is on an island called Bulgemore, which is where Vegapunk grew up and has his laboratory. He "accidentally" blows it up by hitting the self-destruct button, but rebuilds himself and adds extra weapons to his body
- Brook: Arrives on an island which is being attacked by another tribe, but is kidnapped and becomes a musical superstar known as 'Soul King'
Luffy arrives on an island inhabited only by woman (men are forbidden there) which is ruled by another of the Shichibukai, Boa Hancock. After failing to be seduced by her (Luffy is kind of oblivious to women), she ends up falling in love with him and revealing that she and her sisters were previously slaves to the Celestial Dragons. Luffy then learns that his brother, Ace, has been captured and is sentenced to die soon. Hancock, who has previously been ignoring the Navy's summons to attend the execution, agrees to smuggle Luffy into Impel Down, the underwater prison where Ace is currently being held, before heading to Marineford, where the execution will take place.
Hancock manages to get Luffy into the prison undetected and he makes his way down from the first floor (the lower levels house the more dangerous criminals). Along the way we pick up a few familiar faces, including Buggy (who we met at the start of the series), Mr. 2 and Mr. 3 (from Baroque Works), who help Luffy progress further. On level four, Luffy comes face-to-face with the warden of the prison, Magellan, who has the Poison Devil Fruit. Luffy loses the fight with him, is fatally poisoned and thrown in level five to die. Mr. 2 saves him and is then rescued by Ivankov, a member of the Revolutionary Army with the Hormone Devil Fruit who also happens to be the ruler of the island Sanji is currently on. He/she (Ivankov is an Okama, so the pronoun constantly changes) uses the hormones on Luffy, who agonises for several hours, before eventually (and miraculously) recovering from Magellan's poison. The group (including a number of Okama who were hiding with Ivankov) make their way down to level six, only to discover that Ace has already been handed over to the escort ship. Level six also houses Jinbe (a former Shichibukai) and Crocodile (who Luffy beat in Arabasta) who join the party and start heading back to the surface. On the way back up, we run into Blackbeard, the pirate who beat Ace and handed him over the Navy, who is there to try and break out dangerous criminals so that he can add them to his crew
Marineford (aka "The Whitebeard War")
Luffy makes it to Marineford, where an all-out war breaks out. On our side are the Whitebeard Pirates (Ace is the Second Divison Commander of the Whitebeard Pirates), Whitebeard's allies and the escapees from Impel Down. On the Navy's side are about 100,000 marines; including the Fleet Commander (Sengoku), all 3 Admirals (Aokiji, Kizaru and Akainu), most of the Vice-Admirals plus 5/7 Shichibukai (Jinbe has defected and Crocodile's replacement, Blackbeard, is currently in Impel Down). We learn that Ace is actually the son of Gol D. Roger and he asked Garp (Luffy's grandfather and a Navy Vice-Admiral) to look after him. Luffy makes it to the execution platform and rescues Ace, but while they are retreating, Ace is killed by Akainu. Just after you've finished bawling your eyes out, Blackbeard arrives with the people he broke out of Impel Down, kills Whitebeard and then manages to steal his Devil Fruit (Blackbeard already has the Darkness Devil Fruit, so this theoretically shouldn't have been possible). Once you return from buying another box of tissues, Luffy and Jinbe (who are both critically injured) are rescued by Trafalgar Law (another pirate) who treats the both of them.
We flashback to 10 years earlier, when Luffy and Ace were growing up together. We learn that they both had another brother named Sabo who was the son of nobles (almost Celestial Dragons, but not quite, kind of one class level lower), but rejected that life as he found it morally questionable. Sabo appears to be killed by a Celestial Dragon and Luffy and Ace mourn him and vow to live their life without regrets in honour of him.
After recovering from losing his brother, Luffy is convinced by Rayleigh to not immediately reunite with the crew, but instead spend some time training with him, so that the events aren't repeated. Luffy agrees to this and returns to Marineford, where he is photographed with
3D2Y on his right arm, a message for his scattered crew that instead of the original 3 days (when they were supposed to meet up on Sabaody), it should be two years instead. We end this stage with Luffy beginning his training with Rayleigh and the general consensus among the fan base is that this marks the end of the first half of the series. Yes, you heard that right, we're halfway at this point.
Sabaody Archipelago (Take 2)
Two years later, the crew reunite, beat the crap out of people who were pretending to be them and then head off towards Fishman Island. We get a good indication of how much stronger everyone has become during the two-year training period and it basically demonstrates that they are now ready for the next stage of their journey
The story and fights are sadly a bit of a joke, but I suppose it demonstrates how ridiculously strong the crew have become. Essentially there's a rogue fishman pirate crew who want to take the throne and they get thwarted by Luffy's crew. Luffy lost a lot of blood during his fight though and noone in the crew has the same blood type as him. The fishmen, while grateful for being saved, refuse to provide their blood (it's sort of taboo, there's a lot of racial tension between humans and fishmen). Jinbe appears (he's a fishman) and offers his blood to save Luffy. As Luffy regains consciousness, he invites Jinbe to join the crew, who accepts, but says he has some things to take care of first. We then learn that the Princess (Shirahoshi) is considered to be one of the three "super-weapons" because she can communicate with Sea Kings (basically really big sea creatures). It turns out that Fishman Island was under the protection of Big Mom (one of the four pirate emperors - or 'Yonkou'), but Luffy ate all the chocolate that was tribute to her, so he challenges her to a fight (via Snail Phone) and Fishman Island is now under Luffy's protection
After we leave Fishman Island, we enter the next stretch of the Grand Line, referred to as the 'New World', which is ruled by the Yonkou. After picking up a distress message, the crew head towards Punk Hazard to try and locate the people asking for help. The island is half snow and half on fire as it turns out that Aokiji and Akainu (Navy Admirals) fought after the Whitebeard War for who would be the new Fleet Admiral (Aokiji has the Ice Devil Fruit, Akainu has the Magma Devil Fruit) - Aokiji sadly lost. Turns out that Punk Hazard is being used by a mad scientist named Caeser Clown, who is trying to find a way to create giants (he's experimenting on kids). Trafalgar Law re-appears and forms an alliance with Luffy, and together they capture Caesar (he is capable of producing artificial Devil Fruits) as part of the plot to take down Doflamingo (one of the Shichibukai)
Having captured Caeser, we head to Dressrosa, which is the island that Doflamingo rules over. There are some really tough fights, but we get to see that everyone has gotten significantly stronger and Luffy manages to beat up Doflamingo. While we're there, we also learn that Sabo is still alive and is now a high-ranking member of the Revolutionary Army. He also wins a gladiator-style contest for which the prize is Ace's Fire Devil Fruit (they reappear when their user dies, we don't know much about it though) and subsequently eats it, gaining its abilities.
This island is actually on the top of an elephant, which has been forced to walk the oceans as punishment for something we haven't been told of yet. It was recently ravaged by a member of Kaidou's crew (Kaidou is one of the Yonkou), but Luffy + co earn the trust of the inhabitants (the Mink Tribe) who share some significant information with them. The Log Pose (basically the compass they have been following), does not lead to Raftel, which is where One Piece supposedly is. It does lead to 'something' (we don't know what), but in order to find Raftel, you have to find four special Road Poneglyphs which detail specific locations and then find the center of those four spots. Sanji is kidnapped by Big Mom's crew, as his family has arranged for him to be married to one of Big Mom's daughters. The crew then decide to split up, with half going to Whole Cake Island (Big Mom's territory) and the other half going to Wano (a sumarai island controlled by Kaidou's crew)
Whole Cake Island
Luffy, Nami, Chopper and Brook head to Whole Cake Island to rescue Sanji and steal a copy of the Road Poneglyph that Big Mom has. We learn that Sanji's family are all genetically enhanced to be strong fighters, but Sanji was rejected by his father because he only wanted to be a chef. The wedding is disrupted, Big Mom goes into a massive rampage after the cake is destroyed, Luffy wins one of the most brutal fights of the series so far and Sanji is rescued. However, for the first time, we don't end the arc with the 'villian' being defeated, as Big Mom is (basically) unscathed after the crew escape with help from Jinbe, who has cut his ties with Big Mom in order to join Luffy's crew.
This is where the series is currently up to and I've only read about 10 or so chapters of it, so I can't really summarise what happens. It's shaping up to be quite interesting, but as thing always are with One Piece, there's no telling what will happen. If you've read this far without getting bored, I highly recommend reading and watching the actual series!