‘One Piece’ reaches the thousandth episode as a cult saga and will become a series – 11/19/2021 – Nerdices

Yassine Khiri

Charlotte Causit

Paris

AFP

The Straw Hat Pirate’s adventures have conquered the world: the manga “One Piece” has established itself for more than 20 years as one of the most popular animated series with the release this weekend of its 1000th episode.

“It’s a miracle,” acknowledges Ryuji Kochi, president for Europe, Middle East and Africa of Toei Animation, the Japanese company that has produced the animated series since 1999.

“In the beginning it wasn’t easy to broadcast on TV or have fans,” he tells AFP. “But we persisted and it was only after 13 years of broadcasting that ‘One Piece’ became a phenomenon.”

Since the publication of volume 1 in 1997 in Japan, the hunt for “One Piece”, a treasure coveted by all pirates and, above all, Luffy, hero of the series, has kept hundreds of millions of fans in suspense around the world .

And multiply the records. With 490 million copies of the manga sold, the author of the work Eiichiro Oda, 46, was awarded the Guinness in the category “highest number of copies of the same comic book published by a single author”.

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Enough to make the release of Episode 1000, scheduled for this weekend in 80 countries, a global event and a symbolic milestone for fans.

In Tokyo, a huge mural representing the main characters of the manga adorns the bustling Shibuya station. Fans from Europe, the Middle East and Africa broke the world record for selfies on a platform launched by the producer, with 20,000 photos with a “wanted” poster background.

In France, the world’s second-largest market for Japanese manga and animation series, more than 100 cinemas in the CGR network are planning a “marathon” of screenings before the 1,000th episode is broadcast. The operation will also be organized in Belgium and Luxembourg.

ALL THE SUBJECTS

“I’m a fan [da série] ‘One Piece’ 20 years ago! I’ve watched it since college and still enjoy it”, commented a Japanese netizen on Twitter, excited to see the continuation of Luffy’s adventures on the screen.

How to explain such longevity? “What makes this manga so special is, above all, Eiichiro Oda’s script and intelligence,” says Ryuji Kochi.

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“It’s complete, it talks about all subjects. It has social, action, humor. ‘One Piece’ manages to relate to the real subjects of society”, comments French Alexis Poriel, 26 years old.

Industrialization, racism, slavery, geopolitical intrigues… In addition to the topics covered, the immense universe of “One Piece” is crossed by cultural and geographic references (ancient Egypt, Venice, Andalusia, medieval Japan…) that give it a universal dimension.

“The important thing about ‘One Piece’ is that we have several levels of reading. This allows it to reach all age groups: both the young reader in search of adventure and the slightly older reader. Who likes a little complexity”, he explains to AFP Benoît Huot, editorial manager of manga at French publisher Glénat.

Although the plot still promises many twists for several years, what is missing from “One Piece” to reach an even larger audience beyond Japanese animation fans like cultural franchises like Star Wars or Harry Potter?

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The upcoming release by Netflix, the streaming platform with more than 200 million subscribers, of a series adapted from the “One Piece” universe should help, its producers believe.

The announcement of the official casting on social media, which ignited the internet in early November with more than 3 million views, gave a first glimpse of the expectation raised.