Are you one of those people who feels frustrated after watching an episode of One Piece? Frustrated, in a way that you feel that you may never know the ending of the series? Well, you are not alone! New and long-time fans of the anime have always asked, why One Piece is extremely long.
In a lot of interviews, Oda explained that One Piece is extremely long because the world that he envisioned is vast and full of colorful characters. He felt that having limited episodes or manga releases will not give his vision justice. He wanted to tell the complete story without any limits.
A lot of frustrated One Piece fans believe that the anime and even the manga have become a cash cow, and that is why they are trying to keep on extending it. But, is this really the case? Will we ever know the ending of One Piece before we lose interest? Is it ending soon?
Why One Piece Has A Lot Of Episodes
Let us now find out why our beloved anime has a lot of episodes. Hopefully, this is not just capitalism talking. Either way, we will still keep watching the next episodes, right? (because the story is just that good!)
One Piece Has Pacing Problems
Since the beginning of One Piece anime, it suffered from pacing problems. It was never balanced in terms of actual content, filler episodes, and extended stories.
A lot of fans theorize that this stemmed from the adaptation of the second chapter of the manga as the first few episodes of the anime. This is usual practice for a lot of mangas that have an anime adaptation especially since viewers can easily follow sequential events.
Comparing this to the events that are happening in the manga, the story needs not be sequential as manga readers can simply flip through the pages and figure out the timeline of events as they go through the manga.
In anime, the story is compressed in a way that viewers who do not read or have not read the manga can easily digest the story, without revealing too much of the next plot. This is the reason why anime adaptations sometimes jump from chapter to chapter and present tons of content in a few episodes.
The problem with One Piece is that there is this sudden boom in popularity which the creators did not expect. On the part of Oda, he can execute his full vision of One Piece. In turn, the pacing problem from the get-go cannot be reverted as there is much content needed to be covered in the usual 20-minute episode.
Thus, they tend to separate the happenings and the continuation of the story with the story development of the characters. For example, in the first few arcs, Luffy was still looking for people to join his pirate crew.
Instead of combining the happenings of the story with character development, the anime devotes a few episodes to show viewers some movement with the story, but they also devote a lot of episodes for character development (even more episodes than the actual continuation of the story)
This is clearly shown in the character development of all his crew. Take the story of Nami, when it was time to learn her story, the actual adventure episodes were paused and they zeroed in on why Nami is essential in the Arlong Park Arc.
When the character development of Nami was fully shown in the anime, that was the only time they released episodes with the continuation of the adventure in the Arlong Park Arc.
As you can see, this brings a lot of pacing problems because if you just watched an action-packed episode, that action will be paused for the next episode that enriches the whole arc or even the previous episode.
This is a huge problem for modern anime viewers who are not used to this type of pace. A good example is that of Demon Slayer.
The story progresses with character development, so the pacing is quick. You get enough action and then the story just keeps progressing until it arrives at a conclusion.
For One Piece, you get a general idea of what the arc is going to be about, then you are going to be introduced to what the past characters are going through, what are the stories of the new characters, etc.
This is also the reason why the Marineford Arc has a lot of episodes when in actuality, it is just a war between the Whitebeard Pirates and the Marine Headquarters.
One Piece Manga And One Piece Anime Mismatch
There will always be a mismatch for anime adaptations of manga. This is for the simple reason that the manga is released first. The anime always catches up with the manga.
In the case of One Piece, which turned out to be such a huge success in Japan and abroad, it is a bit different. The anime also gives a bit of breathing room for the next release of the manga. The manga and anime in this case are working hand in hand.
In other animes, they tend to adapt select chapters from the manga, and even if the manga is not yet finished, they create an original ending separate from the manga. Imagine this happening with One Piece. Millions of fans will become enraged (including me).
For animes like Attack on Titan or Demon Slayer, there is no problem as the manga is already finished way before the anime adaptations.
For One Piece the story is being unveiled with each manga release and each episode. No one knows the ending, and this mismatch makes the episodes longer which prolongs the viewers’ agony.
One Piece Has A Lot Of Arcs
Needless to say, One Piece is a lot of content to cover. As we have mentioned previously, anime is different from manga in such a way that viewers should be able to digest the content easily.
So in anime, it is not just storytelling, it is also a bunch of flashbacks, twists over other twists, etc.
The world of One Piece is huge and the journey from East Blue to Raftel (or as comedically known in the manga as Laugh Tale) is a long and treacherous adventure.
If the arcs are just condensed into 12 episodes, the story will be so fast-paced with about three or four episodes dedicated to character development, by the time we reach episode 12, we do not get the sense of how difficult Luffy’s adventure is.
This is not what Oda wants. When One Piece took off and Oda realized that he has the capacity and luxury of time to tell the story how he wants to tell it, he said that he wants the readers and viewers to be taken on the same journey as Luffy.
From the beginning, we were promised Luffy’s aspiration to become the Pirate King and to get the One Piece. If all of the arcs were condensed, will we feel the same satisfaction once Luffy and his crew arrive in Raftel?
If from one episode, Ace just died and the next episodes are already about the Straw Hat Pirates training to develop their haki, will we even feel the absence of Ace?
In special cases such as One Piece, sometimes, it is better for the arcs to be told as it is. The setback is that hundreds of episodes are done for just a single arc, but by the end, we fully get what the arc was all about and how it affected all of the characters.
Was The Length Of One Piece Planned From The Beginning?
The answer is a big NO. No one planned for One Piece to be this huge and lengthy franchise for both the manga and anime.
Oda himself even admitted that the initial plan was for everything to end in five years. Of course, this was before the manga successfully took off and the anime was a huge hit a year after the manga release. (We explain what makes One Piece so incredibly good here!)
In later interviews, Oda shared that in the beginning, it was a huge sacrifice for him to accept that this big story that we wanted to tell may need to end in just five years. However, as we all know, that did not end up as the case.
Nevertheless, Oda took this opportunity to really tell the story how it should be told without worrying about a certain manga and anime finale timeline.
As for the editors and the animators, they never said that they felt that they had a need to extend the episodes just because fans love the anime so much.
They have always maintained that the humongous number of episodes is there for a reason and it is due to the story and characters themselves.
There are just those times when there is a mismatch between the pacing of the release of the manga and anime wherein the anime has no choice but to produce filler episodes (which is still a recurring trend, even in modern anime)
Advantages Of One Piece Having A Lot Of Episodes
Long-time fans of the One Piece anime have grown to love the many episodes. It may be annoying at first as you feel overwhelmed by the number of episodes that you have to consume before even getting a complete idea of what is happening in the first season.
Definitely, patience is key as there are advantages to watching all of those episodes. Take a look at the following:
- Deeper Understanding Of The World Of One Piece
As the world of One Piece is unveiled before our eyes with every episode, we get this sense of familiarity. We form a map of some sort in our heads that categorizes certain places as “home” or “time for adventure,” or even “danger.”
The world where the characters are adventuring or dwelling in is no longer just pieces of land and sea that are segregated into parts. We learn the history of every place the Straw Hat Pirates dock the Going Merry and Thousand Sunny.
This is also the reason why we get a sense of nostalgia when there are flashbacks or even instances when the crew gets to go back to a certain location. The lengthy episodes on a specific area gave us “roots” to have a deeper sense of what is actually going on in that area.
- Falling In Love With The Characters
We are not only introduced to the characters, their capacities, and personalities, but we also learn how they came to be. The way One Piece makes a character lovable is through the lengthy episodes of their backstories.
One Piece takes its time in telling the story of a character that the whole backstory is not done in just one arc. There are a lot of times when the backstory is paused and will just continue in other arcs where it fits appropriately for character development.
In this way, we understand the characters more, even to the point that sometimes we sympathize and even empathize with villains. We understand their pain and happiness, and it makes viewing the character change through the many episodes, worthwhile.
- Formation Of A Community
One of the biggest and most active anime communities is that of One Piece. The majority of the reason is that One Piece has turned into this big franchise and there is a lot of room for discussion.
Due to the lengthy episodes, there is a lot of space for theories and even analogies of past episodes and how those will correlate with future episodes.
Another fun part of having this large community is the determination of Easter eggs that are hidden in the episodes. One might miss them without the presence of the community.
- Reaching The End With The Straw Hat Pirates
The raw length of the anime makes the viewers feel that watching it is an adventure in itself. We have to make it to the end as the culmination of our adventure of watching through 980+ episodes.
We already feel that we are part of the crew, so once we reach the finale, it’s as if our own aspirations were met, in the same way, that the crew wants their goals to be fulfilled.
It is no longer just simply reaching Raftel, it is also about how this long journey will be worth the 10+ years of wait.
Disadvantages Of One Piece Having A Lot Of Episodes
There are also bad things that happen when the anime is too long. We no longer have to ask the viewers who gave up One Piece on their 50th or even 40th episode. But the following situations do happen:
- Need For Filler Episodes
We discussed earlier how the manga and the anime are helping each other to catch up on certain releases. This also includes OVA and independent movies.
In order to make way for those, the age-old technique of filler episodes is done. Sometimes, filler episodes get so annoying when they are just a total repeat of the past 10 episodes.
Probably to make it better, they do it through a series of flashbacks which can further irk an impatient viewer. Even those filler episodes that are made like side quests of a video game can get pretty boring when all the viewer wants to know is what happens next in the story.
- Hard To Get Back To Watching One Piece
It is expected for even a long-time viewer to get tired of watching One Piece. With 900+ episodes, that is completely understandable. Sometimes, you need to step away from it.
But what happens when you stop for a long time? Of course, we forget important or key things in the story that will make it hard for us to understand the next episodes.
For other animes, you just need to rewatch two or three episodes or even a recap to get back on track. For One Piece, you need to devote a day or two to get back on track.
As a shortcut, some people just continue watching after a long pause, and it diminishes the viewing experience.
- A Lot Of Space For Plot Holes
When a story gets longer, there are times when the creator adds elements to the story to further nurture it. It is great that a story gets much better, but it creates an opportunity for plot holes to happen.
We cannot stress how much people bring up the “haki plot hole” in One Piece. Definitely, there were certain instances in a specific arc when haki should have been used by at least two people.
But since the concept of haki and its variations were implemented in the latter part of the anime, there is this huge absence of the use of haki for the first few parts. The same goes for certain instruments or weapons that were introduced in the later episodes.
Are There Times When One Piece Episodes Were Bad?
Fans who are deeply in love with One Piece also express their disdain for the anime when they release filler episodes that are uncalled for or something that simply does not make sense.
We probably need a separate article for counting down our picks for the worst One Piece episodes, but here are a few standouts:
- All of the episodes that summarized the stories of the characters: Seriously though, why? They usually do these episode when the backstories of certain characters just came to a close. So, why devote an entire episode or even two, for summarization? Complete. waste. of. time.
- Anything with Chopperman and Namifia: These episodes are independent from the main story of One Piece. This is where the world is reimagined as a superhero series. Pro tip? Skip them.
- Long Ring Long Land Arc: This is the arc that you need to watch if you want the story to progress as the next arc is action packed. The problem with this arc is that it is just full of activities that do not have anything to do with the story or even character development. However, you cannot skip this arc because sprinkled in certain parts are glimpses of Robin’s story as well as the introduction of Admiral Aokiji. Be patient, this arc will pass.
Is One Piece Ending Soon?
We now have a few context clues that One Piece is ending soon. Before, when Oda is asked when One Piece will end, he usually evades the question or starts rambling that the next parts will justify that the story needs the extra length.
But now, there are interviews where he consistently mentioned that he is already set with a certain timeline for the finale. So at least now, Oda is also projecting that he envisioned an end for One Piece which may come sooner than we think.
Some sources say that he mentioned that he plans to end it four or five years from now. While other sources reported that a former editor said that One Piece will end in two or three years.
Although the reports are varied, one thing is for sure. Oda already said that One Piece already has a timeline on when it is supposed to end. This news is huge, as 10 years ago, Oda never has an answer for this question.
As we all know, Oda is methodical and a perfectionist, so the chances of the ending being set in stone is 90 or even 100%. It is just a matter of execution and production. So let us all be patient, and enjoy the episodes as they come.