One Piece is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Eiichiro Oda, with an anime adaptation produced by Toei Animation. It focuses on a ragtag crew of heroic pirates, formed and led by Monkey D. Luffy. Luffy's greatest ambition is to obtain the world's ultimate treasure, One Piece, and become Pirate King.
The One Piece manga began its serial run in issue #34 of Shueisha's Shonen Jump magazine on August 4, 1997, while the anime adaptation produced by Toei Animation premiered on Fuji TV on October 20, 1999.
Eiichiro Oda originally planned One Piece to last five years, and he had already planned out the ending, but he found himself enjoying the story too much to end it in that amount of time, and now has no idea how long it will take to reach that point. Nevertheless, the author states (as of July 2007) that the ending is still the one he had decided on from the beginning, and he is committed to seeing it through to the end, no matter how many years it takes.
One Piece is the third highest selling manga in the history of Weekly Shonen Jump, (behind Kochikame and Dragon Ball) and is currently their most acclaimed and all-time third-best-selling title in Japan. The manga is so well-liked that it is the first to increase the sales of Weekly Shonen Jump in eleven years. Volume 25 of One Piece holds a manga sales record in Japan, with 2,630,000 units sold in its first printing alone; as of volume 46, the series has sold over 140,000,000 copies domestically, and is the fastest manga to reach sales of 100,000,000.
As the success of One Piece rose within its serialization in Weekly Shonen Jump, the manga was adapted into an animated television series. The anime (a mostly faithful adaptation of the manga) debuted in 1999, but animated One Piece had its origins one year earlier with an OVA. It was translated into English and brought over the Pacific in 2004, when it debuted on 4Kids TV. Since then, it has migrated to Cartoon Network's Toonami block, and is currently helmed by FUNimation.
Konosuke Uda, the director, said that the he believes that the creators "made the anime pretty close to the manga."
Oda has referenced many real-life pirates over the course of the manga as well as many other figures of the Golden age of Pirates. These have included; Bartholomew Roberts (Batholomew Kuma), Edward Teach (Marshall D. Teach, Thatch and Edward Newgate), Samuel Bellamy (Bellamy the Hyena), Francois l'Ollonais (Roronoa Zoro), John Hawkins (Basil Hawkins),Henry Morgan (Captain Morgan), Bartolomeo Português (Portgas D. Ace), Samuel Burgess (Jesus Burgess), John Auger (Van Auger), Jean Lafitte (Lafitte), Francis Drake (X. Drake), William Kidd (Captain Kid), Woodes Rogers (Gol D. Roger) and female pirates such as Awilda (Alvida) and Anne Bonny (Jewelry Bonney). In addition, Calico Jack has two references, both in the Rumbar Pirates captain "Calico" Yorki and in his famous flag, where the two crossed swords and skull are believed to be referenced by the flag of Red-Haired Shanks. However out of these references, only Zoro, Morgan, Alvida, Bellamy, Whitebeard, Thatch and Teach have been confirmed by the creator.
Another pirate related reference comes from the Shichibukai. They are loosely based on the privateers of old Europe. The privateers were approved pirates, considered heroes in their homeland and pillagers in others. Their main goal was to plunder the villages and towns of the then mighty country of Spain.
The worlds "Great Age of Piracy" is comparable to the Golden Age of Piracy in the real world. The flow of pirates into the Grand Line, is equally comparable to the flow of pirates into the Caribbean.
One Piece - Season 1, First Voyage (Uncut)
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