One Piece: How to Get Started with the Anime & Manga

Eiichiro Oda's long-running manga One Piece is considered by many to be the crown jewel of Weekly Shonen Jump. One of the magazine's "Big 3" alongside Naruto and Bleach, the series began its run in 1997 and helped create a new wave of anime fans outside of Japan during the 2000s. It's been running weekly in Shonen Jump ever since, and with 98 volumes published so far, it also holds the Guinness World Record for "the most copies published for the same comic book series by a single author." If that wasn't enough, it's one of the best selling comic series of all time, too, with over 480 million copies sold.

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Beyond this, One Piece is also famous for its energetic storytelling and vibrant characters but counter to this, its story begins with an execution. Just before he's hung from the gallows, the Pirate King Gold D. Roger reveals that he's hidden his greatest treasure all together in "one piece." This revelation kickstarts a new generation of pirates as people from everywhere hit the high seas to find the One Piece and become the next King of the Pirates. Among them is Monkey D. Luffy, a boy with a rubber body who sets out on a journey to assemble a crew, find the One Piece and claim the title that comes with it. From there, One Piece follows Luffy and his friends as they visit far-off lands, get entangled in government conspiracies and unravel ancient mysteries, only growing closer as a crew as they near their ultimate goal. While the series might seem insurmountable to get started with, it's certainly worth the journey. Here's where you watch the anime and read the manga.

Where To Read the One Piece Manga

There are currently 98 volumes of One Piece. Digital editions can be found on Comixology, NOOK and Viz Media's website, while print versions can be found whereever manga is sold, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble. There are also three-in-one omnibus editions that are also available on most major sites.

If you're someone who prefers binge-reading in print, then the One Piece manga box sets might be worth the investment. The first Box Set includes Volumes 1 - 23, covering every arc from East Blue to Alabasta. These sets are usually priced around $185.99 and can typically be found on sites like Amazon and RightStuffAnime. There are currently three One Piece manga box sets, with a fourth one, covering the arcs from Dressrosa to Reverie, now available for preorder.

If digital manga is more your thing, or you're looking for a more affordable solution, the official Shonen Jump app might be for you. This app gives you access to the magazine's long back catalog of manga, including all of One Piece, for just $1.99 a month -- and the first three chapters are completely free to read. Long-time fans of the series can also read new chapters every Sunday in the app, released at the same time as Japan, with the three most recent chapters also available to read for free.

Where to Watch the One Piece Anime

The One Piece anime first aired on Fuji TV in 1999 and was produced by Toei Animation (the studio behind the likes of Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon). The series has released weekly ever since and, as of this writing, there are 965 episodes and counting. Toei is also responsible for the 14 One Piece feature films and 13 television specials.

One Piece has had two English dubs: the ongoing Funimation dub that began in 2007 and the infamous 2004 4Kids dub. The 4Kids dub of One Piece was notorious for censoring and shredding the anime, cutting the 143 episodes the company had acquired down to 104 and nixing any smoking, blood and violence from the series. When 4Kids lost the rights in 2006, Funimation picked up the series and created a more faithful translation with casting that many regard as being on par with the original Japanese production.

All 965 episodes of One Piece are available subbed on Crunchyroll and Funimation, though the latter also has all the dubbed episodes that are currently available. If you're without a subscription to either, Netflix has the first 130 episodes both subbed and dubbed, a good starting point for newcomers. Blu-rays of the films can be found on most major sites; standouts like One Piece: Strong World and One Piece: Film Z, in particular, are readily available on Amazon.

Between the anime and the manga, fans will typically recommend the manga, as it has much stronger pacing and is more consistent in terms of the art quality. But however you get into One Piece, you likely won't regret it.

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