As a start from the 20th anniversary of One Piece, I have decided to go back and start from the very beginning, hitting all the (to me) available media in chronological order. Already did the first 10 manga volumes + the 1998 OVA "Defeat The Pirate Ganzack" and today is the point where I go back to the very first episode of the anime. I will just give some quick thoughts and notes about the respective ep incl. some info that might be interesting to those that have never read the manga. I will not do episodes on the days where I hit a manga volume, a movie, a OVA etc..
So. let's start with the very first intro:
Episode 1: "I'm Luffy! The Man Who Will Become The Pirate King!"
Several difference already from the manga:
-In true Western Animated Series fashion, instead of starting with Luffy's origin story first, they start with the short Alvida episode first. -The anime also introduces Nami very early here (although here, she never speaks a line of dialogue) whereas in the manga we see her in the Buggy arc for the first time. -The setting here is also very different: while in the manga, the whole Alvida story took place on an unknown island (Alvida's base most likely), here it takes place on a cruise ship that Alvida's Pirate Crew attacks. -The story moves along more or less the same (with some minor differences like Coby having a boat that he built for two years since being captured by Alvida and it being destroyed by her when she discovers him and Luffy).
For a first episode, it is really good giving us a good introduction to Luffy and a quick bit into his character and also the introduction of his Gum-Gum powers was awesome.
See you tomorrow for Episode 2.
Lupin the Third
Patti Mayonnaise I'm sorry.....I love you. *boot to the head*--3rd most culpable in the jixing of NXT, D'oh!
Episode 2: "The Great Swordsman Appears! Pirate Hunter Roronoa Zoro"
One thing I love about Oda is how he brings back characters most others would disregard as being the essence of one-shot characters and let them have their own growth on the way. Like Coby and Helmeppo for example. Who would have thought that those two would actually get another appearance down the line (OK, Coby, I can see but Helmeppo? Not a bet I would have taken)?
Captain Morgan has certainly a cool design with his axe arm and metal jaw and he is one I hope we will see again someday to see what he is up to these days (perhaps he is revealed as one of Blackbeard's underlings pretty low on the totem pole)?
Nothing majorly different from the manga except for two things:
-Again, Nami gets a few scenes here way before her actual introduction (she even gets her first line of dialogue in the series). -During the scene where the Marines point their guns at Zoro and Coby at the end, we actually see the full backstory of Zoro in the manga. Here, we only get a small snippet (again probably because the producer wanted to get to the action first before doing any origin stuff).
Otherwise, only minor things (How Zoro got imprisoned is told in more detail than in the manga where it was just one panel, Rika (the small child) getting told by her mother to stay away from Ruffy and company because Ruffy hits Helmeppo etc.). Oh yeah, Coby gets grazed by a bullet shot in the manga which does not happen here.
Episode 3 "Luffy vs. Morgan! Who is the mysterious pretty girl?"
One thing I noticed about the intro...if you just follow the manga via the volumes instead of the chapters, it contains spoilers by showing Smoker and Dragon who until this point were only known to those who read the chapters.
Another good episode that may not have the kind of battles the series would become eventually known for, but it gives a first hint at Zoro's potential. Furthermore, we learn something more about how the world geography is structured with the Red Line and Grand Line.
Differences from the manga: -While the marines just stay still when Morgan gives the order that all weaklings should shoot themselves in the anime, in the manga they actually immediately aim their weapons at their heads. Strange edit (considering what happens in the next ep). -More Nami appearances and we also get an early glimpse of Buggy (silhouette only) before he was introduced in the following arc.
Nice bit of (accidental?) foreshadowing here: -The two powers Morgan mentions as examples for Devil Fruit powers are "breathing fire" and "causing tsunamis"...which are actually the powers of Ace and Whitebeard later.
Break tomorrow to read Volume 11 of the manga so see you the day after tomorrow!
*Quick info: During my first go at One Piece, I went as far as the Thriller Bark Arc before calling it quits which is why I sometimes can talk on things that have not happened yet.
Episode 4: "Luffy's Past! Enter the Red-Haired Shanks!"
This episode features the first of three changes from the manga which I consider to be part of a common theme:
Manga: The very first scene of the manga. To show Shanks's crew how tough he is, Luffy intentionally stabs himself under his eye with a knife which created his scar he has under his eye. Anime: We just see a clean-faced Luffy during the whole flashback. Anime viewers never get to know how Luffy got his scar.
More on that as we go in this series.
So, yeah finally we go into Luffy's past 4 episodes in. A nice Anime version of the manga although it feels sometimes more rushed than the pace it went in the manga. Again love the foreshadowing of just something as simple as Shanks glaring at the King of the Sea having more than meets the eye.
Speaking of the King Of The Sea, kinda find it sad that the flashback did not feature adult Luffy setting out to sea and punching him out (something that's only relegated to the anime opening).
Episode 5: "A Terrifying, Mysterious Power! Captain Buggy, The Clown Pirate!"
Fun fact: Oda originally wanted to name him "Boogie", then he saw a movie with a character named "Boogie". Decided after that to change his name to Buggy.
Quite a bit of differences compared to the manga version:
-That crew member Buggy pardoned after the former gave him terrible news? Yeah, Buggy killed him with a Buggy Ball in the manga. -While the bit with Nami declaring that pirates killed a loved one of hers, she never mentions using the 100 million beri to buy a village (just calling it "a secret" after Luffy asks her). -The anime also drops the introduction of one of Nami's traits: her high tolerance of alcohol meaning that she can drink anybody under the table.
In general, this episode felt a bit rushed when compared to the manga. Seems like the anime producers were not interested in all that talking in the manga and just wanted to get to the action parts quickly. Kinda sad though because the first talk between Nami and Luffy in the manga was fun (with lots of angry faces by Nami). Also Luffy feels even more dumb than usual being mostly oblivious to Nami capturing him to bring to Buggy which he was not as much in the manga.
Positive is the introduction of Buggy who is a really fun character, brought wonderfully to life by his VA.
Episode 6: "Desperate Situation! Beast Tamer Mohji vs. Luffy!"
Ah yeah, the days when underlings could just be beat with one-hit punches instead of taking multiple episodes.
Chouchou's voice was just terrible. Couldn't they have used some stock dog sound effects they surely have somewhere instead of somebody VAing him? At no time did it sound like a dog but more like a guy/girl imitating a dog.
Also like how Mohji is portrayed as this strong evil, compared to the joke character he and his pet lion Richie became later.
Like last episode, I am really surprised that compared to later One Piece or other anime series, that the episode seems to just rush through the manga content. While the manga had a slower pace, the anime feels rushed, hitting all the bullet points while leaving out things that they do not consider important.
Some minor points:
-The mayor just introduces himself as mayor. It is not until later we learn his name whereas in the manga he immediately states his full name. -In the manga, Luffy gets his first real angry face when he beats Mohji while he just shows his normal face here. -There was a really funny gag with Buggy and Mohji when the latter loses consciousness before telling Buggy that Luffy is a rubberman. Buggy misinterprets him and chews him out for it (don't know what the gag is in the Japanese or English version though since I only have the German translation). -You actually see Chouchou crying in the manga when he stands in front of his burning pet food store while nothing like this is in the anime. -Originally, Cabaji appeared here along with the mayor confronting Buggy, wanting to take on the mayor which is denied by Buggy since the mayor challenged him.
Small things yeah, but kinda noticeable when comparing the manga to the anime.
Episode 7: "Epic Showdown! Swordsman Zoro vs. Acrobat Cabaji!"
This episode features the second of the 3 edits I mentioned in my Episode 4 review.
Manga: To show how tough he is to Cabaji, Zoro intentionally cuts himself into his existing wound with his sword. Anime: To show how tough he is to Cabaji, Zoro lets himself intentionally be stabbed by Cabaji into his existing wound.
Otherwise, this episode featured a far more interesting fight with the Zoro vs. Cabaji and the first part of the Luffy vs. Buggy fight (the latter actually taking quite a big part in this) compared to the Luffy vs. Mohji confrontation in the previous ep.
Kinda funny though that someone like Cabaji would probably be the equivalent of an annoying fly for the Zoro of today.
Only other small change from the manga version was that it was Buggy who originally threw Mohji towards Luffy (after getting angry that Mohji did not tell him about Luffy's rubber fruit powers), not Cabaji as in the anime.
Also whereas the two previous episodes seemed to go at a rushed pace, this one actually slows things down a bit with the following:
-Anime-only sequence where we see how Nami steals Buggy's treasure and map. -Flashback inserts to Episode 4 when Buggy cuts Luffy's hat.
Episode 8: "Who is the victor? Devil Fruit Power Showdown"
And so the Buggy Arc comes to a close. Compared to the other end boss fights that would follow, the fight with Buggy was more on the humorous side without much at stake. It was entertaining enough and the flashback to Buggy and Shanks's youth was fun to watch.
That flashback though begs some questions: Since now we know that Buggy and Shanks were a part of Gold Roger's crew, is this supposed to take place on Gold Roger's ship? When did Gold Roger give his straw hat to Shanks then? Was that guy who admonished them during their fight Rayleigh? Lots of questions that show that this is a rare case where Oda did not have everything that planned out in advance because even in the manga it is very unclear.
Nothing much to say regarding deviations from the manga either.
Just a decent and satisfying conclusion to One Piece's second arc (at 5 episodes' length ).
So, we skip a chapter in the manga (or rather postpone it until later, more on that when it comes up) to go right into the Captain Black Arc that introduces us to Usopp.
Personally, I think that among the Strawhats Usopp is the one who has gotten the most development of the strawhats character-wise over the course of the series. From his humble beginnings here as perhaps the weakest of the strawhats to becoming a strong fighter in his own right, he has come a long way (though I think his real Baptism of Fire was the Water 7/Enie's Lobby arc where he truly became a capable member of the Strawhat crew).
Fun fact about the three members of Usopp's Pirate Crew: In the German dub, they are voiced by the three VAs who also voice Stan, Kyle and Cartman in the German dub of "South Park". Down the line I would have expected them to say something like:
"Oh my god! They killed Usopp!" "You bastards!"
The biggest difference from the manga is the scene where Usopp first encounters Luffy and his crew. It is a lot more elaborate here than it was in the manga with Usopp and his crew using several dozen pirate flags to make it seem like his crew are a lot, a tense moment where Luffy dares Usopp to put his life on the line after the latter threatens him with his slingshot etc. pp.. Compared to that, the manga was just Usopp and his crew seeing them from a cliff, Luffy and his crew noticing them, Usopp's crew running away, him being braggish...and then they are already at the tavern. That scene also has one of my pet peeves (repeating a scene or dialogue from before the break again).
Also different was Luffy already saying that he knew Usopp's father Yasopp which came in the manga only just before Usopp and Luffy overheard Captain Black's plot on the coast.
Smaller differences were: -Miss Kaya's room was on the ground floor and Usopp could just talk to her standing and sitting on the grass in the manga. For some reason, the anime moved her room a floor higher and grew a tree there for Usopp to climb to talk to her. -In the manga, we actually get a brief glimpse into the villagers' reactions inside their houses towards Usopp which paints the whole deal in a better light than the anime does at first. We see people react with a chuckle towards Usopp's cries of help, seeing his calls as the time to go to work (because he always does this at the same time) etc.. In the anime, it does come across like the village hates his guts compared to the more ambivalent feeling the manga gives off.
Episode 10: "The Weirdest Guy Ever?! Jango The Hypnotist!"
Ah yes, Jango. He brings me again to the German dub.
The dubbing studio saw his "moonwalk", misheard his name Jango as "Jacko" for some reason, then something clicked in their minds...and they gave him a falsetto-sorta voice.
Yeah, they made Jango in the German dub into a kinda Michael Jackson parody.
In other news, in the original Japanese, he became the first character voiced by Kazuki Yao who would go on to voice an even longer enduring charcter later in Baroque Works's Mr. 2, Bon Clay...and then even more later landing a regular job on the series as the Straw Hats' 8th member, Franky.
I still remember when I watched that ep for the first time, Klahadore aka Captain Kuro had me hook, line and sinker with his sob story and it was a surprising twist for me later in that episode when he was revealed to be a bad guy.
Nothing much changes from the manga with the one notable thing being Klahadore's flashback to when he came into Kaya's household was more elaborate when it was just one panel in the manga.
Kinda neat that the rope Usopp repels himself from the tree in Kaya's garden would actually find its way into the manga in the Skypia arc.
Episode 11: "Expose The Plot! Pirate Butler Captain Kuro!"
I started to wonder: How did Usopp keep himself afloat until going away with Luffy? He didn't seem to have a job of any kind, the villagers seemed to tolerate him more than anything and he spent all his days playing pirate with his pirate crew. Only solution is that his mother left him a good amount of money when she passed away and he did not seem to spend a lot of it except for the bare necessities. But who knows.
So yeah, Usopp learns the "Boy Who Cried Wolf" lesson in the hardest way possible. And again, by leaving out three small panels in his first appearance, we are really brought to believe the villagers hate his guts (whereas the manga softened it a bit as mentioned). Otherwise, it is more of a good character-focused episode serving as a mirror image of Usopp's previous escapades where he is being honest but all others still believe he is lying (with Ms. Kaya's reaction especially heartbreaking to him). The last scene at the beach especially gives a glimpse into Usopp's honorable personality (he may be a coward, but he knows in his heart what's right).
Differences from the manga are miniscule with one change being due to the change of Kaya's mansion layout where Usopp actually manages to get her into the garden before she slaps him (in the manga, she never leaves the house and slaps him when he tries to take her from the window).
Also Usopp's pirate crew's reaction when he fakes having lied about Klahadore being a pirate was a lot harsher than it was in the manga made all the more wrenching by Usopp's reaction to (he didn't have much of a reaction in the manga).
Tomorrow will be a break because I will take on Manga Volume 12, so see you on Saturday!
Episode 12: "Clash With The Black Cat Pirates! The Great Battle At The Slope!"
I seriously love Captain Kuro's weapon. Such a cool design and I imagine it would be a very tough weapon to handle without cutting yourself every time during the learning phase.
Nothing too much to say about the episode otherwise plot-wise. It is the start of the fight against the Black Cat Pirates and it mostly only features Nami & Usopp holding them off while waiting for Ruffy and Usopp to show up. It is mostly a quiet slow-moving episode, decent but nothing else.
Curious how Zoro's pronounced direction cluelessness did not seem to be a character trait of him this early in the series since he seemed to find the other shore quite well (whereas Luffy is the one who got hopelessly lost). Wonder now when Zoro became to One Piece what Ryoga was to Ranma 1/2.
Also cute to see Nami & Usopp being considered weak. Today, either one of them could probably handle those underlings on their own without breaking a sweat.
Differences from the manga: -The anime adds a scene where Captain Kuro (after apparently killing Merry, one of Ms. Kaya's servants) goes to Ms. Kaya's bedroom and menacingly draws his weapon over her. I guess he just got a small lapse of anger over the three years he spent with her, otherwise it would not make sense for him to kill her right then and there. -Small one: Nami gets pushed by one of the pirates into the grass while in the manga the pirate pushes her into the rocks. Guess the TV censors did not like a petite girl being pushed into a hard place?
Episode 13: "The Terrifying Duo! Meowban Brothers vs. Zoro!"
The Meowban Brothers...probably pretty low on the totem pole of memorable Zoro opponents. Not to mention that Siam's look is especially ugly.
Otherwise, this episode was a nice blend of action (Zoro vs. the Brothers), comedy (Luffy being caught up in the hynotism and going on a rampage) and drama (Ms. Kaya's discovery of the wounded Merry and her realization about Klahadore's true colors), thus making it a pretty good episode.
The only real main difference from the manga is that we get to see the Usopp Pirates trying to enter Ms. Kaya's mansion to warn her when they realise their captain was telling the truth. In the manga, we see them meet up just before they see Ms. Kaya on her way to the beach to confront Klahadore. Ms. Kaya's nightmare about Usopp also included him standing above killed servants of Kaya's household whereas in the anime he just stands over her.
Episode 14: "Luffy Back In Action! Miss Kaya's Desperate Resolve!"
Yes, Luffy is back in action...after only about one episode. They really were on the verge of defeat without him.
Zoro also defeats one of the Meowban Brothers but he still has to contend with the other one who got saved due to being fat.
Kudos to the VA of Captain Kuro who really did a fine balance doing the rather soothing Klahadore voice and the evil Captain Kuro voice. Definitely a plus that the anime has over the manga medium.
Overall, a decent episode but nothing to right home about though I did like how the talk between Kuro and Kaya actually brought its point across better than the manga by being more slow-paced (yeah, in this case the manga felt a bit rushed to me in comparison).
Differences from the manga: -While Captain Kuro has the Meowban Brothers at gun...I mean, clawpoint, he actually pokes Butchie a bit in the throat, drawing a bit of blood in the manga. In the anime, he has the respective claw blade held more towards their mouth. -Jango's chakram actually hits Luffy right in the back of his head drawing blood but he just no-sells it in the manga. In the anime, he is turned 180° and he just catches the chakram with his teeth, biting it to pieces without any blood forthcoming. -Captain Kuro only senses a presence behind him (not realizing it is Ms. Kaya) and slashes in that direction...but luckily Usopp jumps in in time to save Ms. Kaya in the anime. None of this is in the manga where Kaya immediately calls out Kuro as soon as she arrives. -Hurt by his cruel words, Ms. Kaya drops the gun herself in the manga whereas in the anime, Kuro actually takes the gun from her.
See you next time tomorrow! Same One Piece Time, Same One Piece Channel!
Episode 15: "Beat Kuro! Usopp The Man's Tearful Resolve!"
Usopp the man? Are Jake the dog and Finn the human gonna put in an appearance next?
What I realize now looking at this...one improvement Oda made along the line was visually stunning and creative environments to let his protagonists fight in. The slope here is just boring and leaves almost nothing except rocks to make use of in the environment. At least Kuro is an interesting enough fighter to not make it too long-winded.
Run-of-the-middle episode that suffers a bit from the long drawn-out talk between Usopp and Kuro where we get to watch Usopp struggling for a bit to get to his feet only to fall down again in order to stretch the airtime a bit more (in the manga, there was no try of him to stand up; he just lay there until Zoro picked him up). Though the backstory with Captain Kuro was neat to watch.
Fun fact: that marine soldier that Captain Kuro let survive in the flashback (to use him to take and execute the fake Captain Kuro in order to make himself disappear from the face of the earth)...is supposed to be Captain Morgan who we met in the first arc that introduced Zoro. While it is harder to see in the anime, the manga makes it really clear that this soldier is supposed to be Morgan.
Otherwise, no major differences from the manga (only exception see above).