Sunday, July 21, 2013

Rosy's scrawled manga recommendation: One Piece by Oda Eiichiro

One Piece
Oda Eiichiro

Gold Roger was known as the Pirate King, the strongest and most infamous being to have sailed the Grand Line. The capture and death of Roger by the World Government brought a change throughout the world. His last words before his death revealed the location of the greatest treasure in the world, One Piece. It was this revelation that brought about the Grand Age of Pirates, men who dreamed of finding One Piece (which promises an unlimited amount of riches and fame), and quite possibly the most coveted of titles for the person who found it, the title of the Pirate King.
Enter Monkey D. Luffy, a 17-year-old boy who defies the standard definition of a pirate. Rather than the popular persona of a wicked, hardened, toothless pirate who ransacks villages for fun, Luffy’s reason for being a pirate is one of pure wonder; the thought of an exciting adventure and meeting new and intriguing people, along with finding One Piece. Following in the footsteps of his childhood hero, Luffy and his crew travel across the Grand Line, experiencing crazy adventures, unveiling dark mysteries and battling strong enemies, all in order to reach One Piece.

Alternative names
One Piece
Đảo hải tặc
Één stuk
Jeden Kawałek
O piesă
ون بيس ، قطعة واحدة 
Bir Parça
Isang piraso
Budak Getah
วัน พีซ


Manga reader sites (free)
Manga Fox

Rosy's scrawlings on One Piece
This is one of the most enjoyable mangas I've ever read. It is pure, light-hearted and full of fun. There's a range of characters fighting a range of personal issues, with enemies becoming friends and friends becoming enemies or at least combatants. All within the quick paced and unpredictable world of pirates and sea monsters. The story is one revolving around a giant treasure hunt but it is the varied desires, struggles and goals of each character that is most important and what adds depth and heart to the story.
The story follows Luffy, with his name in translation occasionally changing, as he goes from being a very young boy desiring of being a pirate to a young man gathering his pirate crew, setting out to the Grand Line and doing battle with various opponents. Of the crew he gathers there's a thief wanting to rescue her village, a swordsman wanting to become the best in the world, a chef who wants to find the utopian bright blue (I think it is called - something blue, anyway) and so on. Everyone wants something different but they all band together with Luffy, one who has eaten a Devil's Fruit that gives him the stretchy powers of rubber because Luffy accepts their goals, helps them unequivocally and brings a blast of life, fun and freedom to their lives. Luffy is the embodiment of a freedom and adventure loving pirate, no more, no less.
The manga is made of short instalments of a giant adventure, reducing the reading drag long volumes can create. The action is quick and the characters strange and varied, although many identify as pirates, islanders or marines. The sea voyages are broken up by island landings, fights between pirates, boat chases, monster attacks and even a wild storm or two. Like many a manga there's more than a few face-offs between enemies but they are far less structured and often reflect the sneaky nature of the more violent and nasty pirates. On top of this, the Devil's Fruit that Luffy ate wasn't the only one. Others with strange powers abound, often being marines or pirates themselves. 
The art of One Piece is mostly made up of light lines and lots of white but darkness and shadows are introduced not through shading but with solid black, creating enormous depth on occasion. There's plenty of texture and an emphasis on the odd and comical. Expressions and physical features are often far from realistic and only add to the unique nature of the art. Overall, the art is as enjoyable as the story, both being light and bright as well as coloured with heavier issues.

I'd recommend this manga to: everyone male and female, young and old.

Notes on manga reader sites
The quality of manga readers can vary. The uploads are often done cheaply or as a serious hobby by a collective. Be aware that sometimes licence hasn't been given but the sites noted above, Manga Fox in particular, are extremely careful about adding and pulling mangas according to license agreements. So you shouldn't have to worry too much about the material being pirated. There are also translated works and non-translated. Amongst the translated works you will find that the quality of translation may vary according to the skills of the translators. Usually the works are perfectly readable anyway, with only a few added or dropped words or a word in the incorrect tense or with/out plurals. But sometimes the text becomes gobbledygook. In which case, either seek another version or give up and buy an official copy once a printed translation comes out. The other issue of note is you may need to expand the screen to read the text easily as sometimes the scans are minimised a little.
I find that if a page doesn't download properly or some other issue occurs (too slow or someone ordered the pages incorrectly etc.) with one reader then skipping across to another reader and picking up where I was is quite easy and rarely annoying.
Otherwise, enjoy and watch out you don't get too addicted you forget about the necessary things in life.

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