One Piece has been around for so long, yet some fans may wonder how much of it was planned from the start.
Series creator Eiichiro Oda has been working hard ever since he was 17 years old. The mangaka won multiple awards for his Wanted! shorts. A few years later, in 1996, he wrote a few stories for the Romance Dawn series. This would eventually become One Piece, which began serialization in 1997.
Over 25 years later, One Piece sold over 500,000,000 copies worldwide. This epic tale has been praised for its long-term storytelling. However, given how long it's been, some fans are skeptical that Oda planned everything from the beginning.
One Piece fans often wonder just how much thought Eiichiro Oda put into the series
As suggested by the Reddit post above, even now, fans are still arguing whether or not One Piece was fully planned from the start. Twenty-five years is a ridiculously long time for a manga series. Some fans would find it difficult to believe that Oda planned every story arc in advance.
Yes, Oda knows exactly how the story will end
Back in 2017, Oda wanted to promote the upcoming One Piece: Gold. He was interviewed by Daijirō Enami on a Japanese television show, Fuji TV.
When Enami asked how the series would end, Oda said he knew what the final panel would look like. He had already mapped out how everything would end.
Of course, there is a distinction to be made here. Oda may have planned the ending, but he also gave himself room to improvise. There are several elements in the story that weren't thought of back in 1997.
Indeed, Oda didn't plan some of the story
Shonen Jump offers an alternative method to reading the manga series, also known as One Piece Complete Collection. Oda likes to write personal messages in these logbooks. Interestingly, he mentions that some characters played a far bigger role than anticipated:
- Chopper didn't have a design until Drum Island
- Vivi wasn't originally a princess, but Oda ended up liking her
- Rob Lucci wasn't conceptualized until the Water 7 arc
- The Warlords and Supernovas weren't part of the original story
This information can be found in the "21st Log: 2 Years Later." Oda wrote this all the way back in 2017.
He also mentioned that his series was originally going to end in five years or so. Even then, he always wanted Luffy to fight the Emperors. Oda knew how it would end, but getting there was a completely different story.
Regardless, Oda should be praised for how seamless everything seems
It's difficult to imagine that someone like Trafalgar Law wasn't part of the original storyboard. Regardless, Oda made him a very relevant character. Law's backstory is highly regarded for its emotional impact.
Oda's biggest strength is that he never forgets what happens in his story. He always finds a way to make everything seem connected, even if he didn't plan it from the very beginning.
With a long-running series like One Piece, that would be a very tall mountain to climb, yet he still managed to do so. It cannot be overstated how difficult it would be to maintain quality over that length of time.
Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.