It’s been a long 25-year journey for One Piece. It’s hard to believe that the series has lasted for over a quarter of a century.
There have been longer-running mangas like Golgo 13 and Hajime no Ippo, but none of them have reached international acclaim like One Piece.
Eiichiro Oda first began his work back in the ’90s. To put this into perspective, more than half his life was spent writing the series. Here’s a quick look back at when it all started for him.
Note: This article reflects the writer’s personal views.
Romance Dawn was the earliest known concept
Back when he was still in high school, Eiichiro Oda worked on sketches for a pirate manga. At this point in his life, he had already won multiple rewards for Wanted!, a one-shot series of limited stories.
Oda even worked assistant duties with Weekly Shonen Jump before he was 20 years old. Most famously, he helped Nobuhiro Watsuki with his work on Rurouni Kenshin. By the end of 1996, he had come up with Roman Dawn.
Multiple versions of this story were submitted in the Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. Of course, it would eventually be reworked a year later, with the final variation being the most well-known.
The One Piece series was created from the Romance Dawn concept.
Monkey D. Luffy was the protagonist in all three versions of the story. However, the art style has significantly changed between the original Romance Dawn and the current series. For instance, the first Red Hair Pirates have slightly different builds and features from their more famous counterparts.
Familiar characters were also missing from the earliest versions of Romance Dawn. Gol D. Roger and the Marines weren’t even mentioned in those stories.
In contrast, some Romance Dawn characters also never made it to One Piece in proper form, such as Silk from the first version.
Oda first published the One Piece series on July 19, 1997
After working on two different versions of Romance Dawn, Oda finally came up with a concept he liked. The One Piece series was serialized in the 34th issue of Weekly Shonen Jump, all the way back in 1997.
More than 25 years later, the series is still growing strong. It is currently the best-selling manga in history. Oda’s work has sold over 500 million copies around the world. While it never achieved the Western appeal of Dragon Ball or Naruto, it is a cultural icon in both France and Japan.
One Piece is currently in the final saga
After taking a month-long hiatus back in June 2022, Oda announced that he would be working on the final saga of One Piece. There are only a few years left before Luffy’s journey finally ends.
Regardless of how it ends, the series has been around longer than a third of most people’s lifespans. This is a very rare accomplishment. It speaks volumes about the staying power and quality of the series.
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