Certain long-running manga obtain that status through frequent hiatuses, either due to the creator’s health issues or their acquiring enough popularity-based clout with their publisher that they can take months at a time off while they wait for inspiration to strike.
That’s not the case, though, with "One Piece." Artist Eiichiro Oda has been pumping out new chapters of the pirate saga at a phenomenally steady rate, producing enough pages to fill four or five collected volumes nearly every year since its debut in late 1997.
However, Oda recently made an announcement through the official One Piece Twitter account with the startling news that he’s going to be having surgery, and so the manga will be going on hiatus.
“Sorry about this!! Gonna be going on break for four weeks!!” starts Oda’s surprisingly upbeat message, segueing into his explanation that “I kind of want to have surgery, no matter what. I’m getting surgery on my eyes…to make beams shoot out of them!!”
Tongue-in-cheek as his tone may be, Oda really is about to have an eye procedure to address his astigmatism. “My astigmatism is so bad that I’ve caught myself thinking ‘Recently there are a lot of twins out and about, huh?’ Things look blurry, and it’s starting to cause issues with work. I’ve been talking with my editor about this since last year, and he said ‘Yeah, go take care of that!’ So I’ll be coming back with my improved vision, and with the power to shoot beams out of my eyes! So please give me a little time!”
Work-induced vision problems aren’t unusual for manga/anime artists, but Oda’s cheerful attitude implies that he and his doctors are confident that his upcoming surgery will adequately alleviate the condition, even if it doesn’t grant him the ability to fire lasers from his eyes like Franky is doing in the sketch that accompanies his announcement.
"One Piece" will be on hiatus for four weeks starting with Weekly Shonen Jump’s Issue 29, which goes on sale June 19, and is scheduled to return in Issue 33 on July 18.
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