Is 'One Piece' end in sight? Editor reveals final arc is mapped out

By Casey Baseel, RocketNews24

Eighteen years after it first appeared in comic form, creator Eiichiro Oda’s "One Piece" is more popular than ever. But while fans might be happy to see the Straw Hat Pirates keep sailing forever, the manga’s current editor says that not only has Oda mapped out how the story will end, but also that he thinks he knows about how many more volumes the manga has to go before its finale.

The "One Piece" manga, which debuted in comic anthology Weekly Shonen Jump on July 19, 1997, celebrated its 18th birthday last Sunday. Two days prior to that milestone, the manga’s current editor, publisher Shueisha’s Taku Sugita, appeared on Tokyo radio broadcaster J-Wave’s "Gold Rush" program to talk about the phenomenally popular franchise.

Due to the many years "One Piece" has been in circulation, Sugita is the series’ eighth editor. When asked what it’s like to work closely with the most successful Japanese comic artist of the current era, Sugita indicated that Oda is refreshingly egalitarian in his approach. While manga artists are often referred to with the exalted title sensei by fans and other industry members, Oda prefers for his relation with his editor to be one between two equals. As such, he insists on being called the much humbler Oda-san instead of Oda-sensei, despite the fact that the 26-year-old Sugita is 14 years younger than Oda, meaning that "One Piece" was already a runaway hit by the time the editor was out of elementary school.

That doesn’t mean that the artist wants his editor’s input on each and every step of making the manga, though. As a matter of fact, Oda expressly asks that his editors not offer too many plot suggestions, saying that unless he thinks of such developments himself, it’s difficult to find the motivation to draw them.

On the other hand, ideas flow freely in the other direction. During the interview, Sugita said that every time a new editor takes over the primary duties for One Piece, he has a long talk with Oda in which the creator reveals how he plans to bring the series to a close. It’s neither a quick nor a casual conversation, as Sugita remembers that it began with Oda calling him on the phone and asking if anyone else was in earshot. Only once Sugita confirmed that he was alone, and Oda had double-checked that he himself was too, did the creator lay out the final arc for Luffy and his pals.

The explanation took seven hours.

When asked to speculate how many volumes it’s going to take to get there, Sugita offered a guess. “At around 60 volumes, Oda said the story was about half-done,” the editor recalled, and with the "One Piece’s" 78th collected volume having been released this month, Sugita figures that right now the series is about 70-80% finished.

In other words, the editor estimates when the whole saga is done, it’ll fill about 120 volumes. Since Shueisha puts out an average of four "One Piece" collections a year, that would mean about another decade of new content to look forward to. So while the end of the series may be in sight, right now you’d still have to climb up into the crow’s nest and use a telescope to see it, and there are sure to be plenty more islands of adventure between now and then.

Sources: J-Wave News via Gadget Tsushin

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- One Piece creator throws VIP party at his place, you’ll never guess who shows up -- Can you spot the mistake in this One Piece drawing? -- Does One Piece Rip Off Disney? Only with the Best of Intentions

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I initially liked the show for it's imagination but as it's panned out, it's really revealed the limitations of the writers and the consistent superiority of male characters in this show is just droll. The artists have visibly been upping the ante on how perverted they can make the female character designs, and this (idealistic fanboy rejections aside) IS A KIDS' SHOW! 8 year olds watch this, and they're being presented with unrealistic and warped female body images and an asserted male hegemony. Episode 688 represents every reason why anime is fading and desperately needs female writers, it's just farcically bad. Let's hope the next, younger, less oyaji-fied generation can make a show that doesn't marginalize female characters or perpetuate antiquated gender roles.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Can you spot the mistake in this One Piece drawing?

Took me a bit to find it , still, entertained myself for a Friday coffee moment

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Great SJ serials never end. They only get moved to other syndicate mags like UJ.

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I hope so. It's awful.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

8 year olds watch this, and they're being presented with unrealistic and warped female body images and an asserted male hegemony.

Really? Have you ever watched he-man, or any other cartoon with a male protagonist hero? WAAAAAAH! Im butt-hurt because that is an unrealistic projection of a common man. AND ITS A KIDS SHOW!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Considering that the current Dressrosa arc that's just finished took over two years to complete we are still looking at another 8-10 years at least. Only if Oda uses the Blackbeard character to help take out one or two of the Four Emperor's will the manga end sooner I would say.

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