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‘One Piece’ Collab Once Again Shows That Japanese McDonald’s Ads Go Hard

Gol D. Roger is the Tatsuta King in new One Piece / McDonald's ad

The One Piece manga really feels like it’s beginning the 25-year-long series’ endgame. The anime, too, is nearing the climax of the Wano arc. As major characters square off in huge battles, both in print and on the screen, the actual, physical One Piece has never felt nearer. But what if, in fact, the One Piece were a chicken sandwich? From McDonald’s?

This is the conceit of a new ad campaign being run by McDonald’s—in Japan, naturally. Micky D’s is teaming up with One Piece in a collaboration over the release of a Japan-only seasonal favorite, the Chicken Tatsuta. The ad is a lovingly and accurately crafted recreation of the iconic moments of the opening moments of “We Are!” the first-ever One Piece OP. One Piece is a cultural mainstay in Japan—kind of like if 90% of Americans had gotten really into SpongeBob SquarePants during at least one point in their life, and SpongeBob had an ongoing serialized story. So the vast majority of people recognize this reference.

The modern-era Straw Hats are placed in the frame whenever possible, substituting for the masses at Roger’s execution. Instead of “Gomi. Meisei. Chikara.” (“Wealth. Fame. Power.”), we get “Gomi. Meisei. Tatsuta.” Instead of leaving everything at the end of the Grand Line, he left everything at McDonald’s. The people have truly entered the Great Chicken Tatsuta Era.

Look, I’m as skeptical of capitalism as you probably are, but this is kind of incredible. Here’s a subtitled version, courtesy of YouTuber Library of Ohara.

But wait, there’s more

I’m psyched as hell to eat a Chicken Tatsuta. I’d never even heard of it before this ad campaign. So I’m basic, probably, and that’s fine. You might have heard McDonald’s are better overseas, and this rumor is correct. Part of the superiority with Japanese McDonald’s in particular is that the menu is way better (Fillet o’ Fish, but with shrimp!!).

So we’re not even done here, because there’s a secondary ad campaign happening for the version of the Chicken Tatsuta with rice buns (I KNOW! GENIUS!). And that ad campaign fills my heart with joy by focusing on Sanji reminiscing over his adoptive father, Zeff.

This one has no subtitled version. The gist is that the announcer says the Chicken Tatsuta is the treasure of Wano Kuni. As Sanji’s about it eat it, he thinks back on his time with Zeff. “The Chicken Tatsuta definitely exists!” Zeff tells Sanji in the flashback. “Someday, I’m going to eat it!” the child Sanji replies—the joke being that the Chicken Tatsuta is now replacing Sanji’s dream of seeing the All Blue.

Back in the present, Sanji rejoices that he finally found his Tatsuta when Luffy snatches it up and eats it. “Oh, that’s delicious!” Luffy says as Sanji screams he was about to eat the sandwich. The commercial ends with Luffy substituting his famous “Kaizoku oo ni, ore wa naru!” (“I’ll be the king of the pirates!”) with “Ore wa kuu!” (“I’ll eat it!”).

No notes. They’ve also put up a Zeff-centric ad in Shibuya Crossing that is nearly-literally chef’s kiss.

Basically, if you ever go to Japan, you’ll quickly notice that one of the differences between Japanese capitalism and American capitalism is that Japanese companies will often really put in the extra effort. Corporate mascots cause social media unrest. 7-11s are actually nice. But recently, one of my favorite wellsprings of delightful incredulity has been McDonald’s.

The delightful One Piece ads aren’t even the first time Japanese McDonald’s advertising team went harder than it needs to in the last few months. Yes, the One Piece ads are delightful because they very cleverly replace long-standing lore with a sandwich. On the other hand, please enjoy this minute-long, incredibly animated, deadly serious commercial for a fast food burger.

“Featuring a special character created” by a famous animator?! What the hell is American McDonald’s using their advertising budget for?! Where are our beautifully animated commercials?! Give the animators jobs, and give the people what they want! Also, put yoru buns (the rice buns) on the American menu! With how much people want gluten-free options, how is that not already a thing?

(featured image: Toei Animation / McDonald’s)

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Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.