Monkey D. Luffy holding a hand on his straw hate in "One Piece"
(Toei Animation)

Why Is the ‘One Piece’ Manga’s One-Month Hiatus a Big Deal?

No spoilers, I promise!

Few versed in the world of manga would take umbrage with the claim that Eiichiro Oda, the creator of One Piece, is one of the hardest-working mangaka out there. For one, Oda draws all the main characters in every frame and has maintained a near-weekly question-and-answer section (known as the SBS Corner) for 25 freaking years. Oh, and he almost never takes breaks. So, when One Piece goes on an extended hiatus, you know something major is about to go down. And guess what? One Piece is about to go on a four-week hiatus.

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To give you a sense of how big this is: the last time Oda took a four-week break from One Piece was before the time skip. That was in 2010. Which is twelve years ago. The time skip also marked a huge shift in One Piece‘s story. All the characters powered up from two years’ worth of training and got new designs—which, for many of the women, meant their boobs magically got huge, even if the character in question merely turned from 28 to 30. But, anyway, that “break” wasn’t pure time off for Oda. He used that month to prepare the new designs and for the sagas ahead—which brings us to the significance of this current hiatus.

In the manga world, the Wano is nearly over. The end of Wano—and therefore the Yonko saga—will kick off Oda’s break. Even for anime viewers like myself, it’s evident that Wano will result in a giant turning point for the long-running series (though it doesn’t help that I’ve accidentally witnessed spoilers from One Piece Twitter). And so, in a letter to fans, Oda explicitly said that he’ll be using a chunk of his time off to prepare for the next saga. A translation of Oda’s message into English was kindly provided by One Piece Twitter pinnacle @newwworldartur.

What’s so special about this next saga that Oda needs to take a month to prepare? Well, it will be the final saga of One Piece. I KNOW. But, even from the anime watchers’ perspective, we could feel it coming. Oda’s been trying to prepare us for this, even going so far as to issue a “warning” about the coming end of the series in a piece celebrating the manga’s 1000th chapter last year. Don’t confuse “saga” with “arc,” however. Many arcs go into a saga, and Oda said it will be five years before One Piece officially comes to an end.

But final saga prep—and One Piece Red prep—is only part of the reason for the hiatus. The man simply deserves a freaking break. Here’s a chart compiling One Piece‘s release schedule from its beginnings 1997 all the way until the end of this year. You will notice that, between the time skip and the upcoming hiatus, there are exactly three instances where Oda took a whopping two weeks off. The man has a family, dammit. Even though stupid COVID disallowed Oda from heading to South Africa to get a drink on the fish mouth bar of Netflix’s live action Baratie, I hope he finds a relaxing fish mouth bar elsewhere.

(featured image: Toei Animation)


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Author
Kirsten Carey
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.