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What Is One Piece About?

Luffy, Nami, and Shanks featured on the color image ahead of One Piece chapter 1

Oh, you don’t know?

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What, where you living on “Under A Rock Island”? HAHAHAHA BURN!

*Tries to high five a passerby. It doesn’t work*

Whatever. One Piece is only one of the most POPULAR anime of all time. Anybody who doesn’t know about it must not be a REAL anime fan. Like ME. I mean … like me, a REAL anime fan. You should stick to OTHER popular series like Naruto or Bleach or whatever. Those series are for total noobs, but a REAL anime fan would have been watching One Piece since the 90’s, before either of those other series came out.

I have. I’ve seen EVERY EPISODE. All 1,024,343,875 of them. And I STILL have no clue if Luffy is ever gonna find the One Piece. But you don’t even know who Luffy is, do you. You don’t even know what the ONE PIECE is I bet. God, you’re SUCH a poser.

Listen, I know it must have been hard growing up on Under A Rock Island, so I’m gonna do you a favor. I’m gonna tell you what One Piece is about so you can PRETEND to be cool.

Just give me a second … I have to go look something up real quick

It’s nothing! It’s just that my brain is just so crammed with One Piece content that it literally makes me have seizures. Sometimes I forget how the story begins. That’s how much of a FAN I am. But I remember now. In fact, I never forgot. Just had to refresh my memory a little bit. Whatever. Shut up.

So One Piece is about a boy named Monkey D. Luffy, who wants to become the Pirate King. What’s a Pirate King? SCOFF. Of course you wouldn’t know. A Pirate King is the most powerful pirate on the high seas. Since the entire world of One Piece is basically just one big ocean, the Pirate King is one of the most powerful people in the world.

Before the series starts, the first-ever Pirate King, a hottie named Gol D. Roger, discovered a fabulous treasure on an island at the end of The Grand Line—a massive patch of ocean that circles the equator. He called this treasure the “One Piece.” It’s said that it’s so incredible, he laughed with joy when he saw it. After he came back from the island, everyone thought he was the coolest of pirates and gave him the title of Pirate King.

The losers who run the World Government, a military organization trying to conquer the world, weren’t a fan of the Pirate King and called for his execution. After they captured Gol D. Roger, he told everyone that he left the One Piece on the island where he found it. Anyone who wanted it was free to claim it.

And who wants to claim it? A kid named Monkey D. Luffy

Luffy as a child drawn in parallel to Gol D. Roger in One Piece 1015
(Toei Animation)

Monkey D. Luffy was born on a little island in the middle of nowhere. He’s pretty much just dumped their by his big-time Navy grandfather, Monkey D. Garp. When Luffy is seven years old, he meets a pirate named “Red Haired” Shanks, who gifted him the pretty sweet-looking straw hat that he wears all the time. While hanging with Shanks, Luffy eats a magical “Devil Fruit” called the Gomu Gomu no Mi, which allows him to move and stretch his body like rubber. It sounds like a silly power, but only if you have no imagination.

Luffy is able to use his stretchy powers to defeat all sorts of powerful enemies. He’s basically Mr. Fantastic if the guy was a little pirate boy with ADHD. After being inspired by Shanks, Luffy is inspired to set out onto the open sea in search of the One Piece and become the next Pirate King.

So how does he do it? TELL ME NOW.


So, Luffy can’t sail the Grand Line by himself. It’s kinda like trying to drive a car with ten steering wheels. It just isn’t gonna work. So he starts looking around for a worthy crew. He ends up discovering a swordsman named Zoro, who wants to be the greatest swordsman ever; a cook named Sanji, who is also really good at kicking things; an expert navigator named Nami; and a sniper and gadget expert named Usopp.

Later on, he also befriends a little reindeer-human, a dad-energy fish man, a pervy cyborg, a lady who can make her body appear anywhere, and a literal skeleton. He lets them all onto his crew. He’s got a seriously eclectic friend group. Their parties must be pretty insane.

Who wants to stop him?

Literally everyone. Luffy isn’t the only person questing for the One Piece. Pirates from all over the globe have the exact same idea, and they’re not about to let some rubbery, weird kid take their treasure. Luffy runs into all sorts of nasty pirates who want to do him harm, including Blackbeard himself.

Luffy is also on the run from the marines, who are the naval arm of the World Government. Luffy and his crew collect seriously hefty bounties during their travels, so everybody and their mother want to capture him and turn him in for reward money. The world of One Piece is also a super dangerous place, populated by giant monsters that live under the ocean and will eat just about anything.

So yeah, there you go. Listen, I get that this is all pretty overwhelming. I get if you think that watching the show is too daunting of a task. I remember thinking the same thing, that’s why I haven’t watched past episode one…


So like… if you see episode one and wanna watch episode two, let me know. I’ll watch it with you. Just to jog my memory, of course.

(Image credit: Toei Animation)

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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels in crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.

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