Many manga fans have a habit of hating the anime, and many anime fans actively dislike the manga. Is there one thing that both of these groups can match? And that is to subscribe to the GrandLineReview, for regular one-piece related content, uploaded right into your “YouTube feed”. Hello and welcome to the GrandLineReview. Your Source for Everything in One Piece, and today it’s time to take a look at “that topic” again.
Except this time, I’d like to do things a little differently. This is because, normally, when I talk about this anime vs manga discussion, most of the time it involves starting a long “rant” about personal frustrations, which is why I stopped reviewing the anime on a weekly basis. Nevertheless, today I would like to give a more methodical and friendly approach to the problems present because this video is not simply about expressing my opinion but hopefully also giving an insight to exclusive anime viewers and/or anime diehard defenders, from the perspective of manga readers. I also want to make it very clear that nothing in this video is intended to condemn anime viewers, because if you like one piece, good for you, regardless of which way you follow it.
Most importantly, follow this jovial dude “bro” on his quest to become the pirate king. Although, at the same time, if you are a frustrated anime fan who has had enough of the “manga purists” who saw all the time in your beloved series, I still strongly advise you to keep watching because, in the end, I just want to present the perspective of why this conflict exists, in a way that hopefully doesn’t sound like an elitist, crazed manga zealot, and we’ll see how that goes. But that’s my intention.
So to start, I would like to start with a very clear statement That means manga readers will probably have a bias against anime by default. And that’s not just a One Piece problem, it’s a problem for all media because people love the first experience of a story, one way or another. For example, if you read “The Lord of The Rings” before seeing the movies and you loved the books, you’re probably going to go into the movie experience with a lot of baggage. consisting of many memories while reading it. And if the films don’t match these memories and expectations, it’s probably going to be a bit disappointing. I would also say that the opposite is also true. If you hated the book, or a manga incarnation of a movie or anime series, you’re probably going to favor the adaptation because your expectations were almost nil from the start, or rather, probably non-existent. And, if you’re like me, when I saw “Ready Player One”I really didn’t like the book.
I thought the movie was a bit bad. But I found myself liking it more because, as you know, it wasn’t the book. And One Piece falls more into the Lord of The Rings category. It undeniably has a lot of original material in the manga that kept the series going for 2 decades. And that’s why it’s the best-selling single-author comic book in history. So even if you’re not a manga person, it goes without saying that the One Piece manga has appeal At a level of global dominance And that’s why I’m going to say it here and now: manga readers are going into the anime in large numbers and have probably already decided that the manga is going to be better because that was their first formal experience of One Piece. It has to reach unusual heights of perfection.
adaptation to make it look different. And no, this isn’t just manga readers, but I’m guessing a majority. So I think it’s important to present that prejudice here and now because we, as manga readers, have impossible expectations. That being said, Toei presents us with a most excellent example. So I chose Lord of The Rings as an example before because, despite the prejudice of people who read the book, there is almost universal praise for the movie trilogy that the original material takes and uses all film techniques perfectly which they have at their disposal to create something that is different but still a good reincarnation of the story. And most importantly, it adheres to the rules of the medium, which the Toei anime adaptation of One Piece doesn’t adhere to. holds. And there are three major issues that manga readers will admit to, incessantly, at times. These three, drawing style, tempo, and animation, have been called the holy trinity of anime. But instead of barking all these words at you, let me give you some very, very detailed examples of what I mean. So starting with the drawing style, it’s important to know that One Piece went through 3 different drawing styles. starting with what I call “classic One Piece,” starting from episode one until the end of Skypiea. And after that, it turns into what I call “the Dark Age of animation,” which is present from Long Ring to Long Country all the way to the end of the Reverie arc, which contains, for your information, 684 episodes. It is in this era that most of the problems have arisen. But, recently with Wano, we had a drawing style revolution that was needed, which in my opinion, finally makes One Piece seem at least the way it should. Unfortunately, the majority of One Piece is set in this creepy “Dark Age”. And this “dark age” is not consistent. It actually started out not so bad, but around Enies Lobby, major problems started to come to light with this drawing style, such as characters that frequently appear out of shape and completely out of proportion. Take this photo of Sanji as an example. Now what’s wrong with it? To be honest, nothing, because I’ve already edited it. But in the original anime and prepare yourself, the picture looked like this. That’s right, Toei gave us that. So notice how this head looks like it’s shrunk really hard in relation to the rest of the body. Because, I mean, his head should look more like this Because there’s no way that anyone can make their forearms look so annoyingly big in relation to their own head. And then, as a manga reader, the drawing style falls short in presenting the original intent. n contrast, in the anime, he is a small-headed, flat-figured heap of oddity. But the drawing style becomes a problem not only in proportion but also in detail, as we can see here in this well-known photo of Nami pulling a very weird face. Or do you prefer a Zoro with crossed eyes?What do you like best, actually? And here, probably a lot of anime fans will say that I’m nitpicking. And you know what, at this point in the series, You may even be right. And Enies Lobby certainly wasn’t perfect but it started a decline in drawing style quality that peaked in the Dressrosa and Zou arc of the anime, where it can sometimes seem like all Toei artists were forced to wear blindfolds while drawing. That’s just how ridiculous things have become outside of the model. And most clearly, you can see this demonstrated with, literally, grabbing any female character. Let’s take Viola as an example, because here she turns out to be drawn by someone who theoretically sort of understands what a woman is but has never seen one with his own eyes, resulting in what looks like a person with two planets attached to his chest, sitting uncomfortably. But Viola is also being ruined in every way possible. And here’s another one of my favorite examples. And, to be clear, I’m not saying Oda’s drawing style has realistic proportions, but it’s better than what the anime decides to spew.This is just bizarre to watch. Everything about Viola is shrunk, except for her breasts and bum. On the other hand, her head is much too small, her arms are extravagantly thin, like twigs that would break in a small wind, and her waistline doesn’t really exist. And why is one of her breasts higher than the other? Why? It just looks like failed plastic surgery. And the hair is also completely misshapen.
Her expression has gone from lively to mildly angry. Her arm is completely misdirectedÂ°, which makes Viola look confused. And in general, There is simply no impact from her presence, as in the manga incarnation. And how subjective art can be, this work here, is objectively much worse than this piece. And this is so common in One Piece that it can make the anime look like a bad joke, haha. And of course, this is only obvious to manga readers who have experienced the story through a super artist. But to the anime viewers who don’t know about that or unless it’s a very extreme case of which there are, But otherwise, they probably don’t see much wrong with it. And again, I want to say that Wano, spawned a phenomenal transformation of drawing style. That’s still not what I’d call perfect, but you should know, it’s good enough. I love it. But I think it’s a shame that the majority of One Piece, namely 684 episodes, had to contain this drawing style. But of course, art isn’t everything And in fact, bad drawings can usually be forgiven as long as the anime succeeds in the other basic elements of the medium, which are the tempo and the animation. It makes sense that if the tempo is fast enough and the animation is smooth enough, there’s no reason to hate on the questionable drawing style. Let’s take a look at these two, and we’ll start with tempo, shall we? And first, let’s look at the numbers. One Piece has 977 chapters available at the time of this recording. In the meantime, the anime adaptation has 927 episodes ready. And the fact that these songs are so close should give me a good perspective on tempo. And that’s because an ideal anime adaptation of a weekly manga series, where chapters consist of between 15 and 18 pages, should adapt between 2 and 3 chapters per episode. So in some sort of magical, ideal One Piece world, 977 chapters would translate into 488 episodes. That would be if 2 chapters were adapted per episode and about 325 if 3 chapters were adapted on average But we’ll go with the more generous two-chapter number, because even sitting with a logical total of 488 episodes to film the material still leaves us with a surplus of 439 episodes. Well, what exactly? but just to be clear, I mention that 103 of those episodes are pure filler. With this we’re talking about short filler arcs like G-8, “Goat Island”, “Foxy returns” and everything else. And pure filler doesn’t interest me that much. I think in the case of One Piece, that it was very necessary in the past. And for the right viewer, it can give a cool experience. But let’s scratch those 103 episodes from the total. and that still leaves us with 336 extra episodes of One Piece, bringing our episodes to a total of 824 when we really only needed 488 episodes to tell the story we have. And before we go on to be very, very clear, I’m not saying there are 366 episodes you shouldn’t watch. Unfortunately, you have to see all 824 episodes because, throughout the course of the series, a lot of techniques have been used to stretch the content beyond anything I could have imagined. And in many cases, this massive elongation is going to undermine the original intent of a scene or piece of action, along with creating the problem of slow tempo. Now, why is this happening? In theory, it’s because of the need to slow down the series artificially so that it certainly doesn’t catch up to where the manga is, if not worse. And for the majority of its life, One Piece has been the subject of a process of extreme elongation, to the point where episodes usually adapt one chapter of the manga, and sometimes even less. And you know what, let’s go to Wano for an example of this. because even though the drawing style has improved a thousand times, the pace has not improved. So here I introduce you to 4 beautiful panels from chapter 916 of the manga, where Luffy briefly, and I want to make it clear briefly, Yokozuna fought Urashima. There was a short fight, two small close-ups, and a picture of Kiku as well. And this is just about half a page of manga material. Now, how long do you think it took to make this half sheet into an anime? Place your bid now, because we’re going to see it happen in real time, taken from episode 903 of the anime. And of course, I have to do something weird with the video and probably change it or mute the sound for copyright reasons. But rest assured, I’m playing the entire clip in all its integrity. So how long do you think this piece will last? 10 seconds, 20 seconds? Maybe 30 seconds? I would not know. Let’s see. Okay, we’ve started. So we have to fight. Aaah, that’s good. That’s the first drawing already. We have all the comments. They will be added with time, and that’s always “very cool.” still comments. “Low environmental shots.” They also take some time. Wow, the floor. Let’s look at the floor. This is fascinating. Oh, and the image is rotated. And now let’s go to the other side of the floor. Close up again, what we’ve already seen. Uh huh, first close-up of a fighter and second close-up of a fighter It’s almost done now, isn’t it? Jop, now another image of Kiku that makes it complete. We’re ready, or no, we’re not ready. We’re still busy. Second close-up of Urashima; second close-up of Luffy. Another wide view, still not finished. Third close-up of Urashima; third close-up of Luffy. Fourth, a close-up of Urashima. Another wide frame. I can’t keep count of the wide frames. The fifth close-up of Urashima. third view of the floor, because we love the floor. SIXTH close-up of Urashima. I think this is Luffy’s fourth close-up. More hands. I don’t want to see any more hands. SEVENTH close-up of Urashima. The fifth close-up of Luffy. Yet another image and time. So that’s 1 minute and 23 seconds. 1 minute and 23 seconds, all to represent these four panels of the manga Wasn’t that captivating? But here comes the real punch in the face, because after that happens, we spend literally 46 seconds just watching Luffy and Urashima. Whoa,whoa,whoa,whoa Trying to stay in the ring for 46 seconds And I won’t let you down But I hope you enjoy watching these images that the anime had to add for extra variety in this event, in particular, the stretching action. And with that, I welcome you to the terrible pace. This is the weapon Toei used to do something that was only supposed to last 488 episodes in 824. They severely prolong action-based combat, with the effect of decreasing its impact. They fill each episode with at least a 2 minute replay of the previous episode, increasing over time to 5 and 6 minute replays during the Dressrosa arc. They often add reaction images that weren’t there in the manga, just for those few extra precious seconds. They linger on images long past their narrative expiration date, blatantly repeating stretches of animation in the same scene. They often add unnecessary flashbacks To fill time. With all this and more, combined over the years, you’re wasting a total of 336 episodes of your time. That’s about 112 hours of your life. That’s right. If you’ve seen every episode of One Piece, without counting the filler, which makes that number even higher, you haven’t spent five whole days of your life with no benefit whatsoever, all because of One Piece’s business model, It’s meant to be able to air the series all year round and stretch it endlessly, reducing the impact of each moment. Not to mention Ox’s greater impact and “meta” narratives.So, when manga readers see a piece of action that lasts half a page and then expands into two minutes of anime experience, we are, to say the least, taken aback.And if that happens every episode, especially during “The Dark Age,” then we get a little angry. so not outright enragedAnd I want to say that the responsibility doesn’t just lie with Toei alone. This is a joint effort between Toei, Shueisha, Manga Publisher and Fuji TV. Having a joint business arrangement that says this is just how One Piece should do it. So Toei is placed in a tricky position where they just have to do the best they can. But sadly, the best they can do in these circumstances is produce a stagnant series that feels like it never moves forward. And please spare me from the terrible arguments about how Oh Toei must be able to employ their animators. Oh, well, then they have to do it that way because of the manga. If Oda just stopped taking breaks now, it wouldn’t be a problem because none of that is true. In fact, there is no excuse for the slowness of the animation. In reality, this is just a business model, designed to make as much money as possible by milking One Piece throughout the year. They could change to a seasonal model like the majority of shows in anime series that are airing now, which would work perfectly for One Piece as it works for others, and they even had a chance to do it with the great Wano changes, but they didn’t. Because you have to remember this, it’s not about telling the story. It’s about revenue, and progress will always be a secondary concern to revenue. But let’s finish by looking at the third primary criticism And that’s the animation itself. And again, yes, it got better during Wano, which I appreciate, but for most of the series, the animation was meh, at best. Most of the time, key scenes were disappointing due to too fast production. As an example, let’s look at Marineford and examine the brief conflict between Boa Hancock and Smoker. In the manga, you can see her foot moving to shove Smoker with clear upward and forward momentum. pretty much like, you know, a staircase. And it has a big impact on Smoker, who is forced off his feet. While in the anime, in this scene, Boa slows down Smoker to move around with her foot and then you see a mostly still image where he gets back on his feet, which immediately takes away any sense of impact. stamp of VanBoa’s. Because one, it looked like she was prodding him gently, like I said, and two, it had no real effect on Smoker. At most, it was just annoying. And this is just the majority of the One Piece anime. Real animation is just a thought. And do you know why it’s done this way? It was done that way because it could be made quickly. Instead of animating the figure of Boa, who gives a real sjot all that the animator What you had to do here was take two still photos of something disembodied, one of which had the important “motion blur technique,” and then let it come into contact with a piece of Smoker. It doesn’t really matter; at that point, the animator just has to cut to a mostly still image of Smoker Me in the background, moving softly behind it. And really, this is the classic creative conundrum. You can do it right. You can do it fast. Or you can do it really cheap. However, you can only choose 2 of these 3 options. So if you want to produce quality faster, you have to pay extra. And if you want quality without paying for it, you have to invest time in it. If you want it fast and cheap, as Toei does, then you have to be satisfied with sacrificing any semblance of quality. But to give praise where praise is due, Now and then, a scene emerges with an extraordinary effort embedded in it. Another Marineford example would be Luffy standing in front of the 3 admirals. Or Luffy versus Magellan in Impel Down, or Snake Man’s transformation.There are a lot of these moments in the series where things are beautifully animated, but that doesn’t make up for the other 99.9% of One Piece. They are very selective moments where Toei knows not to make it bad under any circumstances, lest their clever ruse be revealed. So let’s take a look at what we’ve all seen. First, the natural bias that a manga reader brings into the anime when they have just read an almost objectively incredible story and have emotional connections and expectations attached to their first experience of One Piece. So the anime already starts in a bad place. On the other hand, however, it then falls completely flat on its face, refusing to use most devices That and the anime medium make it worth it. For most of its life, One Piece neglected its drawing style, and the animation of that drawing style was inadequate. And beyond that, the pace of the story is the same as if Toei Za would summon warudo and freeze time with extremely minimal progress in each episode, and that’s just not how the manga is. The drawings are almost flawless. The sense of movement on a 2D page is superior And in many cases, somehow, it’s smoother than the actual anime. And while this is, yes, a very, very long story, there are very, very few instances where it feels like a chapter has accomplished almost nothing. So much so that I write 10-minute reviews on most 18 pages of manga per week, and sometimes much, much, much more because there is so much content to take in on those pages.And this is not to say that the anime does everything wrong. Like, for example, that the vocal performances are brilliant and now I’m actually reading the manga with the voices of the actors in my head. And the music from the series also fits wonderfully and tends to enhance the atmosphere, as does the overall choice of color. But for many manga readers, those things just become so meaningless when you come across 112 hours of wasted life, with drawings like this and animation like this. Is it really frustrating because we know that even with a touch of artistic integrity, One Piece could be the undisputed greatest anime in history, just as it is already practically the greatest manga in history right now? We don’t criticize anime for fun, at least not most of us. Yes, “trolls” will exist. But for the most part, we complain because we know it could be so much better Then what is currently being shown to us? Even the current Wano arc could be better, a lot better. However, it is unlikely that this will ever be the case. So here we are, as manga fans, sitting on what we know to be one of the greatest stories ever told, only to see it continually watered down into a blatant cash grab experience.And if, after all this, you’re going to be one of those people who says, well, Oda obviously has no problem with it, so you’re just a nitpicker, first of all, that’s an interesting choice of insults. But to handle the Oda thing, he’s more than likely contractually obligated not to speak negatively about it. But again, even if he wasn’t, publicly exposing something in Japanese society is like the height of rudeness. And finally, why should he? Because the ongoing milking of the One Piece manga into anime form makes it money, lots and lots of delicious money. But despite all I’ve said, if you’re still an “anime-only” fan and you’re still watching this video, thanks for watching it all, and good for you. Most importantly, you are a One Piece fan. But I would encourage you to give the manga a try because if you like what you’re seeing now, I think you’re going to absolutely love the manga experience. What do you think?
Please leave your thoughts in the comments below or even better, join my Discord server. And if you’d like to see more of these types of videos, please check out some of my other videos or even subscribe to the channel for more glorious One Piece business uploaded straight to your YouTube feed. But for now, this was the GrandLine Review, and I’ll see you next time.