One Piece is a series about pirates, adventure, action, and comedy. It is a story of a group of friends embarking on a journey that changes their lives forever. However, when given a closer look, there is a lot of social commentaries involved in the story, and is associated with each character as well. A Redditor pointed this out in the latest post on the One Piece subreddit.
One Piece social commentary
One Piece is an action, adventure, and comedy manga series by Eiichiro Oda. It started publishing in the Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine, a shōnen manga magazine owned by the Shueisha publishing house. It first started being serialized in July 1997. It is one of the longest and most loved manga series among the manga/anime communities for many years. The manga itself has 1080 episodes so far and the anime that started airing in 1999 is on season 20, episode 164.
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There are many reasons to love it, while some enjoy the adventures of Luffy and his Straw Hat buddies, others love comedy and storytelling, and worldbuilding. However, for a long time, since its release, One Piece has remained a bit controversial for its take on the real world and its social commentary. From the beginning of the series, it has addressed multiple issues from racism, classism, slavery, human experimentation, and many more. There are multiple posts on Reddit addressing the social commentary of the manga for quite some time. Today we shall take a look at one of the most recent posts.
One Piece Reddit post
The OP talks about how the main concept of the One Piece manga revolves around real-life issues that most of humanity faces. Many fans go on reading or watching the anime series completely unaware of the social commentary in the story.
As one Redditor u/GuilRosmer pointed out in the comments on how oblivious some fans are when watching or reading the series. “Feels like a lot of the fans do, since they really seem to miss these glowing billboard-sized plot points which entire plots, characters, or whole arcs center around. A lot of the hottest takes to end up being because the person sharing them is oblivious to what the story was actually trying to tell them. It’s like they only tuned in for the fights, humor, or boobs.
They go on to compare how much real-life inspiration the mangaka uses in his work. The user also points out how the Straw hat pirates would respond to the real world.
“Most of One Piece draws very clear parallels to the real world and Oda purposely writes the plots to show the Mugiwara dismantling a lot of those parallels. If the Strawhats existed in the real world today, they’d be opposed to most of the real-world nations/countries/seats of power and how they treat people. Most people don’t seem comfortable with that information, though. The only reason One Piece is a feel-good story is that it’s about the downtrodden people finding non-destructive happiness (doesn’t rely on harming others or the environment to be achieved), even if it means upending the whole world to do it.”
Fisherman arc of One Piece
Some comments were also pointing out the fisherman arc of One Piece as a good example of the social commentary in the series. The fishman Island arc is the twenty-fifth story arc of the series. During this arc, Luffy and his straw hat pirate group arrive at Fish-Man Island. The notorious New Fish-Man Pirates are plotting to take over the ruling king in order to make the Fish-Man known as the superior race. u/Golden-Owl wrote “Gestures at Fishman Island arc”.
Another commenter went into more detail as to why they think this arc is a good example.
u/Ppleater wrote “One thing I especially liked about the Fishman Island arc is that Oda portrayed characters who hated humans because of their mistreatment and trauma in a sympathetic light. Fisher tiger dying because he couldn’t bear to accept human blood into his body is portrayed as a tragedy that was a direct result of human cruelty. Because in real life it is understandable that people who have been horribly mistreated their whole lives would resent their abusers.”
They talk about the parallels in real life and how these characters from fiction can be very similar to real people.
“The message isn’t that people who were hurt should just get over their pain and forgive their oppressors wholesale, it’s just that they shouldn’t pass down all their trauma and prejudice to their children, for the sake of fighting for a future where things will hopefully be better for those children, so they can grow up without the baggage and unhealthy mindsets of their parents and have a better chance at finding equal footing with humans who are willing to actually accept fishmen as equals. It’s just a more nuanced take on the subject than I usually see which is nice.”
Oda based a lot of One Piece fiction on his society’s values and stances
Another user, u/Standard_Series3892 pointed out how Oda is very political in his writings. The user said “There’s a tendency in a lot of anime fans to see anime as “apolitical”, it happens for all series, it’s just particularly funny in One Piece because of how overtly political Oda is in his writing.”
Another user said how some manga and anime followers can be very oblivious to the real issues addressed in the series and rather focus on other worldly things.
u/GoldenFennekin – “It’s funny when i hear someone say “the west has gotten too political, so that’s why I like anime” then you look at their favorite anime and it straight up says “The rich have total control over the world through hate and segregation, convincing the commoners to fight amongst themselves for having different skin, beliefs or sexualities while the elite class destroy this world and plunder all it’s resources for their own selfish gains.” like, do they only pay attention to the boobs? do they not listen to the very political and important stories many anime attempt to tell?”
Another comment was about how it is impossible for an author to write anything that does not hold true to their values and political stances. u/sam_can88 wrote, “It is impossible for a work of art to be apolitical because the art is always shaped by the world view of the author even if it is then considered apolitical that is a political stance”. What do you think about this? Make sure to let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. Keep following Hiptoro for the latest news on anime and more.