So you know how there are some things that become super popular, and you can't quite figure out why? Not even the someone-probably-sold-their-soul mysteries like Twilight, but something like Harry Potter, which is largely a great, fun series that I'd have happily recommended to people, but I don't quite get how it became a world-wide phenomenon, as opposed to, say, something by Diana Wynne Jones.One Piece
is currently the best-selling manga series of all time in Japan
(most of the new volumes are coming out and promptly breaking sale records that were set only a short time before by previous volumes) and you know what? I don't have any questions about that whatsoever.
Which is to say, yeah, Oda Eiichirou still owns my fangirl soul.
The continuity alone makes me swoon. You like continuity? Oda plays the long
game. As in, something happens in chapter 1
) that doesn't really come up again until chapter 434
- around the time the series was celebrating its tenth anniversary. And it's not explained for more than 50 chapters after that. And the thing is, this isn't an annoying tease as it might sound like, because when you first read it you don't realize it's a plot point - but when the reveal finally happens, you can go back and immediately realize, OH, that's what that was about! Rereading the series is all the more fun when there are so many little details that you pick up on, knowing their significance later, and there's practically nothing that's jarring, that seems out-of-place or contrary to later happenings.
I was calling OP one of my favorite series before it even got to what is now my favorite arc in the series - and yup, having just finished Water 7 (my first time reading it straight through, rather than week-by-week as it came out) it's still my fave. Will have to see what I think when I've totally caught up, but the Water 7/CP9 saga, with its multiple intersecting and overlapping plot & char arcs, is the storytelling equivalent of tossing half a dozen wild badgers into the air and then juggling them without so much as getting your finger nipped. It's almost breathtaking. (When it's not making you screech with hysterical laughter or sob like a baby...)( a bit more wild squee, spoilerific through the end of Water 7 but not beyond )
There are about a thousand more reasons I could go into about how I love Oda's writing - like how doesn't sell anyone short; putting aside the at-this-point-literal cast of thousands, the series is up to 9 main characters, and barring one exceptional plot arc, they're always a major part of the story; if any
of them happens to be your favorite, I don't think you'd feel shorted. He's nearly as good with the relationships within those chars (and outside them) - with so many possibilities, there are some that have barely (so far) been explored, but they're almost certain to be eventually, while at the same time he doesn't forget the relationships that were established at the very beginning of the series. And that's not even mentioning my adoration for his art.
What it comes down to is, yup, still one of my favorite stories of all times - maybe my very favorite, depending on how it turns out in the end? - and totally worthy of its best-selling title. When it comes to shounen manga, at least, you can't get better than this.