2023 Was a Pinnacle Year for One Piece Fans; Here’s Why

2023 has come to a close, and with the One Piece anime back with new episodes that start off the much-awaited Egghead arc, it had me reminiscing over the fond memories I made with this series last year. Among anime like Attack on Titan, which came to an end, and Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2, One Piece had one of the best runs in the anime industry last year. So, without spoiling anything right at the start, let me go over some of the key highlights in the One Piece journey from 2023.

Spoiler Warning: This article contains information about the latest events in the One Piece manga and anime. So, we highly suggest you to watch the anime and read the manga up to the Chapter 1100 to avoid ruining your intended experience.

We have made a breakdown of the highlights of One Piece in 2023 depending on the medium such as manga, anime, etc. Without any further ado, let’s begin, shall we?

The Ultimate Triumph of One Piece Anime

Straw Hat Pirates in One Piece anime
Source: One Piece by Toei Animation Studios (X)

With the Wano Country arc spanning nearly half a decade, we eventually got to see the arc wrap up at the end of 2023. Well, if you don’t remember the timeline of the events in the anime, 2023 began with Marco the Phoenix passing down the torch to the stars of the future “King of the Pirates” crew, i.e. Sanji and Zoro. From then on, we entered into the war-torn lands of Onigashima to witness the intense battles between key members of the Samurai Pirate Mink alliance and Beast Pirates.

Undoubtedly, this year’s animation sequences were one of the finest pieces of animation I’ve seen in One Piece to date. In 2023, we got to witness the incredible clash between Zoro vs King bout, Sanji vs Queen, the fiery battle of Kidd, and Law vs Big Mom

In the middle of the year, we witnessed the peak of One Piece, which is when Luffy finally used the Gear 5 technique in anime. The goofy Tom & Jerry-like sequences along with Mayumi Tanaka’s delighted voice made the Gear 5 moment a special moment for me in One Piece history.

2023 Was a Pinnacle Year for One Piece Fans; Here’s Why
Image Courtesy: YouTube/Toei Animation

As a fan who had read the manga beforehand, I was patiently waiting to see this pinnacle moment in the One Piece anime, and oh boy! I was satisfied beyond expectations.

There were numerous unforgettable moments in the One Piece anime in 2023. The final act of the Wano Country arc was never short of spectacular scenes. But I must admit Luffy’s Gear 5 and Zoro’s Demon King were my favorite moments out of all. The arc concluded poetically and beautifully with all-new anime-only scenes that paid tribute to our fallen heroes, which upon retrospection, should have been in the manga too.

Like Momonosuke, I was not able to bid an emotional goodbye to the crew and the samurai alliance without shedding a tear. However, after 5 years, the Wano arc wrapped up spectacularly, laying the foundation for the next big arc – the Egghead arc in the anime.

Unparalleled Success of One Piece Live-Action Adaptation

Straw Hats in One Piece live-action
Source: One Piece by Netflix and Tomorrow Studios (X)

Up next, we have the most surprising addition to the franchise, the One Piece live-action series by Netflix. To be honest, when the live-action was first announced, being a long-time fan, I was quite skeptical about the success of the series. I didn’t want Netflix to end up butchering the legacy that One Piece has cultivated with the anime and manga so far.

But Netflix and Tomorrow Studios said, fear not, One Piece fans! They went on to shatter the long-running live-action curse (special mentions: Death Note, Cowboy Bebop) in Hollywood.

The first season of the One Piece live-action series was undoubtedly an engrossing beginning to the legendary journey of the Straw Hat Pirates to obtain the One Piece. It was very well-received by both newcomers and longtime fans of the series, making it a blockbuster success.

The creative freedom given to the creators of the show and the exploration of this fabled story in a new medium together made it a refreshing experience and forged a unique identity of its own. Not to forget, Netflix has renewed the show, so gear up for One Piece Live Action season 2.

To me, the retelling of the grand One Piece story in the live-action medium was a success primarily because of the near-perfect cast selection and wholehearted production team. From Iñaki Godoy’s charming performance as Luffy to the production crew recreating the unimaginable world of One Piece in a vibrant reality was nothing short of epic for a fan like me.

Even though it had some pacing issues, Garp taking a more central role (idk why?), and other minor flaws, I believe it was a good start to a journey I wanna go on every other year. I never imagined this show to defy the odds and break the live-action curse, but Oda sensei and his fellow creators proved me wrong in 2023.

If you haven’t watched the show or have kept it on hold, I urge you to stream One Piece live action (review) on Netflix right now.

Final Saga of One Piece Manga Dominates the Scene

one piece featured in Shonen Jump cover page
Source: One Piece by Eiichiro Oda (X/@shonenjump)

While the Gear 5 animation and live action adaptation was a roaring success, the One Piece manga continued to dominate the Shounen manga scene. Though another manga took the top spot in the best-selling manga list in 2023, One Piece took the third spot.

As fans might be aware, we have entered the manga’s final saga, starting with the Egghead arc and Oda sensei has started blasting out his best and unique ideas for the conclusion. It started with Garp being deployed to Hachinosu Island to save Koby and it has been a wild roller coaster ride full of unbelievable emotions throughout 2023.

During the end of 2022, the groundwork for the egghead arc was laid in a way no one could think of. This core concept remained the same throughout 2023 as it featured an all-out war between the Straw Hats vs World Government at Egghead Island, a battle royale between some of the great pirate crews, and it is now being signed off with Kuma’s appearance at Egghead Island.

Some of the greatest battles in One Piece took place in 2023, including Garp vs Blackbeard Pirates, Blackbeard vs Heart Pirates, Shanks vs Kid, Luffy vs Lucci, Luffy vs Kizaru, etc. Whilst these battles were taking place, Oda didn’t shy away from announcing the unexpected moves from the big heads such as Imu and the Five Elders against Sabo, St. Saturn entering Egghead island, and more.

I couldn’t come up with words to describe how prodigious the manga story was in 2023. Oda sensei was dropping one banger chapter after another, week in and out. I was in a whirlwind of emotions whenever a chapter was released and was like “One Piece is crazy good this week” Hiro Shishigami from Inuyashiki anime.

I enjoyed every single battle that took place in 2023 and have zero complaints regarding last year’s content. I think this is something that the majority of One Piece manga readers would agree upon. And now, we look forward to the epic denouement of the Egghead arc, moving to the island of the giant – Elbaf, as you will read below.

One Piece: Future Plans to Remain on the Throne

future of One Piece
Source: One Piece by Eiichiro Oda (X)

The year 2023 has been beyond legendary for the One Piece franchise, but it didn’t stop there. There were numerous announcements for the One Piece franchise in 2024. Due to the tremendous success of the live-action show, Netflix quickly green-lit Season 2 as soon as the SAG-AFTRA strike came to an end. This was great news as we can expect major info about the upcoming season in 2024.

The next big thing for One Piece was revealed at Jump Festa 2024. During the Jump Festa this year, we have got some unpredicted exciting lineups, starting with the One Piece spin-off Monsters anime adaptation. We await the release of this one-shot anime as it will recount the story of Zoro’s ancestor and legendary swordsman, Ryuma, who rose from the lands of Wano.

The most unexpected announcement was that of the One Piece anime remake. Never had I, or any One Piece, ever dreamed of getting a One Piece remake, and that too by the AOT-fame Wit Studios. This instantly sent me into an utter state of joy as fans can continue to enjoy the taste of One Piece for yet another decade along with all the other OP series that are currently airing. This way, we can control our insatiable hunger for a daily dose of One Piece for years to come.

And last but not least, the commencement of the Egghead arc anime is something all the fans had been waiting for a long time. As mentioned earlier, manga fans like me love to hype up anime-only fans, which in turn results in the fandom banding together and madly waiting for a grand new arc.

As for the manga, the Egghead arc will conclude very soon, possibly in the first quarter of 2024, and we will be heading to the long-awaited Elbaf Island. Many of you won’t believe me when I say, I have been waiting to see this island ever since we first saw the two giants in the Little Garden arc. So, this is indeed a dream come true for me and many other fans who are waiting to see Usopp shine in this arc.

Additionally, Oda has revealed that a battle between two of the most important characters will take place soon and have an unforeseen result. I can’t stop thinking about this fight, will it be Shanks vs Blackbeard or Blackbeard vs Luffy or Luffy vs Imu? What are your guesses? Is the ongoing Kuma vs Saturn fight?

All in all, I can wholeheartedly say that 2023 has been a monumental year for One Piece fans like me. We were treated with numerous high-adrenaline moments, unexpected announcements, and breathtaking emotional scenes, among other things that made 2023 a special year for every single fan out there.

Looking back at 2023, I thank Oda sensei for making the fans as happy as ever, and this year it was a little bit extra, don’t you think? Often, I think that experiencing One Piece is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it only keeps getting better. That said, did you enjoy 2023 as a One Piece fan? Do share your experiences with the anime, manga, live action, or any other medium you engage in One Piece with.

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