One Piece Manga vs Anime: Which Is Better to Set Your Sails?

In Short

So, you’ve decided you want to embark on the pirate journey in the One Piece world. However, as a newcomer, you are confused about whether to start One Piece with the anime or manga. While the manga offers the author’s original vision and art style with no fillers, the anime features captivating animation and voice acting. I know, it’s a difficult decision, and one that will ultimately depend on personal preference. But as someone who has watched the anime and read the manga innumerable times, I’m here to the rescue. So, let’s find out which is the better medium for you to undertake the One Piece journey.

We have divided our guide into two main sections covering the pros and cons of each medium. We have also included a final verdict, which includes my recommended path to have the greatest One Piece experience. That said, let’s not waste any more time and dive right in!

One Piece Manga (1997 – Ongoing)

Baratie arc cover art of One PIece manga
Image Courtesy: One Piece by Eiichiro Oda (X/@shonenjump)

Let’s take a look at the manga first as it is the source material for every other medium, including the anime, live-action, and even the upcoming One Piece remake. Eiichiro Oda is the creator of the One Piece series, and it has been serialized in Shonen Jump since 1997.

The One Piece manga has been going strong for more than 27 years having over 1,100+ chapters as of now. That said, let’s analyze the pros and cons of reading the manga.

Perks of Reading the One Piece Manga

Luffy, Zoro and Sanji in One Piece manga's cover art.
Image Courtesy: One Piece by Eiichiro Oda (X/@shonenjump)
  • More than the anime, Eiichiro Oda’s artwork in the manga perfectly embodies the spirit of One Piece. The art has surely evolved over time, but with time crunch, the art now sometimes lacks detail.
  • The One Piece manga has amazing flow and no drawn-out sequences as it’s incredibly well-paced. There are not many filler arcs and the readers move from one major arc to another with
  • The events depicted in the One Piece manga are, of course, entirely canonical. As a result, there are no fillers in the written source material.
  • If you want to quickly catch up to the latest One Piece content, then reading the manga is the right option for you to consume One Piece more quickly than watching anime.
  • The manga accurately captures Oda’s vision without any censorship or filler sequences.

Limitations of One Piece Manga

Luffy getting stuck in a wall in One Piece manga
Image Courtesy: One Piece by Eiichiro Oda (X/@shonenjump)
  • With One Piece sticking with a weekly release schedule even after more than 25 years and Oda getting older, the mangaka does struggle a bit when it comes to the art. It seems the team does not have ample time to draw every small detail. So, manga art has somewhat deteriorated over time.
  • The battle scenes and the power system in the manga can be difficult to grasp at first.
  • The manga goes on a brief hiatus in between chapter releases and these breaks have increased significantly in recent times. Although the author’s health benefits from the hiatus, the waiting period can be a bit excruciating for fans.
  • If you prefer colored manga to the regular black and white edition, you should know that the color editions are not available for the latest chapters. But they will be out over time.

One Piece Anime (1999 – Ongoing)

Pre-time skip Straw Hat crew in One Piece anime.
Image Courtesy: One Piece by Toei Animation (IMDb)

After the manga became a sensation, it was later adapted into an anime by Toei Animation. The anime series started its run in the fall of 1999 and is still airing to this day. The anime is close to celebrating its 25th anniversary later this year and has accumulated over 1,100 episodes till now. With this in mind, let’s explore the pros and cons of watching the One Piece anime:

Advantages of Watching One Piece Anime

Luffy in One Piece anime
Image Courtesy: One Piece by Toei Animation (X/@ToeiAnimation)
  • Outstanding voice acting performances that breathe vitality into Oda’s iconic characters.
  • There are a lot of fantastic scenes that are exclusive to anime (anime-only scenes) that elevate the One Piece content to the next level.
  • One Piece’s background score and sound design are delightful and give off a perfect pirate vibe like you’re out at sea exploring the Grand Line with the Straw Hats when watching it.
  • Over its ongoing run, the anime has undergone several artistic and animation quality changes due to developments in technology. Still, many magnificent animation sequences outshine the original work.
  • The battle sequences and the depiction of the power system are far superior in the anime.
  • The One Piece anime always excels in having the best emotional connection aspect. Whether it is action or sadness, the anime simply rules!
  • You get to enjoy an episode weekly and there are only rare breaks in the anime cycle. We are currently enjoying the Egghead Island arc in the anime.

Drawbacks of One Piece Anime

Luffy in Egghead arc of One Piece anime
Image Courtesy: One Piece by Toei Animation (X/@ToeiAnimation)
  • There are substantial pacing issues in the anime, which can be problematic for newcomers. The huge amount of filler episodes in the One Piece anime makes viewers wary; and for good reason.
  • The animation quality has a history of being erratic, trailing the source material and hindering the overall experience.
  • Excessive fan service in One Piece anime additionally impedes the viewing experience, more so for manga fans.
  • The anime contains a lot of fillers, as mentioned above, and it also has changed a lot of scenes due to the censorship of violent sequences. This further dilutes the experience for manga fans.

Final Verdict: Should You Read Manga or Watch Anime?

Luffy in One Piece anime
Image Courtesy: One Piece by Toei Animation (X/@ToeiAnimation)

By this point, you must have gotten a better look at the best perks and annoying negatives of sailing through the anime or manga. It’s totally up to you now to decide which medium suits your taste and your time requirements. I say this because catching up to the newest chapters or anime episodes is a huge job to pull off irrespective of the medium. However, if you’re still faced with the same dilemma, I have a suggestion for you.

There is a neat way of enjoying the best of both worlds, and I even suggested it to one of our Editors at Beebom. First, begin your One Piece journey with the anime and keep going with it. However, for the arcs that feel unnecessarily dragged out, like the Skypiea arc, Punk Hazard arc, and more, switch to the manga and quickly read the respective arc. This way, you not only get to experience the anime and its visuals but also Oda sensei’s art in its true form. Here is the complete list of One Piece arcs in order, which will help you in this journey.

Also, following this approach will easily get through the arcs with significant pacing problems. Also, make sure to watch the the best arcs of One Piece in the anime as they definitely surpass the source material for many. That said, are you going with the One Piece manga or the anime? Let us know in the comments below.

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