I’d failed in my three prior attempts to put up with Luffy’s carefree idiot schtick as he lucked his way through needlessly close battles against weak opponents. Since then, like an indefatigable shonen hero, I’ve once again leveled up my ability to tolerate shitty anime, this time by quitting anime for a year. With my standards temporarily massaged to their lowest point in over a decade, could I find One Piece tolerable?
Enemies before the Grand Line include:
Enemies from the Grand Line are actually strong enough to make Luffy fight seriously.
I used to think Luffy was just some random dumb kid who got a mediocre superpower from eating a magical fruit. Turns out Luffy is a ridiculously overpowered dumb kid who got a mediocre superpower from eating a magical fruit.
While I applaud the author for handing his main character a power that hasn’t been beaten to death, let’s face it, there’s a reason why nobody has gum powers: lightning, fire, ice, dinosaur, and other traditional superpowers are far superior. Even Hisoka’s bungee gum needed to be equal parts sticky and elastic to become viable in battle. Gum by itself is just a silly-willy kiddy power with limited practicality.
Luffy could take damn near any power and become the Pirate King. First of all, he has the most broken luck stat in the universe. While this is annoying at first, it proves so over-the-top as to become a running gag. Second of all, his insane bloodline would’ve made him an elite fighter even if he hadn’t eaten a Devil’s Fruit. Once you recognize his innate talent, it becomes much easier to accept that so many of his fights are won mainly with luck and skill, while only superficially drawing upon the physical properties of gum. It’s also much easier to tolerate all his screwing around when you know he has the strength and luck to pull through.
You can’t count on finding good simultaneous subplots outside the shonen genre. My craving of this long-standing checklist element was the primary reason I was willing to give One Piece a fourth shot. Crew members are always being split up and sent on their own mini-adventures, even if there’s often a half-assed excuse for it (Luffy being stupid, Zoro getting lost, etc.).
Navigating One Piece with a filler guide is like having an eternal pose to point you past all the filler islands you’d otherwise need to linger at indefinitely.
It also helps to skip the five minutes of recap at the beginning of each episode.
Luffy is still an idiot.
I get that his stupidity makes him pure of heart and whatnot, but there are less annoying ways to go about it.
The show has also been bogged down by fights with minor bosses and underlings. The worst is when minor bosses and underlings have prolonged fights against temporary, location-specific allies.