This contains spoilers from the One Piece manga. All of these stories concluded before the Marineford War arc. Some of these cover stories have NOT been adapted by the anime (yet) so keep that in mind when you read it.
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Those of you who have read my first few chapters of The Necromancer’s Daughter will know that I do something called an epigraph. I only recently learned that this is what it was called, but it’s the name of a paragraph you put at the start of a chapter to explain lore or something else. It’s best used to talk about events that are interesting enough to the reader, but not part of the main plot. I have many stories and perspectives I want to show in my stories, so this is a great way to add all of this information without making the main narrative too convoluted. I’m using this space to talk about events behind closed doors, or characters that will appear later in the story but are already active.
In manga, there is something similar, and the king of doing so is One Piece’s Oda. Oda is good at many things, and you’ll hear me praise him a lot throughout the years, but the cover stories that he does are such fun. They’re similar to an epigraph, where they tell side stories that might become relevant later. Unfortunately, a fair few of them aren’t included at all in the anime version, so I want to take this time to talk about them and highlight some of my favorites.
One of the early stories that I really liked was Hachi’s story. Initially, Hachi was a funny yet forgettable villain from the amazing Arlong Park arc. That arc was dense with amazing moments, and although Hachi was perfectly fine, to me he wasn’t what I took away from the arc. The cover stories show his journey from being in East Blue and travelling all the way to Fishman Island, and meeting Caimie. This never gets shown in the anime, but it’s a great way to bridge the gap between him being in the early chapters and then showing up again later.
A second amazing use of these stories was during the separation of the crew. Luffy was on his way to Marineford while the crew was each stuck in a strange island. The anime did adapt these stories, turning them into a sort of filler material which worked quite well, although it definitely felt a bit slow. In the manga this was great, because we’d learn where the rest of the crew was without having to turn away from the very tense story that was unfolding around Luffy.
The last one I want to talk about today is by far the most silly one. This one is arguably the biggest spoiler, so take heed.
Enel, after being beaten badly by Luffy, flees on his giant ship and somehow ends up on the moon. Don’t question it, manga is weird like that. Either way, he comes across two strange races of moon people. He attacks on the races but doesn’t seem to be doing too much. Then a second race appears and starts attacking the first group, as well as Enel himself. Obviously he doesn’t take kindly to that, and he immediately starts zapping people. A war ensues and Enel ends up with a group following him as he also finds a mysterious room. The last we see of him, he looks ready to come back to earth with a new crew. The reason I like this story so much is that it insinuates that Enel returning to the main story is not unlikely. He was such a fun character, and extremely powerful. The only real reason he lost that fight is because Luffy was his natural counter, and that just seems unfair to the poor god-complex driven maniac, now doesn’t it.
What do you think of these cover stories? Do you like them, or are you indifferent about them? And what about epigraphs in novels? Do you read them or skip them because it’s boring lore that’s keeping you from reading the good stuff. I love to hear people’s opinions. I personally love both.