This will contain minor spoilers, if you’ve never read One Piece before, be warned.
It’s been a long time since I’ve read or watched the early stages of One Piece. Thinking back on it, it might have been close to a decade even. Life got in the way and all that. But now it’s finally time to get back to the good old days, when our history changing pirate crew was still a bunch of folks living their own lives. The first volume, which is also called Romance Dawn like the one-shot was, covers eight chapters. Let’s talk about the highlights and anything interesting we come across that could be relevant later.
Alright then, this volume covers the story from the beginning up until Luffy meets Nami, my favorite character. I kind of missed short-haired Nami, although I definitely prefer her post timeskip look. Her long hair fits her really well but it’s nice to go back. We also see Zoro for the first time. Now, if you have keen eyes, and I reckon most of you do, you’ll notice that in all of the official translations he is called Roronoa Zolo. We don’t do that here. His name is Zoro and his name will always be Zoro. Just getting that out of the way early on. We don’t yet see or hear a name for Zoro’s village here, but this does become relevant later on in the story. I’ll keep an eye out for when that happens.
At this point in the story I believe Oda hasn’t planned out a ton of the lore that makes this world so rich. Shanks’ jolly roger looks kind of basic here, it gets a nice upgrade later in the story. Shanks also loses his arm here. Knowing the massive impact that Shanks has on the world later on in the story, it still makes no sense that he would lose an arm to the fish that Luffy punched easily once he sets out to sail. The argument could be made that this was a long time ago, but I still think it’s a case of Oda not yet knowing how strong and important he would make Shanks. In a series that runs for over 25 years it makes sense not everything is immediately planned out.
Another thing to note here is that Yasopp doesn’t really look like Yasopp yet. His nose is normal sized. I wonder if Usopp was also a later addition and not something he planned from the very start.
Last but not least, let’s talk a little bit about Koby. Koby isn’t very likable this early on in the story, and that’s kind of the point. He does eventually come into his own, but I’m glad he didn’t join the crew or anything. His wish is to capture Alvida one day and I think a lot of us forgot about that. Alvida is definitely still around, I won’t spoil her whereabouts if you’re not caught up but if you are caught up you know what she’s involved in. Koby catching her can definitely still be a major plot point in the future of this manga, so I’m excited to see what comes of that.
And of course, we end the volume with Oda’s favorite character; Buggy the clown. Buggy is a great character that keeps coming back to the story. His hijinx in the Impel Down saga are some of my favorites in the series and I can’t wait until we get to that point. But right now, he’s just an antagonist that we’re going to spend some of the next volume with. We also get to see more Nami in the next volume which is always good fun. I remember the first episode of the anime and how it started with Nami instead of Luffy. I think that was a bad choice by the director of the anime because that first episode is not very good. And there we have it, One Piece Volume 1. Let me know in the comments down below what you thought of this volume and I hope to see you here again next week. Thanks for reading!