Naruto, Bleach, One Piece – the trinity, the hotness at one time. It started with Naruto for me and Bleach came not long after. I was in the door early for both, keeping me hooked on a weekly basis. I didn’t need more, so I never tried One Piece. I’m sure that if any of my friends were interested in it, I would have started it to keep up with weekly conversation as I had with the other two.
Years passed, Naruto and Bleach descending into the filler nightmares (Bleach turned to garbage as well, but that wasn’t enough to stop me watching yet). I needed my shounen fix. Twelve years ago, I tried One Piece for the first time. I had heard good things. “If you like Naruto, you’ll like One Piece, for sure.”
Episodes aired: ~250
Five episodes and I couldn’t go any further. The art was just too ugly. I particularly hated the hyper-stretched mouths and expressions. The immature protagonist, the try-hard guy with a sword in his teeth, the screech acting – I couldn’t do it. I was already sick of Naruto’s – the character’s – immaturity. I couldn’t take another such protagonist for hundreds of episodes. Luffy didn’t have the legacy status in my mind to make me look past his issues.
I dropped One Piece.
Leap forward five years. I was talking with a friend about our early anime days and the topic of shounen series came up. I had long since moved past such drawn out, poorly paced stories. When One Piece came up and I told him of how I hadn’t managed to stomach it, he said how he had felt the same, but pushed through and come to love it. He re-recommended it to me with conviction. So I looked it up again.
Episodes aired: ~500
Well, I could get through that eventually, I supposed. And I was willing to try it again. I was just going to get through a bunch of smaller series first, get them out of the way before I sink into the behemoth.
That bunch turned into a field of smaller series, which, coupled with my on-and-off interest in anime, delayed the trial more and more. But I was going to try it. I made certain of that.
We leap another few years forward and my passion for anime has reignited to the point where a desire to write anime reviews for my own enjoyment has started to burn. The idea swims around in my head for a while longer, until I decide to go for it.
Okay, now it’s serious. I couldn’t review anime and not review One Piece. Writing a review would be motivation to watch because now, even if I didn’t like it, I could write about what I thought of this ever-growing monster.
Episodes aired: ~700
Not a problem – I would review a few dozen 13 or 26-episode anime first, likely ones I had seen before and could rewatch quicker, build up a backlog of reviews ready to go before I tackle One Piece. There wasn’t anything to worry about. I had a plan.
“Remember that series Monster you had failed to finish over a decade ago? Yeah, it’s one of the greatest anime, so you have to complete and review it.” Sure, it was only 74 episodes, nothing like the near 750 episodes of One Piece. I could just get that out the way first. Oh, and, of course, I had to review Naruto, at least the classic series, to use as a point of comparison. A mere 136 episodes against One Piece. I could get through Naruto in a month with the Naruto Kai edit. That would add, what, four or five episodes to One Piece? No problem.
What about those sports anime like Ippo? I needed more variety to balance out the action heavy landscape of my anime reviews and sports was a niche in my library. Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, how could I leave such a great on the backlog for so long?
“Have you heard of Korean dramas? What about British panel shows? How long has it been since you watched a Bollywood film? And you haven’t rewatched Top Gear in a while.”
Good point. I needed more than just anime or I would burn out. Plus, the gaming backlog was growing ever larger and needed trimming.
“Have you watched your favourite anime, Legend of the Galactic Heroes, yet? That’s only 110 episodes – much quicker to get through than One Piece.”
Episodes aired: ~800
Alright, that was it. I was never going to get around to One Piece! I knew it. My friends knew it. It had become an inside joke for how many small things I would just “get out of the way” first, after which I assured them I would get to One Piece. In truth, it was only on the backlist because it took no effort to keep it. Saying you are going to do something is less meaningful than a fart in the wind until you commit.
A time came about a year or so ago for me to cull the backlog. I went through the list, briefly checking each title to see if there was any hope or even the slightest interest in getting to them in my lifetime. I axed 50 titles with ease. Except, there was still One Piece. I was about to drop it when I saw a video about one of the characters. I was so beyond the fantasy of ever watching this anime that I didn’t care about spoilers. The video was great, and you know what? It made want to watch it, even if it meant skipping through the early content to reach the arc where it “gets good”.
Sadly, and as no surprise to anyone, I am sure, I still haven’t touched the series. It has surpassed 860 episodes (and growing) and I still have no idea when, or even if, I will watch a single episode of One Piece. See, I have it in my mind that it would be more productive and enjoyable for me to get through other, smaller anime instead. Allow me to illustrate.
Following is my complete backlog of anime. Not all titles will be completed, nor do all have equal weight and priority. Everything on this list has a good chance of getting my eyeballs for a few episodes, at least. And yes, the garbage is there intentionally.
In rough alphabetical order (series flagged red are very long):
- Angel Beats
- Baby Steps
- Beast Slayer Erin
- Big Order TV
- Cells at Work
- Code Geass: Akito the Exiled
- Cross Game / Ace of Diamond / Major (try all, finish the best one)
- Den-noh Coil
- Devilman Crybaby
- Galaxy Express 999
- Garzey’s Wing
- Ghost in the Shell 2
- Ghost in the Shell Arise
- Ghost Stories
- Grimgar, Ashes and Illusions
- Gundam Thunderbolt
- Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
- Gundam: The 08th MS Team
- Haikyuu Season 3 (only if truly enjoying it)
- Harlock / Cosmo Warrior Zero / Endless Orbit SSX / Harlock Saga / Space Pirate / Battleship Yamato (finish one or more, depending on enjoyment)
- Hikaru no Go
- JoJo sequels (only if enjoying it)
- King’s Avatar
- Last 5 Ghibli movies
- Legend of the Galactic Heroes Gaidens
- Lovely Complex
- Macross franchise (finish one or more, depending on enjoyment)
- Magi: The Kingdom of Magic
- Monogatari sequels (only if enjoying it)
- Moribito – Guardian of the Spirit
- Naruto Shippuden (finally finish it)
- No 6
- No Game No Life
- One Piece ?
- Paranoia Agent
- Pet Girl of Sakurasou
- Princess Tutu
- Qwaser of Stigmata
- Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
- School Days
- Skip Beat
- Slam Dunk
- Slayers sequels (only if enjoying it)
- Space Brothers
- Striking Daughter
- Time of Eve
- Towards the Terra
- Turn A Gundam
- Wandering Son
- Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku
- Xam’d: Lost Memories
- Yu Yu Hakusho
- Various shorts and films
The following are anime I’ve completed (or nearly), but not published the reviews yet (the holidays were good for tackling the backlog):
- A Certain Magical Index
- Astro Fighter Sunred
- Banana Fish
- Ef – A Tale of Memories
- Evangelion Rebuild (pending final film)
- From Me to You
- Glass Mask
- Golden Time
- House of Five Leaves
- Le Chevalier D’Eon
- Log Horizon Season 2
- My Hero Academia (ongoing)
- My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU
- Persona 4 the Animation
- Sailor Moon (waiting on final season remaster)
- Silver Spoon
- Story of Saiunkoku
- Sword Art Online 2
- Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle
- Yowamushi Pedal
In total, that comes to about 80 unique series and movies with possibly more, depending on how much I want to see of the larger franchises. Let’s not forget any upcoming releases and requests from you, dear readers, either.
As of this article’s writing, One Piece is about to air its 869th episode. If we assume each episode is roughly 20 minutes, skipping OP and ED, it would take over 289 hours to finish the series! Of course, I would skip the 107 filler episodes, bringing the total runtime down to 254 hours. In that same time, I could finish between 40 and 50 of the series listed above.
What would I rather do? Experience a large variety or stick to one long series? Naturally, I’d want to do both if possible. So, what’s the solution?
I probably need to turn to the manga first. I can read volumes at a fast pace, allowing me to clear the same story in a fraction of the time, free of filler and stall tactics to lengthen scenes. However, I prefer anime to manga assuming both are of equal quality, though in the case of shounen, especially once the filler starts, the manga is often better. On the other hand, it’s nice to see key fights in motion. Perhaps I could read the majority and just watch the best arcs? That’s my current thinking.
Oh, but before I can read 91 volumes of One Piece, what about the shorter manga on my backlog? (Here we go again…) Noblesse, Lone Wolf and Cub, Vagabond, and 20th Century Boys, to name a few.
Regardless of what route I take, there are plenty of smaller series I want to finish first. My goal is to complete (or drop) every series in the above list that has 50 episodes or less by the end of the 2019.
One final thing to keep in mind is that I have barely rewatched any media (excluding anime I had to rewatch for their reviews) or replayed any games since I started this site, and I’m getting the strong urge to revisit some favourites, which equates to more delays for One Piece. So will it ever be done? I don’t know… I truly don’t know, but I will try.
(What if it turns out I still can’t stand One Piece a few volumes in, dropping it and rendering all of this redundant? Wouldn’t that be hilarious?)