Since returning home to Ireland from Japan, Latimer has begun to wonder- what is One Piece and why was it stalking her across Tokyo?
Latimer: I am a massive manga and anime (subbed) fan. I follow, what I term, two ‘epics’- Naruto and Bleach.
While some would say, you like cartoons seriously? I would reply; stories are stories, no matter the media… and I love a good story!
Naruto (by Kishimoto Masashi) started out initially as the story of a very annoying child. But as it progressed it turned out to be a very deep story; one of friendship, love, loss and betrayal. Naruto as a main character grows as the series progresses and becomes an actual inspirational figure in his world. No, he isn’t the strongest; no, he isn’t the best looking and NO he isn’t the coolest. But, he is the most courageous and determined. He comes to embody a true hero; someone who never gives up and will sacrifice everything to save his friends and even random strangers. It’s actually a great story about the growth of the individual (not just Naruto, but all the characters, villians and goodies alike).
Then there’s Bleach (by Tite Kubo). The story of an ordinary boy, Kurosaki Ichigo (not that ordinary as it turns out) who becomes a substitute Shinigami (or ‘death god’/soul reaper). He reaps ghosts that have become wild, beast-like creatures called ‘hollows’. The story really comes into its own when the real Shinigami (a woman called Rukia) who appointed Ichigo as a substitute Shinigami, is arrested for doing just that. The story gets some real pace when we are introduced to the Captains of Soul Society (the Shinigami world).
I wouldn’t say that Bleach has the emotional heart of Naruto (Ichigo is typical shounen (boys) manga main character material- he’s strong and keeps getting stronger and has powers likely beyond anyone that’s ever existed).
Ichigo isn’t as limited as Naruto in terms of strength, which lessens his chance of having the same emotional draw. It actually highlights the importance of character flaws. It is often stated in the DC comic and Marvel comic worlds, that all superheroes must have a cap on their abilities, otherwise we can’t understand or respect their struggles- ultimately for us mere mortals to fully connect with a character we must see that they are at least in part, as crap as us!
That aside, Ichigo’s story is very intriguing and when he gets strong enough to stand up to someone- it’s great! But there’s only so many battles that that can stay cool for.
I enjoy both Naruto and Bleach for different reasons. But, as Naruto is my first epic (Bleach is Ridley’s) it has a slightly bigger place in my heart.
One Piece (my Tokyo stalker) is older than both Bleach and Naruto. I know this because Wikipedia told me.
I thought because Bleach and Naruto were massive in the West, we wouldn’t be able to move for Bleach and Naruto junk in Tokyo.
Oh, how wrong I was… instead I was stalked around the city by ONE PIECE… it was in the shops, on the subway… in the cinema… at the airport… it was FOLLOWING me and I knew nothing about it! That always annoys me.
It’s supposed to be a fantastic story. It is extremely popular… and the marketing was working on me… I wanted to know about it.
It’s an epic story (551 episodes long TO DATE). The manga is a staggering 15 years old this August (and still ONGOING)!
I can’t commit to this; but I am curious (good marketing Tokyo… very good).
So, I am now going to watch my first episode (before this, I’ll get some tea, in my new Moomin Cup I got in Harajuku’s Kiddyland- that’s a shop, by the way!).
Okay, now I’m ready to go… (I will record initial thoughts):
(Pirates… uh-oh, not a fan of the sea)
(One Piece is some mythical treasure)
(That orange-haired girl has massive hands)
(Damn, this cup is SMALL… but that’s a fine cup of tea if I do say so myself- Lyons Tea, are you listening?)
(I’ve learned new words: Muri desu- ‘it’s impossible’. ‘KAIZOKU’ is a pirate- interesting because ‘kazoku’ is family- so you got to be careful when saying KAIzoku and KAzoku! Makes me wonder; have I ever said; “there are 5 people in my pirate”, in my old Japanese classes?)
(Monkey… the main character is called Monkey?)
(Monkey reminds me of Naruto- he’s pretty annoying… but this likely means he has great potential as a main character?)
(Monkey ate a fruit that makes him essentially elastic… and therefore strong? Yep. Someone (a massive ‘woman’ pirate that looked like a man) just hit him with a giant Morningstar and he was fine)
(He is a lone pirate looking for a crew. Obviously that means the orange-haired girl anyway)
(End: if someone could download the story into my head, then fine, but I can’t watch 551 episodes…)
I’ll tell you what though, I am very interested in something as a result of one split moment… The orange-haired girl was running around in the background of the whole episode, looting from the pirates. Then, she’s escaping off the ship at the end of the episode; Monkey is also. His escape boat crashes down beside hers, spraying her with a wave of seawater (she screams). Then, the camera shot slows down and they look at each other for a brief moment…
My lasting thought… do they fancy each other? Does Monkey have a thing for the Orange-haired girl? I know she’s important because…
she was on the cover of the orange-juice I bought!