Newest episode in Hungry Days series is dripping with emotion, promises more to come.

Nissin, the maker of Cup Noodle instant ramen, has just commissioned a new batch of short anime videos. Set in a Japanese high school, the first episode centers on a young man on the kendo team who’s aiming to become the best in the world, but what’s even more familiar than that premise is the teen’s name: Roronoa Zoro, as in Zoro of the Straw Hat Pirates, from manga/anime mega-hit One Piece.

Opening with a 17-year-old Zoro being effortlessly defeated by fellow One Piece swordsman Dracule Mihawk (featuring one of the most gorgeously smooth pieces of kendo animation in recent memory), the video is the latest installment in Nissin’s Hungry Days series, which takes iconic anime characters and puts them in a modern high school setting. Returning as character designer for the Hungry Days project is manga artist Eisaku Kubonouchi, who previously turned his talents to reimagining Studio Ghibli’s beloved witch/deliveryperson Kiki.

Several other One Piece characters make cameos. In the shot above, you can spot Nami, Sanji, Franky, Usopp, Nico, plus human versions of Chopper and Brook. Zoro is the star this time, though, as we watch him pushing himself to exhaustion throughout the year in his quest to become a better kendo fighter, with his training regimen including running while dragging a nautical anchor behind himself (as opposed to a tire, as is the standard image for sports guts anime).

▼ He also dual wields pencils during class.

Eventually, Zoro’s workout gets so intense that he collapses on the school roof…

…where he meets another student, who was in the middle of eating a Cup Noodle lunch.

“Looking good,” says the straw hat-sporting student, before hopping down to reveal himself to be…

…One Piece protagonist Luffy!

Unfortunately, the video ends before he get a good look at Luffy’s face, but there’s good news on that front. The video is officially titled Hungry Days One Piece Zoro Chapter, which implies there are more Hungry Days One Piece anime shorts to come. If you need more right now, though, there’s also this beautifully done black-and-white teaser.

▼ Also back for Hungry Days are rock band Bump of Chicken, with theme song “Kinen Satsuei” (“Commemorative Photo”) and legendary anime voice actress Megumi Hayashibara handling narration.

Looking back at the first batch of Hungry Days shorts from 2017, Nissin released them at a pace of one every two or three months, so it might be a while before our next look at the Straw Hat High Schoolers.

Considering that the 2017 Hungry Days anime (which also included episodes for Heidi and Sazae-san) were hiding clues to an Armageddon-class alien invasion in their background details, we’ll be watching the Zoro episode at least a few more times to see if we missed anything, and maybe heading back to the gigantic manga-characters-as-high-school-stuents mural in Tokyo’s Shibuya Station.

Top image: Press release
Insert images: YouTube/日清食品グループ公式チャンネル, Press release, YouTube/日清食品グループ公式チャンネル (2)
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he estimates Megumi Hayashibara and Bump of Chicken make up at least 15 percent of his favorite songs.

[ Read in Japanese ]