Is this the most emotional instant ramen ad ever?

If you were going to classify anime/manga mega-hit One Piece, you could call it a pirate story, and it’s also clearly an action/adventure treasure-hunting tale. But ask any long-term fan of series, and they’ll tell you what it’s really about is friendship.

Heck, friendship is such a central theme in One Piece that the anime taught Western fans one of the Japanese language’s words for friends, nakama. And as further proof that protagonist Luffy and his crew are pals first and pirates second, Cup Noodle maker Nissin has been creating a series of short anime videos that recast the One Piece characters as Japanese high school students, which have just as much emotional impact as their sea-faring escapades.

The third episode in the series has just been released, and following installments where Zoro and Nami played the leads, this time the spotlight focuses on Vivi.

Vivi wasn’t part of the earliest One Piece arcs, and so the video shows us how Nami literally pulls her into the Straw Hat Stuens’ circle of friends during a hanami (cherry blossom viewing) party. Since cherry blossom season roughly coincides with the start of the Japanese school year, we then get to see Vivi spending a year in the caring, boisterous company of her new companions as they study for tests, wear yukata summer kimono to fireworks festivals, and generally act like happy, silly teenagers.

But there’s a bittersweet air to the rush of happy scenes, because they’re all taking place in Vivi’s memories. Mirroring the events of the original One Piece story, the time has come for Vivi has to say goodbye to her friends. High schooler Vivi is actually on the Shinkansen, with the bullet train swiftly carrying her off to the new school she’s transferring to.

“So much has happened since I first met them all. These days, which will never come again, were my youth,” Vivi thinks to herself. “If we ever get to see each other again, will you call me your friend, one more time?” she asks, right before she gets a video message that tells her that even if she’s no longer nearby, she’ll always be part of the group.

▼ As always, the animation is set to the haunting yet uplifting sounds of Japanese rock band Bump of Chicken’s “Kinen Satsuei” (“Commemorative Photo”).

Between this and McDonald’s Japan’s gorgeous animated winter ad, we’re starting to wish all commercials were in anime form.

Source: YouTube/日清食品グループ公式チャンネル via IT Media
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