Eiichiro Oda also gives his thoughts on the quality of One Piece’s first-ever chapter.

Despite being a tail of nautical adventures, there’s no manga/anime that keeps rolling along quite like One Piece. The pirate saga was pretty much an instant hit when it first appeared in the pages of manga anthology Weekly Shonen Jump in 1997, and hasn’t lost any momentum in narrative or popularity in the decades since.

At this point, One Piece is a big enough hit that it can go on for as long as creator Eiichiro Oda wants it to, so the question naturally becomes how long is that? That was one of the questions Oda was asked on Thursday’s episode of Fuji TV variety program Arashi Tsubo, when the manga artist met up with boy band/media personality group Arashi at the Jump offices for an interview.

“How much longer is the story you have planned?” the group asked Oda, to which he answered “Four or five more years,” and asserted that he’s already planned out how the story, which at that point will have been running for at least 27 years, will finally end.

The interview also took a moment to look back at One Piece’s past. Oda doesn’t visit the Jump offices very often, instead working out of his personal studio, and to celebrate the occasion Jump brought out the original manuscript for the first-ever chapter of One Piece that Oda submitted. “I haven’t looked at this in 23 years,” Oda said, eschewing any attempt at false modesty by adding “It’s really well-done” with a cheerful chuckle.

That confidence extends all the way to end of One Piece too. While the interviewers knew there weren’t going to get any advance spoilers on what’s going to be arguably the most highly anticipated finale in anime/manga history, Arashi member Jun Matsumoto asked Oda “Is the ending going to be amazing?”, to which Oda replied:

“Yes, the ending for One Piece is going to be amazing.”

That’s not just Oda’s opinion, either. As mentioned before, every time One Piece gets a new editor, they sit down together and he explains the ending he’s mapped out, a process that can take several hours. “The ending is realllly going to be amazing,” confirmed the series’ current editor, who was sitting in on the interview.

So the Straw Hat Pirates will be sailing off into the sunset for good by 2025, right? Well, that’s still a “maybe” at this point. See, Oda was also interviewed about One Piece last year and said “I want to finish the series in five years,” which would have put the ending sometime in 2024. Now he’s saying “four or five years,” which could mean a conclusion in 2025.

Oda’s reached a level of success where he can pretty much do whatever he wants creatively, so if he gets a burst of inspiration for new stories he wants to tell with the One Piece characters, no one in the publishing industry, or perhaps even on Earth, has the power to keep him from backtracking on his current timetable and extending the series for as long as he wants. Still, he has promised that one day One Piece really will come to and end, but at least when it does, it’s going to be ”amazing.”

Source: Livedoor News/Daily via Hachima Kiko
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