We are overwhelmed with nostalgia.

For an anime that’s been on TV for 23 years, One Piece has stayed remarkably true to its core storytelling cycle: Luffy and his crew hop in their ship, sail off in search of adventure, beat up bad guys, and the pattern repeats.

That’s not to say that One Piece is a static story, though. In the two decades-plus since the anime’s debut, the Straw Hat Pirates have repeatedly welcomed new members, each of whom has grown in spirit and skill as they’ve faced off against a constantly growing list of dangers and adversaries. So when One Piece broadcast its 1,000th episode last Sunday in Japan, it celebrated the landmark by going back and updating the original One Piece opening animation, but with the Straw Hat Pirates’ current roster and designs.

The nostalgia starts early, as Episode 1,000’s opening kicks off with the exact same opening narration as Episode 1’s did, which transitions straight into the sounds of “We Are,” the original One Piece opening theme song.

But then Luffy shows up, and it’s clear we’re not in 1999 anymore. Now sporting his dramatic cape and showing his battle-scarred chest, Luffy is joined on deck by far more friends than he was in the original opener, thanks to Usopp, Chopper, Nico, Franky, Brook, and Jinbe having become part of the ship’s crew.

Speaking of the ship, that’s been updated too, with the Straw Hat Pirates’ current vessel, the Thousand Sunny, swapped in for the dearly departed Going Merry.

With the characters having reached Wano Country (a destination creator Eiichiro Oda put off for a long time for a very kindhearted reason), the redone opening has the characters in their most recent, Japan-inspired outfits.

Like most long-running anime, One Piece has gone through several opening sequence and theme songs over the years, and the original opening only lasted until Episode 47, which aired in November of 2000. That means that the vast majority of the series episodes have started off with something else, but for fans who’ve been following Luffy’s journey since the very beginning, this was a very special treat.

It’s not clear if the updated “We Are” sequence is going to One Piece’s new opening theme or if it was just a one-time deal for Episode 1,000, but either way, it’s a touching way to bridge the anime’s past and future.

Source, images: YouTube/ONE PIECE公式YouTubeチャンネル
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