The Straw Hat Pirates are getting closer to sailing off into the sunset.

As an adventure story set in a world of magic and mystery, One Piece is a series that feels like it could go on forever by simply adding new islands, sea creatures, and treasures as needed. Creator Eiichiro Oda, though, has promised that the Straw Hat Pirates’ tale will one day come to a close, and it looks like we’re about to take a big step towards the manga’s end.

On Tuesday, Oda shared a hand-written announcement through the series’ official Twitter account that starts with the statement “Taking a break!” and informing fans that the manga will be going on a brief hiatus. Oda lists several reasons why, but the most notable is:

“I want to tighten up the planning for the final chapter.”

It was actually other members of the team of One Piece franchise handlers who approached Oda with the idea of the manga taking a summer break several months ago. Between the 25th anniversary of the series’ start coming up this July, the release of the One Piece Film: Red in August, various yet-to-be-revealed events and collaborations set to take place over the next few months, and a planned trip to South Africa to visit the set of the live-action Netflix One Piece adaptation, Oda’s summer schedule is fairly packed. After giving it some thought, and considering a break would give him some extra breathing room to work on the best trajectory to the series’ finale, Oda decided that a four-week hiatus is a smart call (though his trip to South Africa isn’t happening due to COVID-related travel concerns).

Knowing how much fans look forward to new chapters every week, Oda is softening the blow by giving readers a few weeks’ notice about the hiatus. The next two issues of Weekly Shonen Jump, the manga anthology in which One Piece is serialized, will still have new chapters, as the break won’t begin until the June 27 issue. The series will be absent from Jump for a total of four weeks, with weekly serialization restarting from the July 25 issue.

Oda’s message doesn’t include any hints as to when One Piece’s end will come, but in 2020 he said he had four or five more years’ worth of stories planned out before an “amazing” ending.

Source: Twitter/@Eiichiro_Staff via Oricon News via Jin
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