One Piece pirate’s first appearance at the annual parade didn’t go as planned, but was still totally in character.

Thanksgiving in the U.S. isn’t just a day for giving thanks. It’s also a day for gorging on turkey, watching football, and smiling happily as the streets of New York are taken over by giant cartoon characters.

The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was first held in 1924, but it wasn’t until 1927 that its now defining feature, huge balloons of beloved children’s characters, became part of the festivities. Through the years, the parade’s balloon lineup has served as a peek into the popularity rankings of animated series among American kids, so it was a big deal that this year marked the first time anime/manga franchise One Piece was part of the parade.

Things started off auspiciously, with protagonist Luffy’s balloon inflated and ready to go the night before the parade. The stylized character designs of Japanese animation don’t always translate well into 3-D space (as seen in various awkward-looking CG reboots and video game adaptation cutscenes), but the Luffy balloon is a welcome exception, with its super-deformed version of Luffy still being instantly recognizable as the prospective pirate king.

However, depending on what point of the parade viewers were watching from, they might have noticed that Lufffy’s costume looked off-model, with the brim of his trademark straw hat drooping down like a beanie or bucket hat.

This wasn’t a case of Luffy trying out a new look for fashion-conscious Manhattan, though. As Luffy was being pulled along an early along the parade route, his handlers got too close to the trees lining the street. Some of the branches caught the hat portion of the balloon, tearing and deflating it. Thankfully, the body portion of the balloon was unharmed, so it was spared a similar deflated fate.

It’s obviously not something One Piece anime publisher Toei wanted to happen, but you could make a convincing argument that this was actually the most Luffy-like way for the character to make his Macy’s Parade debut. Yes, Luffy was damaged, literally torn, but, he didn’t give up, playing through the pain and making it to the end of the parade route, just like he’d been determined to do, all for the sake of making the people who were counting on him happy. In other words, Luffy behaved like a true shonen series hero, rising to the challenge with a smile on his face.

▼ The plan

▼ The result

Here’s hoping, though, that none of the Straw Hat Pirates suffer serious injuries at the upcoming One Piece-themed L.A. Rams professional football game.

Source, featured image: Twitter/@OnePieceAnime
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