ONE PIECE Anime Character Changes in the New World

ONE PIECE Anime New Character Designs

Those who follow the manga already know fully well that all the Mugiwara crew in ONE PIECE have undergone a two year physical change. However, it is not until now that the anime has caught up to the time-skip. Starting October 2nd, the ONE PIECE anime will start airing the events of the manga after the two-year time-skip as the Mugiwara make their way to the New World. There are several images of the new ONE PIECE anime character designs shown in JUMP as a promotion to the upcoming arcs.

The main crew have all of course been updated in terms of character design. Luffy has accumulated a giant X-shaped scar across his chest, Zoro has a missing eye and a matching scar, Nami’s grown out her hair, Usopp’s sporting some facial hair, Sanji’s bangs have been swept to the other side of his face to reveal his previously mysterious left eye (with the curly eyebrow on the wrong side), Chopper has a new getup and addition to his hat,  Robin has lost her bangs and grew wavy hair, Franky has made giant robotic arms for himself and shaved his head, and Brook has replaced his top hat with a groovy getup.

With the anime following closely with the manga, it is inevitable that the character designs had to be eventually changed to follow Oda’s story. Although I’m not particularly a huge fan of the ONE PIECE anime, I find that the character design changes in the anime are quite positive so far. I have yet to see the animation quality and will hopefully see positive changes when it airs in October.

Personally, I don’t make it a habit to watch ONE PIECE because I don’t think the art quality and animation movement of the anime does the manga enough justice. Toei Animation just doesn’t pull it off quite like how I pictured it. What I picture as fluid and complex in the manga seems to end up choppy and one-dimensional when it gets animated. And while I’m a large fan of the voices behind the ONE PIECE anime, the animation and the character designs of the characters seem to be lacking the quality that Oda consistently has in the manga. Don’t get me wrong, there are some parts of the anime that I enjoyed watching.

But ultimately, I don’t quite like that bright green color used for Zoro’s hair, the colors are just a little too bright and single-toned. There’s not nearly enough shading, and the pacing of the anime seems to be a bit slow and sometimes even dragging. Luffy seems to still look like the kid he was back in the beginning of the series, and the characters designs in the anime don’t seem to transition in sync with Oda’s more recent art style.

I did like the animation quality of the ONE PIECE – Strong World movie though, and hope the animation of the TV series will improve to imitate that particular movie. The seiyuu are definitely doing their job, though, and I look forward to Yamaguchi Kappei’s rendition of how Usopp should be like aged two years… should be interesting.