One Piece Creator Reveals He Retcons Storylines Instead of Pre-Planning Them

   One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda confesses that some of the manga’s most memorable plotlines weren’t nearly as thought out as fans believe.

One Piece's Nami as a child, sitting behind a desk drawing maps.


   One Piece is a series known for its meticulous, interconnected storytelling, but according to creator Eiichiro Oda, some of its most memorable moments weren’t planned at all.

   In a recent tweet quoting one of Oda’s interviews, the mangaka confessed that despite what many fans believe, some key plot points weren’t planned in advance at all, but were instead retconned later down the line. Some of the most notable examples the post cites include major reveals about characters’ intentions and origins, like Ace being Pirate King Gol D. Roger’s son, or Rob Lucci being a villain. There are also examples of Oda turning seemingly innocuous elements of the story into major ones, like the Worst Generation Supernovas, who were meant to largely drop out of the saga after reaching the New World, or the character of Trafalgar Law, who was never intended to have as significant a role in Luffy’s journey as he did.

   One Piece’s Impromptu Storylines

   While many of these retcons have been successful, particularly the resolution to the Marineford arc that featured fan favorite yonko Shanks, fans of the series have begun to notice inconsistencies within the series as well. One of these involves Shanks, as critics have noted that in hindsight it made little sense for a character as strong as the Red Hair captain to lose an arm to a mere sea monster. More recently, others have questioned the sudden rise in characters with awakened Devil Fruits during and after the Wano arc, which could be a sign of Oda making changes to the story on the fly. Some have attributed this to Oda writing himself into a corner where he had no choice but to give his heroes a sudden power boost to compete with the likes of Kaido and Big Mom.

   For any faults in planning the series may have, One Piece is still regarded as a masterclass in foreshadowing. The way the early East Blue saga set up the dangers of the Grand Line has been celebrated by critics, while the recent whodunnit antics of the Egghead Arc have similarly shown Oda’s craft for setup and payoff. And with the manga still going strong and showing no signs of slowing down, there is plenty of time for Oda to surprise fans yet again with callbacks to overlooked or forgotten moments throughout One Piece’s historically lengthy run time.

   Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece is available in English from Viz Media, including its most recent release, Chapter 1076, titled “Old Friends.”

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