One Piece (1997–present, manga, anime and films)
Created by Eiichiro Oda.
One Piece is a pirate, action-adventure and the best-selling manga series in history. The One Piece world is covered mostly with ocean and filled with many different races, from humans to fishmen to giants to humanoid animals and various types of monsters; and of those races, many become either Pirates or Marines — essentially criminals or authority.
The series follows the journey of 17-year-old Monkey D. Luffy, who sets off to build his crew, find the mysterious treasure ‘One Piece’ and become ‘King of the Pirates.’ He’s also a Devil Fruit user, which means Luffy’s body possesses the properties of rubber (after he ate the Gum-Gum Fruit). Devil Fruits are a staple of the series and eating one grants weird and wonderful abilities like morphing into animals, controlling fire or ice — or the utterly ridiculous skill ofbe a candle.
I’ve been watching One Piece for many years now, and while I’ve mostly outgrown the genre, it’s my absolute favourite shōnen anime. After watching over 800 episodes, what keeps me coming back is the absurd humour, I don’t think another anime has me rolling with laughter as much as One Piece. Oda’s illustration style is unique and after twenty years of developing the series along with hundreds of characters; I’m still surprised with the ideas for storylines, new characters and Devil’s Fruit abilities.
The manga is only a little ahead of the anime, so you can go with either; personally, I prefer the anime. I know 800 episodes seem daunting, but you can get through them quickly compared to other series because One Piece is notorious for wasting about 5–7 minutes on multiple opening and ending sequences and recaps — so there’s only about 15min of actual content per episode. You can also skip a bunch of filler episodes if you’re in a hurry, just take a look at this list.
I also recommend watching the movies where they fall within the series, generally, films are non-canon (as in don’t follow the main story), but if you skip too far ahead you might reveal spoilers. The animation quality is a lot higher than the series since they have a film budget. Take a look at the complete One Piece episode list.