Eiichiro Oda Has A Harrowing Process For Coming Up With One Piece Ideas

"One Piece" is still as relevant as it was when the first chapter came out in July of 1997. Now boasting over 1,000 chapters (that's over 100 volumes), Eiichiro Oda's magnum opus of a manga series has been a Shonen Jump staple for 25 years, as Monkey D. Luffy and the rest of the Straw Hat crew embarked on adventure after adventure in order to attain the fabled "One Piece" and become king of the pirates. While the premise may seem simple on the surface, "One Piece" is anything but. The expansive lore and world-building of "One Piece" is second to none, with any single world or arc having enough characters, history, and backstory that could put other shows to shame. It will make for quite a challenge when it comes to Netflix's upcoming live-action adaptation

One might wonder how exactly creator Eiichiro Oda has been able to consistently deliver volume after volume of a series filled with incredibly creative ideas and bursting with new worlds at the turn of every story arc. Oda was asked directly about how he is able to come up with such powerful character moments. In a manga filled with kinetic action, heartfelt and emotional character moments, and shocking reveals, Oda revealed that the only way he is able to continue to come up with story ideas is to push himself as far as he's pushed the Straw Hats themselves.

Pushing a creator to their limit

Regarding his creative process when writing the massive story of "One Piece," Eiichiro Oda told Viz:

"The thing is, I get bored easily. So if my manga was just about the action, or comedy, or tearjerking moments, more than anybody, I would get bored. So I change up the style of the series to keep up my motivation to draw the series. The real secret? I think of the plots and scenes when I'm tired. The only way that I can think of a new idea is to think about it a lot without sleeping or eating. That's the only way that I know, because humans can only come up with truly new ideas when they reach their limit. So every time I am done with my manuscript, I am completely exhausted."

If Oda's process sounds harrowing to you, that's because it absolutely is. Eiichiro Oda has been known to have health issues in the past that have lead to the delay of "One Piece" on multiple occasions. Oda isn't the only creator to suffer health problems because of their manga either, with the manga industry as a whole having similar issues. Needless to say, Oda clearly puts his whole heart and soul into "One Piece." This intense method of writing clearly works, and while there are several story arcs in the manga that shine because of his dedication, there's one in particular that stands out.

Whole Cake Island

Look no further than the "Whole Cake Island" arc of "One Piece" as a prime example of Oda's work ethic paying off. What could be considered the most outlandish and creative piece of lore form the manga, "Whole Cake Island" has everything fans love about "One Piece." No doubt the oddest (and darkest) setting of the series, "Whole Cake Island" features the Straw Hats attempting to save one of their fellow crew members from an arranged marriage. To do so, the crew ventures out to the titular island, which is constructed out of icing to resemble cakes (if the name wasn't enough of an indication) with almost everything being edible, including anthropomorphic food creatures. 

"Whole Cake Island" also includes a signature Oda touch. The island soon becomes a subversion of expectations as what was one of the most visually appealing of the series is in fact the most oppressed and terrifying. Moreover, it's ruled by an evil emperor and the island's delectable food creatures are all-seeing spies. This story arc has everything that Eiichiro Oda strives for when pushing himself to create new stories: Odd and outlandish concepts, a long-spanning narrative (78 chapters, 9 volumes), and an unexpected twist readers don't see coming. It's because of Eiichiro Oda harrowing creative process that he's able to deliver stories like these. When all is said and done, "One Piece" could truly be considered one of the greatest manga of all time.