One Piece is arguably the most popular manga and anime franchise running today, and lots of its popularity is due to the wide variety of characters and designs series creator Eiichiro Oda has debuted over the course of the series.
One character that has gotten a ton of attention over the series' tenure is Nami, and after Eiichiro Oda showcased a much more "enhanced" design for Nami for the New World arc of the series her popularity skyrocketed. In a re-emerging interview, Oda actually addressed Nami's spark of popularity.
A fan said he likes Nami a lot, specially after the time-skip and he collects all her merch. He asked Oda if it bothers him as an author when people do this.
This was Oda's direct response to that.— Ken Xyro | ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ (@KenXyro) February 10, 2019
Here's the proper full translation pic.twitter.com/wrqVFD9Xuv
In a interview back in 2016, as found by @KenXyro on Twitter, one fan of the series wrote to Oda saying how much he liked Nami. He especially enjoyed her design following the time-skip for the Straw Hats' New World adventures, and collects every bit of her merch. So the fan was wondering whether or not it bothered Oda when fans have a crush on Nami and buy her products as a result. It turns out, Oda's just fine with it.
Stating, "I feel that Nami is getting more popular. I suppose you feel guilty about looking at my characters in an erotic way. I don't mind at all and this goes for all of my characters. My mentor told me that the 'Manga Universe' you create is a product, and after people spend money on that product, it's not a pro thing for us to complain about it. I agree with him. Please enjoy my work with ny interpretation or imagination as per your liking. I'm just happy that you read my manga."
So regardless of how fans feel about Nami, whether or not they buy merchandise based on erotically loving the design, Oda is just fine. He's happy to have fans support his manga, and at the end of the day, feels that fans are open to enjoy the series in whatever way they choose. He's got no problem with fans loving Nami.
Eiichiro Oda's One Piece first began serialization in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump in 1997. It has since been collected into over 80 volumes, and has been a critical and commercial success worldwide with many of the volumes breaking printing records in Japan. The manga has even set a Guinness World Record for the most copies published for the same comic book by a single author, and is the best-selling manga series worldwide with over 430 million copies sold. The series still ranked number one in manga sales in 2018, which surprised fans of major new entries.