'One Piece' Fans Rediscover Series' First-Ever Anime Adaptation

One Piece has a long history with Toei Animation has its anime will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year. Still, there was life to One Piece before the mega studio came along, and fans just rediscovered that often overlooked piece of Luffy's past.

Recently, a stray post on Twitter got the anime fandom buzzing when it dug up piece of One Piece's first anime adaptation. The project had its debut in 1998, a year before Toei Animation came in with its official take on Eiichiro Oda's series. So, it is up for you to decide which aesthetic you prefer.

As you can see below, the clip hails from an OVA made by Production I.G. for the 1998 Jump Super Anime Tour. The event screened this One Piece special at all its stops and in select Japanese theaters before the OVA was brought to home video. Now, clips of the project have been buried by time, but it is making a comeback in light of the actual anime's big anniversary year.

The clip follows a very different take on Monkey D. Luffy and his Straw Hat gang as they take on a pirate named Ganzack. At this time, the only comrades backing up the captain were Zoro and Nami, but the gang is joined by a feisty girl named Medaka. The group eventually team up to take on a vicious villain named Ganzack who has taken Medaka's father hostage, and the OVA ends with the Straw Hats ready to continue their adventure to the Grand Line.

While the OVA doesn't come from a specific manga arc, fans find that the story fits well after the Orange Town arc. The adaptation's early production means many of Oda's current characters and plots were not around yet to animate, but this OVA proved the kind of success Luffy could have on the small screen. Depending on your animation tastes, the loss of Production I.G. as the series' studio was for better or worse, but one thing is certain. One Piece has certainly stood the test of time, and it will continue to stand firm as 2019 rolls into 2020 and beyond.


So, are you about to check out this anime blast from the past? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!