One Piece fans loved Eiichiro Oda's drawing of an older Luffy, so much so that they began imagining an entire middle-aged Straw Hat crew.
After more than 20 years of drawing Monkey D. Luffy, Oda decided to re-imagine his iconic character aging through the years. While he is eternally a young man in the series, Oda gave some thought to a middle-aged Luffy in a sketch that made the rounds on forums and social media last month. He offered a sketch of Porgas D. Ace as well, revealing how each of them would look at 40 and 60 years old.
The portraits inspired Oda's dedicated fanbase, who used them as a springboard for their own artwork. A fan named Kim began the trend just a few days later on Twitter.
"We had aged up versions of luffy from oda recently," Kim wrote, "so *clutching fists* goodbye my babyface Luffy headcanons."
we had aged up versions of luffy from oda recently so— ˗ˏˋ кот борис ˎˊ˗ (@kimpimpam) June 7, 2018
*clutching fists* goodbye my babyface luffy headcanons pic.twitter.com/Gsvm7e43eb
The portraits were a huge hit among fans. Kim even included drawings of characters like Brook, pointing out that they would not have aged in that time.
"Bless your op art seriously they all look so good I want to cry in appreciation," one person responded. "Even Usopp looks really good with and Sanji looks so confused but cute I love it."
YOO KIM how haven't I seen these??? Bless your op art seriously they all look so good I want to cry in appreciation 🙏💦💖 even Usopp looks really good wth and Sanji looks so confused but cute I love it hahaha 🧡 not to mention the the girls and the specia duo yknow who I mean— Becca (@ariesayuu) June 8, 2018
The concept also took hold on the One Piece subreddit, where aged-up fan art began to surface. A sketch of Roronoa Zoro at the age of 42, by an artist named Delga Alessio captured the collective imagination.
"It does look amazing. Will you fill this out more after you're done with the other sketches?" one person commented. "I'd love to see full-fledged versions of the crew '20 years later' or even a group pic."
A few days later, the same artist posted a picture of 58-year-old Franky, complete with a sketch of his cyborg components disassembled.
"I am simply not a fan of the boxy cartoony arms that he has, that's why i decided to use a design that is sleeker," Alessio explained.
Finally, a few days after that Alessio returned with a 41-year-old version of Usopp.0comments
"This looks. so. good," one person wrote. "I wonder if now he's able to use a real 1000kg hammer."
Oda's own drawings that started the whole trend included a "bad ending" for his characters, where they aged poorly and fell into terrible health. His fans didn't seem as interested in these outcomes, focusing more on the rugged, swarthy pirate aesthetic the show is known for.