One Piece has been around for a long time, but some fans only just realized how old it has become these days. 2017 marked the series' 20th anniversary, and Eiichiro Oda just gave a shoutout to all of his younger fans with a new sketch.
Over in Japan, the country just celebrated its Coming of Age day, a holiday which celebrates everyone who turned 20 within the last year. As One Piece also reached that milestone in 2017, Oda posted a special sketch to celebrate the occasion, and it is a rather sweet one.
As you can see below, Oda did a sketch of Monkey D. Luffy and Tony Tony Chopper for his fans. The sketch shows the pair walking over a grassy knoll, and Chopper is dressed casually with a backpack. Oda added a short caption to the drawing promising lifelong support to his adolescent readers, and the card has a list of activities which 20-year-olds in Japan can now do on its back. So, if Luffy or Chopper want to smoke now, they are free to do so.
The creator of One Piece also penned a touching letter to his younger fans who came of age in 2017. You can read up on Oda's wise words below:
"Congratulations for becoming an adult!! How do you feel right now? You might want to drink, smoke or become a pirate. Well, piracy is a crime. I'm writing this message for 2 reasons; One is to encourage young people in Kumamoto, my hometown which got hit by a large earthquake in 2016. The other reason is the reason that children who were born in the same year where I started One Piece become adults this year.
About 5 years from now may be the most important 5 years for you since now is the time to determine how you live. You have lived for 20 years, right? If you have live up to 80 years old, how would you spend the rest 60 years of your life? Now is the time to face this questions with your heart and soul.
People will tell you that you can feel free to drink and smoke. In other words, you are entitled to do whatever you want, but you need to take full responsibility for your actions. My words might sound scary, but as someone brought up in Kumamoto like you, I trust your potential to start rowing towards [an] unknown sea named society.
Be sure to consider your own future more than anything else. Even if you are selfish, your parents will feel happiest if you only tell them some day in the future, "I'm sailing this sea on my own!" My message [is] longer than I imagined. I'd be glad if you learn something from my words. Congratulations for becoming an adult! I'll bee on your side!!"
Did you grow up loving One Piece? Hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to let me know and talk all things comics, k-pop, and anime!