One Piece's anime and manga have both crossed the 20 year mark, and with it being one of the longest running and most popular action series of all time it naturally has brought up several conversations about its potential end over the years. Series creator Eiichiro Oda himself has fueled the fire several times over the course of the series, and the latest window has the series finale possibly coming in the next five years. But this begs the major question, however. How exactly will it end? Will it meet over two decades of expectations?
Toei Animation producer Shinji Shimizu certainly thinks it will as he revealed in a recent interview with Ai Show in Saudi Arabia (as noted by @sandman_AP on Twitter) that Oda once told him that the ending of the series will be much more touching than the impact left by Ace's story.
As Shimizu noted in the interview, Oda once told him, "So many audience[s] were moved at the story of Ace['s death?], but I'm pretty sure the ending of One Piece will be much more touching." Shimizu also noted in the interview that he knows how the series would end, but Oda would get mad at him if he spilled the beans. So it's clear that the ending of the series is set in stone at least concept wise, though the actual road to getting there is still a bit murky.
Its surprising to see Oda invoke Ace's death as one of the standout moments of the series that have caused a major response among fans, and it's undoubtedly looked at by fans as one of the most emotional moments in the entire series overall. Ace's death has had major ramifications for fans over the years, and this does make you think about how the series will end.
Touching is a specific word choice as it does not imply either a tragic ending or a happy one, but it's certainly going to emotional one way or the other. Fans have journeyed with Luffy and the Straw Hats for a long time, and when the ending actually comes? It's going to be a huge deal for every anime and manga fan out there.
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.