It's truly a testament to the popularity, and ingenuity, of One Piece that its been able to not just run as long as it has, originally starting in 1997, but also that it has kept up the pace in terms of readership and audiences overall. With over a thousand anime episodes and manga chapters to its name, the story of Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates has resonated to the point where its nearly managed to overtake Batman in terms of overall book sales. Even though the creator Eiichiro Oda has stated that the series is closer to finishing than ever before, fans are still hungry for more tales from the world of the Grand Line.
At the recent Anime Expo convention, we were able to sit down with the voice actor for the Straw Hat Pirate Franky, Patrick Seitz, and ask him what the series' 20th anniversary meant for him:
Comicbook.com: "The anime overall is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and you've been associated with the project English dub for quite some time now. I wanted to ask you, both as someone who's attached to One Piece professionally, but also as a fan, what does this milestone anniversary mean to you?"
Patrick Seitz: "It's mind blowing to think of the anime going on for 20 years now. I mean the run of One Piece anime is as long as my entire voice over career, and I've been doing this for 20 years now, so that is bonkers to me to think that the same year I first stumbled out of the gate, as it were, what is anime? What am I? I'm 21. That's also when the One Piece anime got started. That's crazy to think."
Seitz has had a long history of voice acting, bringing characters to life not just in One Piece, but also in animated series such as JoJo's Bizarre Adventures, Justice League Action, One-Punch Man, and My Hero Academia. Even when One Piece eventually ends, we're sure to see more characters brought to life from Patrick moving forward.
What does the 20th anniversary of One Piece's anime mean to you? How do you see the series ending? Feel free to let us know in the comments or hit me up directly on Twitter @EVComedy to talk all things comics, anime, and the Straw Hat Pirates!
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.