One Piece's anime turned 20 years old this year, and the franchise has been celebrating in a pretty huge way. Along with the start of the Wano Country arc of the series, and the big anniversary film One Piece: Stampede seeing many fan-favorites return to the anime, another project is celebrating by going way back to the origins of the series. A new anime special based on one of Oda's early inspirations for what would eventually become One Piece will soon be coming our way. Scheduled for a release October 20th in Japan, the new special will be adapting Romance Dawn, the prototype one-shot Oda worked on before it became One Piece.
Announced earlier this year, fans were assuming that the second Romance Dawn prototype would be adapted for the new special considering the first was already done. But this was unconfirmed until the first trailer for its upcoming premiere highlights many elements from the second one. Check it out in the video above!
The first version of the prototype already got its own anime adaptation years ago as part of a special celebratory OVA made for Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump's 40th Anniversary. With the second version, fans can see one of the more recognizable early versions of the series play out in the anime. This includes a much different look for Luffy than we'd eventually see in the full series, and especially true for Nami. In fact, it's not Nami at all!
With the characters shuffled around in order to keep the final version mostly under wraps, Luffy's blue-haired companion is instead named Ann, and while she shares some similarities with Nami she's completely different. Many of the characters from these prototypes never quite made it into the full series, so seeing this alternate universe play out in the anime should be a fun experience for fans.
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.