One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda has revealed that the story for the long running manga is now in its "final stage." With where the Wano Country arc has taken things for Luffy and the rest of the Straw Hat pirates, the end of the series has seemed like it was much closer now than it was a few years ago. Couple this with some of the huge reveals about the world at large and the mysteries of the final island, the stage for whatever Oda has planned for the end of the series has been set as well. Now Oda has cemented this.
In a special advertisement for the series celebrating the release of Volume 100 of the series (along with the manga's other recent milestones like crossing 1000 chapters and the fast approaching 1000th episode of the anime), Oda can be seen illustrating a rough draft page while the text on the side reads "The story is in the final stage." Check it out below:
Fans have gotten several teases and estimates about the approaching ending for the One Piece franchise over the last year or so, and Oda takes this one step further with the special message he released alongside the launch of Volume 100 in Japan (as translated by @ochimusha108 on Twitter). It begins as such:
"Here we are everyone, 100 volumes. You can now line up 100 unique volumes of One Piece on a shelf!! Sorry 'bout that. For those of you who own all of them, they're probably taking way too much space even though you have tons of other important books. Believe me, I know! But from my point of view it's kind of like, 'Wow, so this is my entire life, huh?' Actually, it's more like 'Wait...is that all?!' Day in and day out for the past 24 years a grown man has been spending his time drawing like a madman! So, c'mon! Is that really all that boils down to?!"
Continuing further, Oda drops another big tease about the series' "final stage," "Maybe it's better to leave deciding what those 100 volumes represent to the readers. How about it? Too much space? Too little? Either way, it represents a world that we created. It was born from my imagination, and from yours as well. Our story is now in its final stages and until the day we finally reach its end, I will guide you through it to the absolute best of my ability."
The "final stage" of the series could last anywhere between five to ten years (as other teases have asserted), but it's clear that the ending for One Piece is more in sight now than ever. But what do you think? How would you want to see the series come to an end? Let us know all of your thoughts about it in the comments! You can even reach out to me directly about all things animated and other cool stuff @Valdezology on Twitter!