This year, fans all over the world are going to be paying homage to one of anime's longest running franchises. Eiichiro Oda's One Piece was first published back in July 1997, so this year marks the series' 20th anniversary. During the holidays, Oda and his team of illustrators took time to honor the Straw-Hat Pirates with some brand-new art, and it will have you seeing the vagabond crew in a whole new light.
Not long ago, Toei Animation uploaded a stunning art video to their Youtube which features work from the beloved artist. The footage highlights characters like Luffy D. Monkey and Portgas D. Ace. The pirate brothers are two of the franchise's most famous characters, and they are reimagined in a new, hyperrealistic light.
Looking at Luffy, the artwork can seem totally foreign to some fans. The image shows a very young boy with short black hair smiling despite a gap-tooth. Dressed in a white button-up, Luffy can be seem laughing as his straw hat dangles around his neck. As for Ace, the fiery character looks more like his manga counterpart but his bright red hair contrasts starkly against his black trench coat.
On Twitter, Oda and his crew continued to share the One Piece love with fans as they shared a slew of artwork. You can check out the images below as they show off Luffy and his gang of feared pirates. Protagonists like Brook, Usopp, Nami, Tony Tony Chopper, Nico, and more can be seen ringing in the holidays with style.
In one image, fans can see see One Piece crossover with Gintama. The cute drawing shows Luffy and Gintoki facing off in what appears to be an eating contest, and the latter white-haired hero looks like he's winning. However, if Luffy and his elastic stomach have anything to say, Gintoki won't be in the lead for long.
In the coming year, One Piece will have plenty of announcements coming that celebrate its milestone anniversary. One Piece Film: Gold will have its English debut in theaters in January, and the anime will continue airing throughout the year. Of course, the manga will keep moving forward with its storylines, and Oda hinted the series is coming up to some massive climaxes.
担当達がツイッター頑張るから挨拶をしろと…… pic.twitter.com/NFWakC3oAQ— ONE PIECE スタッフ【公式】 (@Eiichiro_Staff) December 31, 2016
Right now, the mangaka says that his beloved series is about 65% done and that the Dressrosa Arc has all but come to an end after nearly three years. Now, the manga is finishing up its Whole Cake Island arc before moving into a new storyline featuring Wano Country and the Reverie Council. The newspaper further hinted that 2017 will be an important year for the One Piece manga and that fans should anticipate some big surprises.