Well, I suppose it's about six months since I said to myself "I'd never be able to sit through an anime." I was that prejudiced to the style.
However, the substance of OP has won me over. The characters seem interesting and complex, and I guess I have a thing for pirates.
I sit through, I just don't look at the screen. :lol:
Please warn me ahead of spoilers. I've only seen a very narrow swath of the series (what I've seen the American broadcasters offer) – from when Sanji leaves the Baratie (how did anyone get the financing for a business model as hairbrained as a sea-bound restaurant?) to when Arlong tries to drown Luffy. I find myself rather liking him; he's the classic dictator-- building an empire for its own sake, ignoring the submermen's needs, and slapping his name and coat of arms on everything that stands still. He can impress me (in the old naval sense-- kidnap and force into service) anytime.
The OP fandom is by far the most organised I've ever seen. The fanart club at deviantart makes the Gargoyles and Jackie Chan Adventures ones seem completely nonmanaged. And this is actually one of the most luxurious message boards I've seen; both more sophisticated than the free ones other fandoms rely on, and even some commercial sites which are expected to build community to ensure their survival (hardware sites, for example). My respect goes out to the appropriate authority figures.
Please prepare for remarkably dumb questions.