Wall of text warning. Since some people thought it would be an interesting thread, I'm just gonna go ahead and do this thread. If it gets locked, then wutever, don't really care.
Basically, I notice there are threads dedicated to praising One Piece. The only one dedicated to the opposite seems to more-or-less be a rant thread that's more about story content than the manga as a whole. I feel like there should be a thread about criticizing the manga as a whole instead of picky little arguments that derail threads for a couple pages. So I'm just gonna go ahead and post the criticisms I have about the manga, Oda, and even the fandom. And boy do I hate the term "fandom". If it helps you with my perspective, this thread is being done by a guy who has been reading One Piece since around 2005, and has reread the his volumes many, many, many times. I practically stalk this series worse than Brainy stalks Helga. Aside from that, I'm actually not a huge anime/manga fan outside of films - I'm more interested in video games and sports and crap. I am also someone who likes to discuss One Piece outside of this message board due to the fact that a One Piece based board is going to be incredibly biased. And the fact is that the way this message board sees One Piece is, well, vastly different than pretty much everywhere else I see OP talk. That doesn't include Onemanga. God forbid.
In case you guys didn't know, this is what people think of One Piece after the timeskip, as of like… last week when I asked a really active general board what the general consensus was:
! > Best series of the big 3, but has been at a pretty consistent low since the timeskip.
Though I do like this current arc waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than the Fishman Island arc.
! > Time skips seem to kill every manga that has one
! > Sucks ass now
! > t's a pretty average story, I liked it early on but it got kind of boring as it went on. It kinda feels like it has been dragging on for a while now. Even Bleach and Naruto feel closer to an actual conclusion than One Piece appears to be.
! > One Piece is pure awesome.
! > Sanji and Nami are disappointing in the post-timeskip.
Notice most people aren't pleased. Also, if you ask about Sanji, you will usually get expletives in the vain of "f*cking awful". Essentially, criticism is more openly talked about. Here, you'll get people defending damn near anything that gets picked apart. This will include typical fanboys who defend anything to death. This will include people calling the critic a troll - these people should try trolling sometimes, maybe they'll learn to identify an actual troll. This will include neutral people who are having a hard time admitting to themselves One Piece just isn't quite as great as it used to be, which is fine. And of course, this will include condescending users, sometimes mods, who give off the idea that they feel their opinions are worth more for some stupid reason. Fanboyism and egos are a problem imo, cause they give such a bad rep.
So anyways, that's more-or-less what I have to say about how some(but certainly not all or even most) of you present yourself as. Maybe some of you should try chatting about One Piece on sites not related to manga/anime or whatever. The opinions are pretty different in my experience, as I've shown. Now I'll just touch upon some things about the manga itself that upset me and many others. This is gonna be focused on post-timeskip material compared to stuff that's years old. Maybe I'll mention something that you're thinking, but just can't put into words or something. If so, please feel free to share your own criticism, or tweak things to better express what you feel like saying.
One thing that most notably is off since the timeskip is the pacing of the story. I think everyone agrees that Fishman Island was weird about that, and it seems like everyone has their own opinion on pretty much every section of that arc. At that, not enough people are realizing that Punk Hazard is no better in this regard. Punk Hazard lured people in by starting off as the first island of the New World. We saw the ocean on fire, we saw the Straw Hats explore a chaotic island for a few chapters. Indeed, it was very exciting. That fast paced excitement died around the time Franky's group ran into the marines and ran back inside. At that point onward, chapters were getting slower. It feels like Oda himself is stretching chapters just for the sole purpose of ending on some cliffhanger. I find this unnecessary. This isn't the war anymore. PH seems like it shoulda been finished like 5-10 chapters ago, but… it just keeps going and going with no end in sight. Why does this worry me? It's been two years since the timeskip and we're only in the second arc, excluding the quick reunion, and the third arc doesn't seem to be coming anytime soon. Is the rest of the manga going to be full of 30-50 chapter arcs? I don't see how the hell OP will end in about a decade if every arc takes like a year or more to tell. I don't want to see chapters where a group of Straw Hats move from one room to the next, I want to see them get shit done. It's just so consistently slow. Key word: consistent. People will say there's been slow parts before, but really, stuff used to get done and it was never slow for two years.
Another noticeable problem is character interaction. We have 9 Straw Hats. In most arcs, there's usually some companion characters interacting with the crew - Johnny/Yosaku, Vivi/Carue, Conis/Gun Fall, Kokoro/Chimney/Gonbe, Camie/Pappug/Hatchan. And many, many more that also require attention. As the story goes on, it feels like Oda is handling this worse and worse. At this point, the main characters themselves have shallow interactions. How so? Robin will make a creepy remark. Sanji will do a perverted thing. Usopp will freak out. Franky will do a "cool" cyborg thing. Luffy will be a doofus. Some of these characters are becoming more and more one-dimensional. While they do have some good moments, it really has been watered down as a whole. It just feels like I'm watching a bunch of weird, overpowered, douches go on some boat ride now.
Character development is nearly non-existent now. Luffy is a Mary Sue. That's it. He's some goody guy who can barely be scratched, pulls out random moves, never has a real challenge, pretty much everyone in-story likes him, and he always wins. I don't like this. He has no real flaws that aren't just there for cheap laughs. Sure, there's his super amazing ability to drown, but that's rarely ever relevant now. Give the other characters a chance to shine in the hero spot light - and I mean for more than a couple of pages. And let's see them develop their personalities a bit more. Only person with any real development is Chopper. He's no longer just the team mascot. He actually became brave over the timeskip, as opposed to Usopp who still chickens out. Chopper can fight and has accepted himself as a monster. He does his crew job more often, and had a really good moment when he discovered the PH kids were being fed addicting drugs. Yet he's easily one of the most overlooked characters. I'd go so far as to say he's the most well-written character at this point in the story, with Brook and Nami following behind him. Which brings me to the worst…
Sanji. Sanji, Sanji, Sanji. This is the only site where I've seen such blind and defensive love for a character. There were already signs that his character was going in a bad direction when he fought Absolom over the invisibility fruit. It wasn't bad then and it seemed like just a one-off perv gag. Then the timeskip happened. Oh boy. First off, he's reintroduced as being really inconsiderate to the Okama guys(though being portrayed so awfully, it's hard to blame him). He has to do rehabilitation with Chopper on the way down to Fishman Island. This was annoying. I didn't mind it when he saw Hancock. I felt it was played out by the time he saw Shirahoshi. But there was that moment with the mermaids when he was pressed up against poor Ishilly. That really freaking stupid as hell nosebleed. That was it for most people outside of this forum. He had officially jumped the shark. His pervertedness had gotten out of hand and has become astronomically annoying. Surely this would end eventua-oh, Law put him in Nami's body. Yeah. Great. This coulda been lulzy if he didn't have a bad history since the timeskip, but, well, he did have a bad history since the timeskip. The whole self-molesting Nami thing was… too much. It lowers his character and it lowers my expectations of how he will act in the future. Most people I have talked to agree that he is an absolutely terrible character and should just go away forever. And while we're on him, what is it with his new moves having to have a mention of his time on his timeskip island? Hops around in water - REMEMBER THAT HORRIBLE TIME. Pulls off some CP9 shiz? GOD THAT HORRIBLE TIME ON THAT ISLAND. When the other Straw Hats show off a new move, we don't get some banter like that. The guy needs some character development, and soon. The white knighting needs to die, too. He refused to hurt Kalifa pre-timeskip and Nami had to fight her after fending off Kumadori. There was a point where Sanji pointed a gun at Robin when she was an antagonist. So it can be said that he's been getting worse for the entirety of the manga. Also, his new facial hair is douchey. Really, I'm having a very hard time seeing what people enjoy about his character now.
If you made it this far, have a cookie break:
There's an over-abundance of characters. This one is pretty self-explanatory. We get characters introduced who really don't do much. Did Ryuboshi and Manboshi do anything relevant aside from making Shirahoshi stop crying in the flashback? Sure, it made for a nice tear jerker, but then we got those two just sitting around doing nothing interesting for the present. And we're shown way too many characters that we're supposed to hype over. I somehow doubt even half of those New World captains will ever have an actual role. Though I pray to death Whitey bay comes back. That's one girl I can hype all day erry day. But in all seriousness, I don't care anymore for having a million character designs thrown at us. First we got a bunch of cool but then-unimportant Supernovas. And a then we saw a ton of New World pirates. And Whitebeard's crew itself. That was like what, 14 or so commanders or whatever? Then we get Big Mom's crew, and Doflamingo's crew, all of which are getting hype. It's neat at first, but it just feels like a "throw it in" thing to keep us interested. Which is actually smart thinking on Oda's part. PH was getting very dry, but Doflamingo's crew being shown was neat. Also, don't care for throw-away characters like the Cool Brothers. Say what you like, they were pretty much pointless.
Fighting is boring now. The Straw Hats win. Never a real challenge outside of Caesar these days. They just owned on Fishman Island. Yeah, it was to show off how strong they are, but really, maybe they got too strong. There's also like no personal conflicts with the crew members right now, so having dull fights doesn't distract from that. Then we get them owning in the New World. C'mon. Tired of this. Usopp was doing ass-pulls for a while there. It wasn't always like that. The non-combat challenges are near non-existent too. None of the Straw Hats looked to be in any real danger in Punk Hazard. They used to actually be put in danger - Usopp getting his ass handed to him by the Franky Family, Robin being in the hands of CP9, Nami getting sick after leaving Little Garden. There's just no real danger aspect anymore. And no, Sanji's nosebleed doesn't count.
Also, Haki. This was the worst thing to be introduced to One Piece for me. We go like 10ish years into the manga and then suddenly half the characters have it. It was more fun watching everyone rely on raw power and abilities rather than use physics-defying reflexes and the power to make people foam at your awesomeness. It should be way more limited so that it's less h4x and less common. It's too cheap and makes for even more boring fights.
Finally, this one is more aimed at the fandom. The people who make actual cases out of characters in new crewmate speculations. There is so much grasping at straws when the straw dispenser is very much empty. You know what? No. It was not a given that Jinbe would join. And until he is on that ship singing cutesy image songs after running on the beach with the Straw Hats, it's still not a given. Though yeah, that'll prolly happen. At least he loosened up. But I'm also talking about dumb theories like Monet, Momonosuke, Kinemon, etc. These characters make zero sense. Monet was shown to be on the side of evil pretty early on, and the astronomer theory is too much. The Wano guys make zero sense period. Not complaining about stuff like Three-Eyed girl speculation, cause that's obviously in good fun. But the actual serious speculation is abhorrent.
With all that said, and holy shit my hand is cramping, I'm just analyzing One Piece more openly and am trying to encourage people do stop acting like there's no flaws. The storytelling peaked at Enies Lobby as far as I'm concerned. I'm not saying the story is completely awful or anything, it still interests me greatly and I have no plans to quit reading anytime soon since there's plenty of aspects I do love and consider to be good. But you gotta take the bad with the good, and you gotta be willing to talk about the bad. I don't care if it's a fan forum. Even gamers and TV-show viewers can admit when their favorite series are going through trashy periods. A manga that's gonna last a total of over 20 years isn't gonna avoid a mediocre period, and it hit that mediocre period.
So feel free to discuss anything I said. Add to it, tweak it to fit your opinion better. I prolly missed some stuff or mighta been harsh on something I meant to be lighter on. Or give your opinion how you think things are being handled nowadays, or just your opinion on how I see this stuff.
inb4 I get lynched, locked, banned, and sent away from my computer