While chatting with a friend, something occurred to me. In the chat, I expressed frustration with some manga (mainly Hunter x Hunter and Yu-Gi-Oh!) that have (in my opinion) a tendency to gloss over death. To overlook it almost. "Oh, he's dead, what's for brunch?" It made me realize that One Piece, for the most part, does NOT do this.
Death is something characters in OP actually seem to take quite seriously. Rather ironic, actually, considering characters currently existing in the One Piece universe face little to no threat of it . But really, even then, the fact that Oda rarely kills off major characters makes those times it does happen (and sticks [Pell, Igaram, I'm looking at you]) all the more significant.
Throughout the series, the crew takes death-defying risks and fight near-impossible battles. But almost each and every time, they also acknowledge the fact that they are risking their lives. They're prepared for death in a way I can't really feel in most other anime characters. Most notably Luffy, who smiled in the face of what seemed certain death and accepted his fate. Even Usopp, when he fought Chu, acknowledged that to achieve his dreams, he had to be willing to fight with his life on the line. Chopper, too, learned this lesson when he fought with Gedatsu.
This is just an interesting thing I happened to stumble on tonight and wanted to share. Of course, though, it's all just my opinion. I could be wrong.