This is a one piece forum so anything that is not OP related is usually regarded as garbage but its funny how people like Catastrophic think that OP is the only shonen manga that should succeed in Japan. Every manga has a shot in Japan and if FT is gaining popularity then its for a reason. One of the things that always pisses me off about the OP vs FT debate the carbon copy debate. Do people even know what that means? Until I see FT going islands to island and looking for a treasure called One Piece then I would say its a total rip off. OP and FT are not supposed to have the same story. Both series are set in different universes with different problems. Its like sometimes people want FT to be a copy of OP or something. The only thing I want to get across is that despite OP being almost a religion to some here its not the only shonen series that is good in Japan. Every series has a chance to succeed. If FT was a copy of OP and had such an uninteresting story then I would doubt it would be getting attention and a rise in popularity. Oh and Catastrophic do you honestly think that FT is the only series in Japan that reuses the same formula. Do I need to remind you about the OP formula before the time skip. The Adventure Arc and Rescue Arc formula. I personally think both series offer yes people believe it or not different things for people to read much like every other shonen that is available.
Since when did I say One Piece is the only shounen that can succeed in Japan?
There are many other mangas that can top One Piece in quality and story, same goes for Fairy Tail.
Yes, the rescue arcs are very much overused, but really, is it hard for Hiro to make a more original story when One Piece has already succeed in that type far better? The characters are also very much similar, it is hard to be more original in making the main characters?
Even Naruto and Bleach has a much more original cast and ways of rescue. There is a reason as to why I don't feel Naruto or Bleach is a copy of One Piece – it's because they are at least original in their story-making. (but Bleach can be arguable as a copy of another manga.) I don't call it a rip-off out of the blue.
And imo, the reason why FT is gaining in popularity is because it has something most shounens don't have, and that is obvious romance between the characters. I've read Rave Master and it promises a happy ending with a pairing where as most shounens are not as promising. It attracts all the shoujo fangirls and not to mention the echii-fans from the blatant fanservice that is in the manga.
Hiro is a smart mangaka to place all these aspects in his manga which is quite applause worthy -- If not a cheap move.