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How To Start Watching One Piece

When it comes to anime and manga, few titles can compare to "One Piece." Eiichiro Oda's creation has been ongoing for over two decades, amassing a loyal fanbase in the process. "One Piece" follows Monkey D. Luffy, a young man who wants to be King of the Pirates. Along the way, he amasses a crew of unforgettable characters and discovers that not everyone is so friendly.

The franchise's popularity extends to a series of films. 2022's "One Piece Film: Red" represents yet another chapter in its cinematic outing. The movie sees a mysterious singer, Uta, join the already extensive lineup of The Straw Hat pirates and co. Uta's plans and her special concert also have many surprises in store for Luffy and his friends. Cinematic outings like "Red" also open up the entire "One Piece" universe to new viewers unfamiliar with the larger canon.

For those new to the world of "One Piece," there are a few ways to start the anime, and here's how. 

Watch every episode starting with the East Blue arc

Viewers who want to start the anime should be prepared for a daunting number of episodes — over 1000 episodes as of 2022. It all starts with 1999's first season, the East Blue arc.

The arc, which features 61 episodes, follows Monkey D. Luffy as he sets out to discover Gold Roger's elusive treasure — the One Piece. This early season provides the groundwork for what is to come, especially as it sets up Luffy's crew and introduces a few enemies. It also establishes several key characters' backgrounds and motivations. For instance, viewers learn why Zoro wants to be the best swordsman, that Sanji wants to find the All Blue, and how Nami ended up with Arlong's crew.

From there, it's going to be a marathon that covers over 20 seasons as of 2022. Each episode ranges around 20 minutes, making it easier to traverse than other lengthy series. 

Skip through filler episodes for a quicker way to catch up

Watching every episode may be the ultimate way to catch up, but there are other options for those unwilling or unable to take on this massive task. Like most anime, there are numerous filler episodes in "One Piece." Filler episodes don't add much to the story or are widely considered unnecessary to better understand each arc. 

After over 1000 episodes, it's no surprise "One Piece" has its fair share of filler episodes and arcs. There are many "One Piece " filler episodes you can skip, starting with episodes 54 through 61. This block — also known as the Warship Island Arc — is considered the first filler arc of the series. While there are a few callbacks to the manga, none of them are strong enough to make these episodes required viewing.

Other arcs one can skip to avoid filler are the Ruluka Island Arc, Spa Island Arc, and Silver Mine Arc. Spa Island is a great example of filler because it chronicles the team's stay at the aptly titled island. In this arc, only a few outside characters appear, and no plot points factor into future episodes afterward.

Most filler episodes can be skipped without worry, but there are a few arcs that can still be enjoyed. Foremost among those are Z's Ambition Arc and the Caesar Retrieval Arc. Z's Ambition Arc is especially interesting thanks to its inclusion of the marines. It also marks one of the several times "One Piece" is used to promote a spin-off film. 

Don't stop with the films when watching One Piece

There are 15 "One Piece" films as of 2002. These movies have been very popular, as seen with the most recent installment, "One Piece Film: Red." The film broke a mind-blowing record in Japan and is one of the country's top films of all time. That presence should hold with its releases in other markets as its strong U.S. debut could change the box office hierarchy for "Black Adam." With so much talk surrounding "One Piece Film: Red," some might think they only need to watch the movies. 

The "One Piece" films offer some distinctive insight into the leading characters and their adventures. Unfortunately, they're separate from the anime, as well as the manga. While it makes sense to appeal to new audiences, these films can be a frustrating and ultimately unhelpful place to start.

If one wants to incorporate the films into their overall "One Piece" viewing, there are two ways to do just this. First, films can be viewed at their chronological places among the anime's premiere dates. Keep in mind that includes watching filler episodes — some of which connect directly to their selected films. Another option is to double back to the films after finishing a full or abbreviated viewing of the anime series. Just keep in mind that no cinematic storylines carry over into the anime series.