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A Little-Known Viking Anime Inspired The Creation Of One Piece

When it comes to long-running manga and anime, Eiichiro Oda's "One Piece" series is one of the preeminent examples of longevity. Both the written graphic story as well as the animated program have been running nonstop since 1997 and 1999, respectively, with nearly 500 million copies of the manga in current circulation. The adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his quest to become the King of the Pirates provides fans with an endless sense of wonder and excitement, whether they are new to the series or longtime fans. Watching the "One Piece" anime presents an epic opportunity that few franchises have the ability to provide.

For Oda, the task has been equally as daunting thanks to the sheer number of stories he's told for a quarter of a century. But Oda may be eyeing a possible endgame for the series. In a statement to fans in July 2022 (via ScotchInformer on Twitter), he said in part, "When I was a kid, I thought to myself, 'Man I would love to draw a manga with the most hyped final stage! Now, we have only a tiny bit of Wano Arc left. The preparations are almost done. Took me 25 years." He went on to encourage newcomers to pick up the series for its final arc. 

While fans are in a constant state of intrigue by the world of "One Piece," the artist's inspirations for the adventure series are just as interesting, one of which includes a little-known Viking cartoon that aired in the 1970s.

Eiichiro Oda cites 1970s anime Vicke the Little Viking as an influence for One Piece

In an interview with Viz, "One Piece" mastermind Eiichiro Oda spoke about his influences for crafting the grand saga. When asked by the publication what his inspiration was for writing a manga series about pirates, the author replied, "Ever since I was little, I liked pirates. As a child I really liked an anime series called 'Vicke the Little Viking.' It was about a little kid who admires Vikings, and his dream is to become one of them when he grows up. As I did research on pirates for 'One Piece,' I realized that Vikings are a type of pirate." 

According to Nostalgia Central, "Vicke the Little Viking," also known as "Vicky the Viking" depending on the country it aired in, ran for 78 episodes after premiering in 1974 primarily on Japan's long-running Fuji Television network. The series is hard to find on both streaming and DVD platforms, but random episodes can be found on YouTube under the more common title of "Vicky the Viking."

Oda continued to discuss how the spirit of the animated series fostered many of the dynamics he would go on to explore in his series. "I feel that it's awesome to have friends on your team, just like in the 'Vicke' series," Oda explained. "It may not be the best comparison, but I feel like that series' spirit is carried on within my work." With "One Piece" being an inspiration to so many, they now have an idea on how it all came to be.