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The One Piece Commercial That Reimagined The Cast As Modern-Day High Schoolers

The decades-long history of "One Piece" began in 1997, when the first chapter of its original comic book incarnation debuted in Weekly Shonen Jump, the magazine responsible for publishing "Dragon Ball," "Naruto," "Yu-Gi-Oh," "Slam Dunk," and countless other mega-successful series.

Despite its advanced age relative to most other children's franchises, "One Piece" not only remains popular but still holds its place among some of the most popular present day shonen series out there. For example, 2022 saw the release of "One Piece Film: Red," which broke a box office record in Japan and now ranks among some of the highest-grossing theatrical releases in the country's history. "One Piece Film: Red" even threatened "Black Adam" upon the Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson superhero vehicle's theatrical premiere in the US, on the strength of the considerable popularity of "One Piece" among anime fans stateside as well.

Unsurprisingly, given its longevity, "One Piece" has adapted to a number of forms over the years beyond just its original comic book series and subsequent anime adaptation. Among some of the more unconventional uses of the "One Piece" IP is a series of commercials for an instant ramen brand that reimagines the Straw Hat Pirates and friends as modern-day high schoolers.

Nissin presents One Piece high school

In 2019 and 2020, Japanese food product company Nissin debuted a series of four commercials, titled "One Piece" 青春 — pronounced "seishun," meaning "youth" — each of which centers around a major character or event adapted from the series' fantasy world to a realistic Japanese high school environment.

The first of these commercials is all about swordsman extraordinaire Roronoa Zoro. At its start, Zoro loses a dual to warlord Dracule Mihawk just as he does in the Baratie Arc in "One Piece" proper, but in this case the two battle in an organized kendo competition instead of with steel. The second commercial follows honorary Straw Hat Pirate Nefertiti Vivi, who, instead of leaving her companions to remain in the Kingdom of Alabasta, is simply transferring schools. The third revolves around Nami, whose fish-man captor Arlong is now her human boss at a busy restaurant. Finally, the last commercial recreates the epic Marineford Arc, but as a high school sports day event rather than a calamity that redefines the hierarchy of the world's superpowers.

This entire series of "One Piece" commercials features character redesigns by "Carole & Tuesday" character designer Eisaku Kubonouchi, and animation by "Puella Magi Madoka Magica" studio Shaft. While of course not canonically relevant, these commercials are beautifully animated and full of characters and moments that should be instantly recognizable to fans in spite of each entry's brevity, making for surprisingly entertaining viewing of what is otherwise a mere Cup Noodles ad campaign.