Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Surprising Year One Piece Was Supposed To Originally End

Whether you're a long-time viewer or just starting out, fans of "One Piece" know just how daunting it can be to take the plunge and finally start watching the popular adventure anime. The hardest part is knowing where to begin. "One Piece" recently celebrated its 1000th episode, and it has been on the air for more than 20 years. Seriously, how on earth is anyone expected to catch up on all that's happened to Luffy and the Straw Hats in that time?

The premise of "One Piece" is mind-bogglingly simple: Monkey D. Luffy wants to find the legendary treasure known as the "One Piece" and become king of all pirates. What began as a simple story has turned into a two-decade-long quest that has seen Luffy and his crew travel to multiple islands and engage in season-long duels with some of the most impressive foes the high seas have to offer.

The number of episodes of "One Piece," which is adapted from the equally long-running manga series of the same name written by Eiichiro Oda, has become baked into the show's identity. Today, it is as much an element of the story as Luffy and the Straw Hats might be. So, it might surprise some viewers to learn that the series was once planned to end a whole lot sooner than expected.

One Piece was meant to end in the late '00s

Surprisingly, Eiichiro Oda, author of the manga and aficionado on all things "One Piece," has stated in the past that he originally planned to end the series in 2002, only five years after it had begun. This would have placed the end of "One Piece" around the Arabasta arc, though as we know, the manga ended up going through two more arcs in 2002 alone (the Jaya arc and the Skypeia arc). While that interview appears to have been lost to time, Oda did repeat his desire to end the manga in five years in a 2019 interview with the YouTube channel Fischer's (via Anime News Network). However, it's unclear if he'll stick to that timeline because, just one year earlier, he claimed "One Piece" was about 80% finished (via Hypebeast).

In "The 23rd Log: Punk Hazard" (one of many in a long series of "Log" books dedicated to the "One Piece" universe and including additional information on the series) Oda blamed the inclusion of the Shichibukai as the reason the story got so out of hand, saying, "I thought it would be badass if these characters showed up, then as you can see, it created this long serialization!" (via Twitter).

The Shichibukai are known as the "Seven Warlords of the Sea" in the English adaptation – and were a group of seven notorious pirates who had allied themselves with the tyrannical world government. Whatever the reason for the extended runtime of "One Piece," one can't help but wonder what the series ending might have looked like had it all wrapped up back in 2002.