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Thread: Storytelling in One Piece

  1. #1
    The Tetsuo Ishimaru of AP Gizmo's Avatar
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    Default Storytelling in One Piece

    This weekend I reread Skypiea.

    Tangent
    Spoiler:
    First, I want to mention I was wrong in that Oda made a lot of mistakes involving the Shandian warrior designs during the survival game. He definitely did not have for sure 20 designs in mind and had in mind which character was offed in which scene.

    (For example, the "halfway" point where it mentions 7 Shandians are left. There are definitely more that 7 unique Shandian designs drawn still conscious after this scene)


    But on to the point. Storytelling. I couldn't help but notice the drastic change in storytelling. In Skypiea, Oda would draw every little scene that the current arc, Fishman Island, would skip over. For example, we definitely would've seen Luffy/Usopp/Chopper trying to find a blood donor for Sanji if it was the same pace as Skypiea.

    Skypiea would draw what every character was up to at every moment. Oda wouldn't skip over any scene (he would even draw scenes of the crew doing their thing. There were a few panels of Sanji preparing Skypiean food with Pagaya or the campfire scene where half the chapter is the crew just doing stuff for preparing a meal. Luffy is preparing water. Sanji is telling Luffy/Chopper/Zoro what do to for food. Chopper is describing doctoring methods. Robin found a rock salt. There's also the scene Robin digging to the ruins of Shandora etc.)

    Skip to Fishman Island where we skip Franky finding Den, Robin finding out that the poneglyph is at Fishman Island etc.

    There is a trade off between the reduced number of chapters vs what is shown. And this is only one of the main ways Oda has changed his storytelling abilities. I'm sure this forum can think of a bunch of different nuances of how Oda has changed his storytelling techniques.












    So this is that thread. It's not a "this arc is better" thread. It's a thread about comparing the evolution of Oda's storytelling over this series and explaining his high and low points in storytelling.

    This can include the sequences that he introduces information. The amount of information shown per panels. Foreshadowing. Callbacks to previous arcs. etc. This is for this thread. Let's discuss this now.
    Last edited by Gizmo; April 18th, 2011 at 03:35 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gregory House
    Right and wrong do exist. Just because you don't know what the right answer is — maybe there's even no way you could know what the right answer is — doesn't make your answer right or even okay. It's much simpler than that. It's just plain wrong.

  2. #2
    7transformation duck rider Chopper Madness's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storytelling in One Piece

    this is an interesting topic

    but i would like to add that oda is to the point where he has to change his methods to shorten things

    bc there are a lot more characters and character interaction say compared to east blue or even alabastia

  3. #3
    The Tetsuo Ishimaru of AP Gizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storytelling in One Piece

    Quote Originally Posted by Chopper Madness View Post
    this is an interesting topic

    but i would like to add that oda is to the point where he has to change his methods to shorten things

    bc there are a lot more characters and character interaction say compared to east blue or even alabastia
    It's understandable. The discussion can be whether people believe it's better or not better. Is it better that we are skipping these events? Or are these events vital to fleshing out characters and developing them?
    Quote Originally Posted by Gregory House
    Right and wrong do exist. Just because you don't know what the right answer is — maybe there's even no way you could know what the right answer is — doesn't make your answer right or even okay. It's much simpler than that. It's just plain wrong.

  4. #4
    Guy from the square GiantGuy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storytelling in One Piece

    Well, while I still love One Piece, the pacing and skipping problems that you mention (and Oda's sudden inability to draw normal-sized people) are the reasons that I think it's not quite as good as it used to be (though of course it hasn't really dropped in quality compared to the many other mangas).
    Fishman Island has only lasted 13 chapters, and while it of course seems to last at least a few chapters more, we've gotten much more than we would have in former arcs. A big cast of characters and one of the more complex plots. And in e.g. Skypiea, we hadn't even SEEN the main villain after 13 chapters!

    I think Oda's biggest problem currently is that he has so much he wants to tell, but in the end doesn't have the energy to tell it all. So he should maybe think a bit more like "okay, I'd like to include a subplot about Sanji getting a blood donor, but do I even bother to draw it?" That would help much.

    And another thing is also that he uses much more panels than he used to do. See this: http://www.mangareader.net/103-2573-...apter-466.html. Two panels and only one short line from Brook. He hasn't "squandered" his drawing paper that much recently. No, currently page 15 and 16 in this chapter would have been mashed together on one page. And he might even have skipped the fight as the fight itself wasn't as important as Zoro getting a new sword and Brook getting his shadow back. And we already HAD seen Ryuuma fight, so why show it again?

    The new pacing is quite nice on a weekly chapter basis, however. When I read e.g. the Thriller Bark weekly chapters over a year, they felt soooooo dragged out, and Impel Down was nice because the story always was pushed much forward in each chapter. When I read the whole arcs after they finished, Thriller Bark had almost perfect pacing (maybe except for the fight against Oars), and Impel Down seemed like an abscess Oda just wanted to get rid of as fast as possible.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Storytelling in One Piece

    Oda has so many stuff in his mind, which he likes to introduce in his story..
    Just thinking about the oportunities the NW gives him to make various differnet islands is unbelievable.
    By that Oda has to decide whether he likes to introduce us some arcs\islands as big and detailed as possible, or show us more arcs\islands, where all those smaller details(interactions of the crew\smaller side quests etc) are more distributed to the arcs or are shown more off-panel.
    He has to cut some stuff off ,just like he did already.(like seeing the page where Usopp bought his goggles)
    By that the arc still remains long enough, but by deciding not to show every piece of story in every detail(like all the time we can think for ourselves what happens inbetween two panels), Oda can save so much time and space in his masterpiece, so that much more time for other newer stuff occurs,where he has to show us more details, so that we can understand it.

    Non the less with drawing less, he makes the reader more think about stuff which is most of the time a good thing...when you think for yourself what exactly now happens in those off-panels you can develop your own little adventures or situation.
    Also with off-panels you are sometimes able to introduce even more to a complex story, without wasting a chapter or something like that with showing us less interesting stuff, just to bring the story more forward.
    The epic battle of BusterCall vs. Don is decided !!!
    And the results are 3:2 for Don..


  6. #6
    See you in another life! Mugiwara_no_Ice's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storytelling in One Piece

    Yeah Idk, I also think that things are getting out of hand in terms of pacing. Of course I'll have to reread everything when the arc is over to make a definitive opinion and feel. But as things are now I feel the flashback is a little rushed. I have no emotional connection or feeling whatsoever with fisher tiger or the other characters like neptune.

    I understand it's a very fine line between rushed and dragged, so I hope it gets better.
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  7. #7
    The Tetsuo Ishimaru of AP Gizmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GiantGuy View Post
    I think Oda's biggest problem currently is that he has so much he wants to tell, but in the end doesn't have the energy to tell it all. So he should maybe think a bit more like "okay, I'd like to include a subplot about Sanji getting a blood donor, but do I even bother to draw it?" That would help much.
    Yeah, Oda definitely has a bunch of ideas that sometimes doesn't always pull through (the general zombies is the most prominent example I can think of). But it's those ideas that make the story so interesting so sometimes I wouldn't mind if he went through all of those plot points in retrospect. Weekly it'd be such a pain though.

    I don't agree with the Ryuuma fight being unimportant, but that's another issue. It was an homage to Monsters and was an important battle for Zoro/Brook.

    But yeah, Oda is putting a lot more in these chapters than he would've previously, which is good. IMO, Impel Down only felt rushed in the end where everyone but Magellan/Hannyabal was taken out quickly or offscreen but that more to do with a lack of payoff by the staff in the end.


    Quote Originally Posted by Don Quichotte De Flamingo View Post
    with drawing less, he makes the reader more think about stuff which is most of the time a good thing...when you think for yourself what exactly now happens in those off-panels you can develop your own little adventures or situation.
    Sometimes leaving things to the imagination isn't always a good thing. For example, the Sanji in a dress cover story. That's something that I doubt will ever be explained, and that type of thing could lead to very different views (or people accepting Toei's take on it).

    I can't really think of any in the current arc that would be as controversial, but that's the gist.
    Also with off-panels you are sometimes able to introduce even more to a complex story, without wasting a chapter or something like that with showing us less interesting stuff, just to bring the story more forward.
    I think it depends. Personally, I think the pacing of Fishman Island is fine except for the nosebleed situation.

    It had a bunch of buildup only to get resolved off screen. It was a bad plot line, but Oda could've gone and shown how regular citizens of Fishman Island react to the idea of giving blood to a human, which could've been interesting to see whether all of them have the same mindset, or if the mindset is more diverse (like they would've but they didn't have the bloodtype).

    @Mugiwara_no_Ice: I can understand. I started thinking about this because of the latest chapter's pacing, but since the flashback and arc isn't over yet, I can't really judge it. Still, it's interesting to notice Oda's evolution of pacing over time.

    --- Update From New Post Merge ---

    There's a bunch of other things that could also be taken into consideration over time. It's interesting to note the difference in how arcs do things like: development of side characters, villains, main character interactions, overarching worldbuilding, scientific phenomena worldbuilding, cultures of the islands, errors/arc length etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gregory House
    Right and wrong do exist. Just because you don't know what the right answer is — maybe there's even no way you could know what the right answer is — doesn't make your answer right or even okay. It's much simpler than that. It's just plain wrong.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Storytelling in One Piece

    Quote Originally Posted by ultimateclima View Post
    It had a bunch of buildup only to get resolved off screen. It was a bad plot line, but Oda could've gone and shown how regular citizens of Fishman Island react to the idea of giving blood to a human, which could've been interesting to see whether all of them have the same mindset, or if the mindset is more diverse (like they would've but they didn't have the bloodtype).
    Thats something the anime may can expand, but for us readers it was not necessary.
    We heard before that fishman have trouble in giving their blood, because of the Fisher Tiger accident.
    Alxso we know that sure some may be willing to (like Camie)but most of them are afraid of having to face the consequences with the NFP.
    Also by not going through those differnent reactions of citizien(which we all covered already in the previous chapter by main characters) Oda gave us another funny scene with showing us that okamas gave Sanji their blood.
    It was only important to see who finally gave Sanji blood and Oda made a joke out of it, which is understandable because the whole scene of being near death because of a nosebleed was already close to being idiotic.
    The epic battle of BusterCall vs. Don is decided !!!
    And the results are 3:2 for Don..


  9. #9
    ItadakiMAKO Luxor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storytelling in One Piece

    If you look at how involved the rest of the world is in the story, then of course Oda needs to draw more panels now than before. There used to be just a handful of people in the Strawhat crew, but now that's 9. The arcs used to be the SHs and an enemy, with a few side characters littered throughout. And it used to be like an island-hopping story, but that's changed since. It's almost like world-conquest now.

    And now that Oda's introduced so many characters and factions, there's so much going on, and the islands we see introduce more and more until finally--our minds are blown. Or not yet, since Oda generously skips some of the less important things.

    He needs to speed things up and cram them in every page or the manga might end with, say, a few thousand chapters. Just imagine if One Piece showed every subplot and miniarc. x.x

  10. #10
    Depraved Prince of AP Monkey King's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storytelling in One Piece

    Alright this is the first time I'm gonna come out and say this but Fishman Island seems...like a stumble so far.

    I mean...the world building aspect that Oda is an ace at is sloppy here.
    Oda should slowly introduce us to the island and we should be given a definite feel for the layout early on.
    he did this excellently in Skypiea, Alabasta, and Water7. And to prove it's not even about it being recent, he even did this for Impel Down and Shabondy.

    This is the first island I felt has been poorly depicted as a living breathing entity.
    This is one of the things I love most about One Piece and to not feel it here on Fishman Island is very very annoying.
    Of all islands.

  11. #11
    POE WUN BGR Rob Goku's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storytelling in One Piece

    Yeah, his pacing is definitely off with FI. I'm not sure why he seems to be in such a rush... but he does seem to be. Maybe he's excited to showcase the new world, maybe he's been leading up to FI for so long that now that he's finally here he's grown bored with it, or the opposite, he's so excited that he wants to show everything as soon as possible. Maybe there's a certain key scene he's eager to get to that'll put a context to the whole arc... I dunno, something. Maybe its just a case of him being human.

    He hasn't even given us a MAP yet... especially crucial in this case when its a three dimensional terrain, with bus tunnels to other connected islands and some things up in the air. He's usually waaaay better about that.

    Hopefully the flashback will slow down to a real pace with the next chapter, and after the flashback is over we'll get a proper FI arc. I've been... okay... with the pace so far, on the assumption that its going to be a 2 year arc and this has just been the opening mini-event, the Jaya setup, and that we're going to be spending a lot more time in the place and there's going to be a lot of meat to come yet, some big twist that'll make it more epic and more like the thing he's been teasing steadily for 5 years.

    But if this arc is already almost over? Finished before the end of the year? There'd be a major dropped ball here.
    Last edited by Rob Goku; April 18th, 2011 at 03:00 PM.

  12. #12
    Depraved Prince of AP Monkey King's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storytelling in One Piece

    YEAH, I want that fucking map so bad. The shape of this island is so bizarre, we need to know where all these neighborhoods fall relative to eachother, esepcially where the fuck the Fishman district is, and where the Sea Forest is, if it's outside the bubble then WHERE. I mean for fucks sake, we even got a map of Enies Lobby, which was basically a glorified combat arena.

    Brenrouge and some dingus were able to have a huge debate about it, shows how little we've been given. The stuff they were arguing we should know from the comic.

  13. #13
    An Ordinary Crack Dealer MasterKingJC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storytelling in One Piece

    Hopefully, this flashback will be nice and long in order to slow the pacing down.
    But who knows, maybe Oda's trying to rush us into the New World. Which he shouldn't do because I've been waiting for this arc for years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by krule274 View Post
    When does Oda ever clue towards anything? He's Mr. Unpredictable as it is so far. Not saying I agree with his crack pot theory either, but anything could happen.

  14. #14
    POE WUN BGR Rob Goku's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storytelling in One Piece

    I can only guess that there's just some big things that Oda doesn't want to show yet that a full map would give away? But usually a blank unspecified spot on a map just leads to curiosity as to what it'll have. I really can't think of why he's waited this long.

    Or maybe Luffy is going to destroy it sooner than anybody expects so there's no point getting attached to the current layout.

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    check up from the neck up eerie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storytelling in One Piece

    So true. I'm getting more and more frustrated with every chapter! I keeping trying to float around with my mind's eye but of course we know next to nothing of how everything is laid out, through what is obviously multi-tiered areas. I keep trying to picture shaboady but on multiple levels like some sort of crazy 3D chess board but then I just get angry.

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    Discovered Stowaway WarshipArc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storytelling in One Piece

    Quote Originally Posted by RobbyBevard View Post
    Or maybe Luffy is going to destroy it sooner than anybody expects so there's no point getting attached to the current layout.
    If Luffy is actually going to do some serious landscaping, than wouldn't a map be ideal to show the impact of whatever happens?

  17. #17
    The Tetsuo Ishimaru of AP Gizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storytelling in One Piece

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Quichotte De Flamingo View Post
    Thats something the anime may can expand, but for us readers it was not necessary.
    We heard before that fishman have trouble in giving their blood, because of the Fisher Tiger accident.
    Alxso we know that sure some may be willing to (like Camie)but most of them are afraid of having to face the consequences with the NFP.
    Do we? We really don't know anything about the Fishman Island citizens or how they view the pirates or this ancient tradition. The citizens fangasm over Otohime and Fisher Tiger in the past, but we have no idea how much they respect the past now.

    This easily could've fleshed out the relationship between humans and fishman that seems to be lacking this arc, especially since human/fishman relations seems like a MAJOR theme this arc

    Also by not going through those differnent reactions of citizien(which we all covered already in the previous chapter by main characters) Oda gave us another funny scene with showing us that okamas gave Sanji their blood.
    It was only important to see who finally gave Sanji blood and Oda made a joke out of it, which is understandable because the whole scene of being near death because of a nosebleed was already close to being idiotic.
    I still hate this plotline regardless of it's "significance" or how "serious" it was meant to be taken. Butt monkey Sanji was a miss for me on the funny radar.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gregory House
    Right and wrong do exist. Just because you don't know what the right answer is — maybe there's even no way you could know what the right answer is — doesn't make your answer right or even okay. It's much simpler than that. It's just plain wrong.

  18. #18
    Hugh Jass DyranLK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storytelling in One Piece

    Quote Originally Posted by RobbyBevard View Post
    Hopefully the flashback will slow down to a real pace with the next chapter, and after the flashback is over we'll get a proper FI arc. I've been... okay... with the pace so far, on the assumption that its going to be a 2 year arc and this has just been the opening mini-event, the Jaya setup, and that we're going to be spending a lot more time in the place and there's going to be a lot of meat to come yet, some big twist that'll make it more epic and more like the thing he's been teasing steadily for 5 years.
    This, too, is what I've been looking forward to for this arc, which is why I have no real pestering issues with Oda's progress just yet; hopefully, this arc really isn't just a couple more months long, because that would be quite disappointing.


  19. #19
    Pokιmon Master brennen.exe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storytelling in One Piece

    Looking at Otohime's goal and thinking back on the "prophecy", maybe he's not giving us the layout because he's gonna destroy it =/

    I don't really buy into it myself, completely, but I can imagine this arc being another Water 7, so to speak. Whatever happens now drags the remainder of the story to another location (like Enies Lobby), bringing the arc to a close there, and/or having the cool down there.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Storytelling in One Piece

    Quote Originally Posted by brennen.exe View Post
    Looking at Otohime's goal and thinking back on the "prophecy", maybe he's not giving us the layout because he's gonna destroy it =/

    I don't really buy into it myself, completely, but I can imagine this arc being another Water 7, so to speak. Whatever happens now drags the remainder of the story to another location (like Enies Lobby), bringing the arc to a close there, and/or having the cool down there.
    Yeah I though about that too.


    Umm, I must admit, I haven't even thought about this before. Maybe Oda and co. think the readers have so many expectations about this arc, so that we just want to get to "the case" as fast as possible. I mean, unlike the previous arc's we are probably more "prepared" now (though of course, with plenty room for mind blowation).

    About FI, It's no like Oda to hide certain necessary hints or important impressions from the reader. So maybe he thinks we get what we need and know the characters well enough to... guess what they might do or... something. I dunno...
    You should really vote for Kai.

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