Genre: Kids' Animation
TV Rating: TV-PG
Other Choices: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Treasure Planet, Treasure Island (1950)
Available On: DVD,Online
Common Sense Says: Close friends chase their dreams in high-seas adventure.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that One Piece, while cartoonish in its animation and humor, has many very serious and dramatic moments. As pirates, the Straw Hat crew are willing to put their lives on the line in order to achieve their goals. This leads to a lot of serious conflicts in which characters die or come close to death. There are currently two English dubs of this anime, one by 4Kids Entertainment (which has been discontinued) and another by Funimation Studios. The Funimation dub includes more mature language (including "s--t" and "bastard"), and some of the fight sequences include large amounts of blood (especially during the sword fights). There can also be a bit of sexual humor, but it's very mild.
- Families can talk about what separates Luffy and the Straw Hat crew from the other pirates seen in the show. Does this make them good or bad? Can you think of other rascally characters on TV or in the movies that you root for?
- How far are you willing to go to achieve your dreams?
- How does the violence compare to other anime shows? Does it make the show more realistic or cartoonish?
What's the story?
A 17-year-old boy named Monkey D. Luffy (voiced by Colleen Clinkenbeard) dreams of becoming the next pirate king. He sets off to the open ocean to find a ship, gather a crew, and follow the clues to find the lost treasure of the previous pirate king, Gold Rodger. With an entire ocean full of rival pirates -- not to mention the Marines trying to capture them -- the journey won't be an easy one. But with their unbreakable bond, the newly formed Straw Hat crew is willing to take on all this and more in order to make their life-long dreams come true.
Is it any good?
Even though One Piece is animated and has very cartoon-like humor, it's a very well-rounded adventure show with as many serious bits as funny ones. While to some that might be a turn off, it does make the crew's journey and struggles all the more realistic.The characters are unique to the point of quirkiness and really bounce off each other well. It's hard not to smile at some of the crew's antics -- and even harder not to cry for them when they go through a tough time. While One Piece is anything but a children's show, older tweens and up can have a fun romp while watching this gem of a Japanese anime.
The Good Stuff
Messages: The show's main themes are the pursuit of dreams and the importance of friendship. The Straw Hat crew always put others before themselves and will go out of their way to help people in need -- but only if they demonstrate their honest passion about what they hold dear.
Role Models: As a pirate, Monkey D. Luffy knows he's not a saint -- but despite his career choice, he's very kind and courageous and has unbridled determination when it comes to protecting his crew and becoming the new pirate king. The rest of the main crew are fairly worthwhile role models in how, despite their very different backgrounds, they behave very much like a close family.
What to watch out for
Violence A wide range of violence, from slapstick comedy antics to brutal fights between rival pirates. During the action scenes, weapons such as swords, knives, martial arts, guns, and even various superpowers are used. Though characters can be grievously injured almost to the point of death, death isn't all that common and is rarely shown on screen. The main cast, while pirates, only resort to violence if there's no other alternative, and there are moments when the more aggressive characters are shown that violence will only make matters worse.
Sex: One of the main characters, Sanji, constantly flirts with the two female crew members, but only for the purpose of humor.
Language: Much like its Japanese counterpart, some swearing - including "s--t," "damn," and "bastard" -- is used in the Funimation dub.
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs & smoking: During some of their lighter moments, some characters are shown drinking alcohol to the point of intoxication, but they don't do anything too outrageous. A few characters -- such as Sanji and Captain Smoker -- also smoke cigarettes and cigars, respectively.