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Early Prototype Of One Piece Reveals Oda’s Vision & Foreshadowing From 30 Years Ago




A previously unseen prototype of Eiichiro’s Oda’s One Piece manga has been unveiled by the series’ very first editor.

Originally titled Forward, it dates back to 1994 when Oda was just 19, and offers a glimpse into the ideas that would eventually evolve into the One Piece series.

Forward features a protagonist named Monkey D. Pao, an optimistic boy whose design bears a striking resemblance to Luffy. Pao’s bandana even sports a pattern reminiscent of the Gomu Gomu no Mi, the Devil Fruit that grants Luffy his rubber-like abilities.

Another key character in Forward is Rizel, a girl thief who shares similarities with Nami. The prototype also sheds light on the series’ formative crew dynamic.

According to Oda’s early drafts, Nami was initially intended to be the first crewmate to join Luffy on his journey. This detail was reflected by her presence on the cover of Chapter 1 alongside a then-absent Zoro.

It also featured a character named Merry, the Spirit of the Rubber Tree, who is a whopping 5008 years old and possesses a laugh eerily similar to the mysterious Nika’s “Wahahaha”.

This revelation has fans suggesting Oda might have envisioned the Gomu Gomu no Mi and even Merry possessing a will of its own since the very beginning. It also foreshadows the Gomu Gomu no Mi’s connection to the Sun God Nika.

Moreover, Oda had previously revealed that his prototype works, such as Monsters, featured characters and themes that later evolved into One Piece characters.

The samurai Ryuma, who appears alongside a dragon in Monsters, is an example of this.

Oda always wanted to draw a combination of samurai and knight. This idea ultimately manifested in the characters of Zoro and Sanji.

Ryuma the samurai has appeared along with the dragon in my prototype works, MONSTERS. I always want to draw the combination of samurai & knight in MONSTERS, but in the end they’ve become the prototype version of Zoro & Sanji“.

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One Piece started serializing on Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump Magazine from 1997. The manga, which is currently in its final saga, has become the best selling manga series in history.

The chapters of the manga have been collected into 108 tankobon volumes as of March 2024. An anime adaptation by Toei Animation has been airing since 1999. Meanwhile, a remake of the anime to cater to new audiences is currently under production at WIT Studios – titled The One Piece.

Source: Library of Ohara

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