Whether due to his refusal to change a character’s gender in order to conform to Western identity politics or his tendency to hang on some story beats a bit too long, One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda has a habit of regularly finding himself in the crosshairs of social media’s more-outrage addicted users.
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One particular sticking point amongst Oda’s critics is his treatment of the series’ female characters, particularly in how he illustrates them.
Thanks to his creative desire to draw many of his female characters such as Nami, Robin, and Boa Hancock as attractive and slightly sexualized, many have disingenuously accused the mangaka of viewing the fairer sex as nothing more than objects for men to oogle at.
Hilariously, in making these accusations, said critics display a seeming willful ignorance towards existence of the numerous other female One Piece characters who aren’t drawn according to contemporary beauty standards – all notably very capable and plot-important characters in their own right – including Dadan, Shinobu (whose transformation into an attractive woman did not happen until after she had helped the Straw Hats take down Kaido) and even the co-headlining villain of the series’ last major arc, Big Mom.)
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Yet, despite the belief by many that Oda chooses to depict the women of One Piece in this way in order to belittle their entire gender, the mangaka himself recently revealed that this could not be further from the truth.
As translated by the founder of the popular One Piece fansite Library of Ohara on March 16th, Oda spoke to the matter for the Q&A section of the series’ recently released 105th volume.
Asked by a reader, “This is a serious question. One Piece often features shots where women show their chests, but it hardly has any underskirt panty shots. Is there some reason or policy you (Oda) have for why that is the case?”, the mangaka admitted, “Nah…it’s (panty shots) just something I’m not that interested in myself lol.”
“Ever since I was a child, there’s been many manga that feature scenes with fanservice, but most of the time it’s done against the consent or will of the female characters…so I feel like having,” Oda explained. “So I feel that having females show their sexuality out of their own volition such as like with ‘happiness punch’ [a technique wielded by Nami in which she uses a tease of her nude body to knock out her enemies] is a much needed revolution for the representation of heroines in manga.”
The series’ latest animated film, One Piece Film: Red – in which Oda introduces yet another of his female leads in the form of Uta – is currently on track for an English-language digital release on March 28th.
A physical release will then follow on June 14th.
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