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10 Signs One Piece Is Running Out Of Steam

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One Piece is the best-selling manga series of all time, and for good reason. For over 20 years, Eiichiro Oda has been consistently producing top-tier content. The mysteries of the One Piece world are incredibly compelling in a story that masterfully balances comedy and action with a more serious plotline running just under the surface.


RELATED: One Piece’s Worst Generation, Ranked By Relevance

However, even the greatest of authors can struggle to deliver a well-written ending. While for the longest time it felt like One Piece would never end, the series finally seems to be running out of steam.

10/10 The Wano Arc Had An Underwhelming End

Kaido with scars on his torso in One Piece.

The Wano Country Arc of One Piece had been hyped up for a long time and was highly anticipated by fans. While the overall arc was still enjoyable to read, it simultaneously managed to drag and yet also have an ending that felt very rushed.

Kaido started out as an extremely compelling and mysterious figure. Known as the strongest creature in the world with ties to the Rocks Pirates and a mysterious purpose for being in Wano, fans waited for Kaido’s backstory with bated breath. Unfortunately, fans were met with disappointment when Oda neglected to reveal much. He also seemingly killed Kaido off. This ending felt very abrupt and awkward, leaving fans both burnt out and wanting more.

9/10 One Piece’s Plot Has Become Repetitive

Luffy fights Doflamingo - One Piece

Every major arc in One Piece has started to fall into the same formula. Monkey D. Luffy and the Straw Hats encounter a new island with a tyrant to overthrow. Through sheer willpower and against all odds, Luffy eventually manages to defeat said tyrant in a battle and save the island.

While One Piece is revered as a shonen series with a genuinely interesting overarching plot, it has ultimately begun to feel formulaic. This makes the ending of each arc somewhat predictable and lowers the stakes of the series.

8/10 The Straw Hats’ Development Has Become Stagnant

The Straw Hat Pirates From One Piece Assemble

One Piece initially took up a narrative structure where Luffy’s first step to becoming Pirate King was to gather a crew. Each new Straw Hat would have their own character arc that culminated in them joining the crew. This would sometimes span over multiple story arcs.

RELATED: 10 Ways Chopper Is The Worst Straw Hat In One Piece

Now that the pirate crew is mostly complete, the Straw Hats aside from Luffy himself have largely lacked any meaningful development or narrative arcs of their own. The exception to this was Sanji, who was the focus of the Whole Cake Island arc. However, crew mates such as Zoro, Brook, and Chopper have received very little development in a long time.

7/10 One Piece’s Narrative Is Bloated With Too Many Characters

Some Of One Piece's Worst Side Characters

One of the core strengths of One Piece is Oda’s seemingly endless ability to come up with new and compelling characters complete with memorable designs. The antagonists have only become more interesting as the story has continued, with Doflamingo and Katakuri becoming instant fan favorites.

Unfortunately, with the rate of new character introductions in each arc, the story of One Piece has become increasingly bloated. Fans long to see the return of characters such as Akainu and Mihawk, yet they have so many other characters to compete for screen time and page space with.

6/10 One Piece Has Too Much Lore Dumping

One Piece spent two decades laying out mystery after mystery with few answers. However, Zou, Wano, and the first few chapters of the newest arc on Egghead Island have begun to suddenly drop answers at an alarming rate. To receive so many big lore dumps after so long gives the feeling that the story is being rushed to its ending.

RELATED: 10 Biggest Mysteries In One Piece, Ranked

Oda is a master of tying newer story reveals to hints and minor details from potentially hundreds of chapters prior. However, recently, fans have begun to feel that the sudden influx of lore is an attempt at retconning. One example of this would be the recent reveal of the true nature of the Gomu Gomu no Mi Devil Fruit.

5/10 One Piece’s Arcs Have Started To Drag

One Piece‘s major story arcs have progressively increased in length and breadth to the point where they have started to genuinely drag. With Dressrosa at 102 chapters, Whole Cake Island at 78 chapters, and Wano at a whopping 149 chapters, fans who read and watch the series weekly quickly experience a phenomenon known as “current arc fatigue.”

One Piece is already a lengthy, drawn-out series that doesn’t need the extra weight. Fans especially found that the scabbards in Wano featured far too heavily and contributed little to the overall story. Some fans feel Oda may have become overly ambitious and has bitten off more than he can chew.

4/10 Haki Provides Convenient Plot Armor

One Piece: What Devil Fruit Powers Can Haki Beat?

Haki was a bit of a retcon that Oda introduced to balance out the existence of powerful Logia Devil Fruits, and to make characters like Shanks and Mihawk still credible and pose a threat. Unfortunately, introducing an entirely new power system so late into the story is no simple feat.

Even though the intention was good, the introduction of this new power system was extremely messy. Haki has felt more and more like a convenient plot device as the story continues. Oda can simply give a character extraordinary Haki whenever he needs to balance the scales of power in the story.

3/10 The Straw Hats Are Way Too Powerful

Luffy Entering HIs Awakened Gear 5th Against Kaido

It has been a long time since fans have seen the Straw Hat pirates genuinely struggle to overcome an obstacle they couldn’t brute force their way through. Luffy especially has seen unbelievable levels of growth in Wano alone, mastering both Conqueror’s Haki and Gear 5, and his battle with Kaido seemed to end rather abruptly even though it appeared Luffy stood no chance at the beginning of the arc.

RELATED: 10 Biggest Mysteries In One Piece, Ranked

There is little room left for Luffy to grow, and it may not be long before his battles no longer feel satisfying. The other Straw Hats have also become monsters compared with the rival pirate crews, the Heart Pirates and the Kid Pirates, and there seems to be little left that could pose an actual threat.

2/10 Fans Miss The Pre-Time Skip Era Of One Piece

The pre-timeskip era of One Piece is one that is fondly remembered by fans. This era promoted a feeling of adventure and wonder that the post-time-skip arcs lack. Exploring the Straw Hat backstories, visiting various fantastical islands, introducing the major players, and the unexpected ending of the Marineford War make pre-timeskip One Piece a treat.

With so many fans missing the older era of the series, it feels as though One Piece may never again recapture that magic. Fans even miss the previous designs of the Straw Hats and feel they have since become caricatures of themselves.

1/10 The End Of One Piece Is Near

Eiichiro Oda has been writing One Piece for over 20 years. For one person to dedicate so much time to one project and maintain such a consistently high quality, it’s only natural that he would eventually burn out. Oda has made it clear that he finally plans to end One Piece within the next few years, and the current saga will be the last.

With so many unfinished plot lines and unsolved mysteries, it’s hard to believe One Piece can be wrapped up neatly within a couple of story arcs. The most recent arc, Wano, went on for over nearly 150 chapters and still managed to leave loose ends. Plot lines like Zoro’s backstory fell by the wayside to make room for the major plot beats, and fans are rightfully concerned that the ending of One Piece may feel rushed and end up ultimately unsatisfying.

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