The best-selling manga of all time, One Piece, reached a monumental new milestone as it reached the elusive 1000 chapter mark. The 1000th chapter was serialised in today’s Weekly Jump 5th and 6th merger issue.
In commemoration of this tremendous achievement, Shueisha launched the series’ first-ever worldwide character popularity contest. The publisher even bought out a full-paged colour ad in the New York Times newspaper to promote this global popularity poll.
Everyone from all four corners of the globe is invited to take part and share their love for the series by voting in the poll. Series creator Eiichiro Oda will feature characters with a large number of votes in a special illustration. Even if your favourite characters do not receive many votes, simply voting online in the poll will reward participants with a special AR character obtainable on the website dedicated solely for the poll.
If you are particularly eager for your favourite character to win, you can even choose to vote via mail. Mail-in ballots are worth 10 times the number of online votes. Whether you choose to vote online or through mail, be sure to refer to the popularity contest’s rules.
Besides the poll, Oda also expressed his thanks to fans in a heartfelt letter.
I, uh, wow…Words pretty much fail to describe the whirlwind these past 23 years have been. Literally half of my life has revolved around the almighty WEEKLY SERIALIZATION hehe. But it’s not just me, Luffy and the Strawhats have navigated themselves to so many different islands and found themselves caught up in so many adventures. At this point, even I’m not sure how many lives they’ve touched along the way! But it’s thanks to them that so many special people have entered my own life; first and foremost among them being my family. All of these people have supported me through the years and I am deeply indebted to each of them. Meanwhile, my readers have been leading their own bustling lives. There’s a certain theory that exists for long-term readership in the entertainment world that states, “A given pool of readers will rotate out of a series after five years.” And so for a while now, I’ve avoided calling my readers, ‘fans’. It’s like they say, “Pride cometh before a fall.” I convinced myself that I shouldn’t get too full of myself because my readers would eventually leave the series and move on with their lives. Let me say that all of you have put me to shame for thinking such a thing. Your belief in Luffy has led me to believe in all of you, and that is what allows me to continue drawing exactly the kind of manga I want to draw. So here we are, ready to dip our toes into the final stages of the story. It’s taken us a long time to reach one thousand chapters. However, it’s because I’ve completed a thousand chapters that you must believe I’ll take us to the end. The story waiting for you will defy expectations! I mean it!!
I have a favor to ask. This is for everyone with whom —by some means or another— I’ve managed to create a bond, in other words, the ONE PIECE FANS of the world! My story is a long one. But for just a while longer, please watch over Luffy and his crew as they continue their adventure!
January 2021 Eiichiro Oda”
This moment will forever be remembered in the hearts and minds of fans. Even though the One Piece manga has reached 1000 chapters, the anime is also not that far behind, having aired 956 episodes so far. As intimidating as those numbers may seem, it is never too late to be part of the excitement!