Now here’s a One Piece spinoff I can get behind. Last year saw the launch of two really weird One Piece spinoffs, those being Yoshikazu Amami’s Chin Piece and Nakamura’s Kobiyama, Who Looks Like Koby, but this year looks to be very different – as Boichi’s Zoro one-shot is shaping up to be a dream come true for both the Korean-born author and Eiichiro Oda’s own smash hit shonen series.
Boichi’s Zoro one-shot, titled ‘Roronoa Zoro: Umi ni Chiru,’ will follow the titular samurai Zoro as he clashes with his former teacher and current Greatest Swordsman in the World, Dracule Mihawk.
While it’s true that Boichi’s one-shot will be limited in both pages and content, the fact that the Korean-born mangaka has been handed the series is a really big deal.
After all, Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece has been one of Weekly Shonen Jump’s flagship series for years now, and still regularly sells crazy numbers. In fact, it’s importance in the magazine has only increased over the years due to other iconic shonen manga such as NARUTO, Bleach, and Gintama coming to an end. The effect that the series has had on the landscape of popular culture is, in turn, innumerable.
Entrusting the series to the Korean-born Boichi in the form of his new Zoro one-shot is no doubt a sign that Shueisha has accepted the mangaka as one of their own. This is quite feat, considering that his Dr. STONE is only his first manga with Shueisha, with his previous series Sun Ken Rock and ORIGIN being published by Shonen Gahosha and Kodansha respectively in the past.
That being said, it’s perhaps no surprise that Shueisha is willing to trust Boichi with One Piece on the basis of Dr. STONE. His collaboration with author Riichiro Inagaki has been well received by fans since launch and is currently inspiring a two cour anime adaptation by TMS Entertainment.
Even so, I’m sure that Boichi himself is thrilled as an artist and as an appreciator of the art of manga to be able to do his take on the One Piece series with his Zoro one-shot. I couldn’t think of anyone better to tackle a Zoro one-shot, either – Boichi has demonstrated his love for swordplay and samurai action plenty of times over his burgeoning career.
In this sense, you could say the Zoro one-shot is both a dream come true for Boichi as an artist, as well as Eiichiro Oda’s series itself.
But even more so than that, the fact that the Korean-born Boichi has been entrusted with one of Japan’s most popular pop culture artifacts should act as a beacon of hope for foreign artists and creators looking to break into the Japanese pop culture industry in general. If Boichi can do it, so can you – especially when Shueisha is actively looking to recruit foreign artists for new, exciting manga.
Boichi’s Zoro one-shot Roronoa Zoro: Umi ni Chiru will be published on July 22 in issue no. 34 of Weekly Shonen Jump.