We recently covered some major additions to the BUSTERCALL One Piece art project, an amazing collaboration featuring artists from all over the world which has so far only been on display in Long Beach California at Complexcon and Shanghai’s Innersect culture/fashion events. In our original article, we erroneously claimed the project to be official as late last year an announcement related to it popped up on the official One Piece staff twitter, albeit for only a short time. We now know that not to be the case as the anonymous organizers of the project spoke this week with Kai-You following the announcement that its Japanese debut has been delayed in light of the recent coronavirus concerns. Opening up the interview, the organizer of the project clarified that the project is unofficial, although it is made pretty clear that they’re in contact with Shueisha regarding their activity. This connection seems to indicate that they’re safe from any legal issues, but the organizer did express concern that One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda might not be aware of them:
“I’m not sure if Eichiro Oda knows about this, but it would be a different story if he said something like “what are you doing to my work.”
Oda is famously protective of the property and does not permit second parties to freely use the work, and the organizers of BUSTERCALL are all too aware of that fact. Thankfully, even though the project has a very edgy tone to it everything they’re doing is purely out of love. A major point of the interview is that the organizers hold resentment against the makers of official collaborative goods for not doing more with the property. They feel that the franchise deserves more, and want to share the side of the One Piece world that in inherently cool:
“We love ONE PIECE and want to touch on the “cool” aspect of it. Most of the current content surrounding the current “ONE PIECE” is pretty dissatisfactory. Things like a t-shirt with only the character standing there. Even the quality of animation is pretty low for the best manga in the world. It makes me wonder why “ONE PIECE” is so fantastic but they don’t do their best on the animation and goods”
With that being the case, the team behind it isn’t looking to make any money. They just want to raise awareness of the property and make things that a more contemporary global audience can enjoy. They even stress in the interview that any money they do collect is sent to the license holders and that their events are all free of charge to visit.
“We’re not looking to make a profit with this project, we just want to make cool work. We’ll be giving all of the money to Shueisha, Toei, Bandai, etc. So that way Mr. Oda gets a return in some form”
The interview goes into more depth about the project including revealing that people involved with the One Piece license are participating in the project, and also explaining their decision to exhibit in the United States first as a means to appeal to the Japanese audience more. They also detail how they selected which artists to invite to the project as those featured ranges from world-famous to independent creators across a wide variety of different mediums. They even invited artists who weren’t already familiar with One Piece in order to provide different perspectives on the world. All in all, it’s a really fascinating project and one that all fans of Eiichiro Oda’s masterwork should be checking out, even if you can’t make it to the gallery events you can see all of the works on the project’s active Instagram account.